March 2, 2016

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Fading (Fading #1)

Fading (Fading #1), by E.K. Blair
Publish Date:
June 19, 2013
Publisher: self-published
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 2 STARS

(Synopsis) Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.

At what point do secrets become lies?

I don't usually post 2-star reviews on my blog. Why am I posting this one? I don't really know. I think I'm posting it, hoping for some measure of validation from the masses. Because I feel guilty that I didn't like Fading. I know a ton of people loved this book. I was initially drawn in by the cover. I mean, look at it. It is GORGEOUS. But, ultimately, this book was completely and utterly unsatisfying for me in so many different ways.

Early in the book, we get the sense that Candace Parker is a bit of a loner. Her parents - her mother especially - treat her like crap. She's learned from their example to keep people at a distance, and except for a close friendship with BFFs Jace and Kimber, Candace is aloof and distant with everyone else. It was hard to like her right off the bat because of this. Candace didn't seem to have a sensitive bone in her body. 

And then - the rape. My goodness - it was rough. I will say this - E.K. Blair can write some powerful stuff. This was an audiobook for me, and I had to take a break after listening to that part. It was horrible, and I felt... well, I can't adequately describe how I felt for Candace while that part was happening. 

It's because of what happened to Candace early on in this very long book that I felt guilty later. Because I feel like I should sympathize with her and become her cheerleader as she tries to come to terms with what happened and get back to some semblance of normal in her life. But, unfortunately, I went from not caring for Candace to flat out hating her guts. 

I know - I KNOW! She went through something awful. I've never gone through what she went through, nor have I ever known anyone who has. For all I know, all Candace's actions are completely normal. But, I still didn't like them.

She treated everyone around her like complete crap. Her like-a-sister best friend Kimber got the worst end of the deal. Kimber lived in ignorance and was made to feel like SHE did something wrong for most of a year. And, the worst part was, Candace admitted she knew what she was doing, and yet, did nothing to fix things. Candace also treated her boss horribly whenever she showed concern at Candace's odd behavior. Whenever Jace gently urged her to get therapy or talk to the cops, she ripped his head off and accused him of trying to get her to talk about things she just wanted to forget about.  But, the rest of the time, she clung to him in a very unhealthy co-dependent way. And, yet she couldn't figure out why her life wasn't getting any easier.

The only reason this book gets more than one star is Ryan. I did love him. I thought he deserved better than Candace, to be honest.

Even though the pacing in the beginning was pretty good, after the attack, it felt like the book plodded along at a snail's pace. There was a lot of Candace going to and from school, work and rehearsal, peppered with Candace's internal musings on how much she just wanted to forget everything that happened and get on with her life. She doesn't even meet Ryan until nearly halfway through the book. So, pacing was another problem for me.

The only thing that kept me going when I wanted to DNF was my desire to see Candace finally overcome her fears and bring the guy who attacked her to justice. There was also a secondary desire to see some resolution to Candace's relationship with her parents. Without going into detail, I'll just say that neither situation turned out the way I had hoped. Which just put the final nail in the coffin for me. Despite the excellent narration and the beautiful covers for all the books in this series, I just can't continue with this series. I know that book 2 is Jace's story and book 3 is, basically book 1 from Ryan's POV, but honestly, I just can't go through that story from anyone's POV again. 

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