To start this review off, I must say I don’t judge the book by its cover, but it is a good looking one. I like the art style, somebody did a good job on it.
It was a very unique read for me, this book does not belong to the usual genre I read. I enjoyed coming into it without any expectations.
The majority of chapters were relatively short which gave the story more dynamic feel and made it easier and quicker to read.
This novel tells a story of Frederick Starks, a well respected millionaire, whose wife’s infidelity has started a cascade of events that changed Starks’ life forever. A year after their separation, Frederick decides to confront a man named Ozy, with whom his wife has cheated on, despite the fact that both him and his wife, Kayla, have found other partners since then. Starks was planning to simply inform Ozy’s wife of his infidelities in order to destroy his marriage just as Ozy has destroyed his. The events unfold differently to what Fredrick had originally planned and he assaults Ozy, putting him into a coma. The protagonist is charged with assault and found guilty upon trial. He is sent to spend his sentence in a maximum security prison and so Starks is forced to adjust to his new reality.
I was particularly enjoying the trial chapters. They were a little bit longer, seemed to be well-thought-out in my non-professional opinion. I am overall glad those theoretically less significant parts weren’t simply skipped over, it made the story whole.
From that point onward, the story is a mixture of the protagonist trying to understand his past and trying to overcome his new problems, both within prison walls. This novel focuses heavily on the consequences of one’s actions and how one’s mind adapts to hardships.
Starks tried to understand his past mistakes and how they landed him in his current situation with the help of the prison counsellor, Demory. Most of the sessions they had were spent on Starks blaming Kayla for landing him in prison, he blamed her outside of talks with Demory as well. I didn’t feel like there was any significant progress in the protagonist’s thought process and so I found those moments a little bit dull and repetitive.
Being a new fish in the prison, the protagonist encounters a number of problems that he tries to overcome one way or another. During those times, he doesn’t particularly focus on the past as much as he is on his own future. I liked those chapters a little bit better, of what it is like to live within the prison walls and so I wish they were more of a focus than the past dwelling part. I would prefer to see more of adjustment of Starks to his new situation and I’m hoping that will be the case in the next book in the series. I can understand how looking at the past sets up the story quite nicely in the first one, but I found the prison living part more interesting.
As the story progresses, we learn more of Frederick’s past. It becomes clear that he isn’t as innocent as he appears to be so throughout the novel I was moving away from thinking that Starks had undergone a major personality change only after experiencing consequences of his actions and I started to move forward to think that Starks had a darker side all along that he tried to cover up. The story was going back and forth a lot and I suppose I didn’t particularly connect with Frederick. I didn’t think I knew him at all, at times I fell sorry for him, at times I really wanted him to stop talking. I personally dislike characters who change so dramatically in such a short time, simply because as a reader I wasn’t told the whole story. If it is due to personal development within the novel, that is perfect, but if it is due to the fact that authors only tells his/her readers certain facts when it suits them, that doesn’t work for me.
This novel was rather quickly paced, but it has slowed down, somewhere around the middle.
I personally didn’t find the story particularly predictable, that may have been due to my lack of genre experience. The location of the story is limiting, it doesn’t leave many story-line, options especially for epilogue, so I think it did an alright job to keep a reader in the dark.
The ending is a small cliffhanger, in a sense that I don’t see anything obvious that could come next in the series. I liked the ending being so quick paced, I usually don’t tend to like the epilogues that are dragged out unnecessarily over many chapters.
All in all, it was an interesting read. I wish there was a little bit less blame throwing and more of a personal growth from the protagonist but I did enjoy the prison story line. I thought certain parts were especially well-written and so I am quite intrigued about what the second book in this trilogy has to offer.