My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I wasn't sure going into this book how KA was going to accomplish everything she had to make this book amazing. How was she going to answer the questions people had about Hop from Motorcycle Man? How would Lanie be made into a KA heroine that her readers could relate to? Could she pull it off and make her readers fall for this hero and heroine, as they had for so many of her fictional couples before them?
I don't know why I had these questions. I should have just trusted the woman. I mean seriously, someone smack me on the side of the head next time I even think of doubting KA's awesomeness and her ability to redeem characters.
First, let's start with Lanie. I did not like her in Motorcycle Man. I thought she was a materialistic, stuck up snob. And I didn't think she could ever do anything to deserve a Chaos hunk. But I was so wrong. After going into FI with trepidation about her character, I quickly saw the layers that went into Lanie and how she might SEEM materialistic and stuck up, but she was using that as a shield. She didn't have a great home life and did a lot of what she did to protect herself, to shield herself from getting hurt the way her father hurt her mother.
Now, let's talk about Hop. Hop in MM did something that many in the KA support addicts group deemed unforgivable. It seemed like, from the events in MM, that he cheated on his wife. During the wait for FI's release, I was one who tried to put my faith in KA and wait and see what the explanation was. After all, in MM we only get a glimpse of the events AND we only get in Tyra's POV. As a Writing instructor I know how important POV is. What one person sees or thinks can be no where near the truth of what is actually happening. Yes, he did have sex with BeeBee in MM. But so did Tack. So that in and of itself didn't make him a bad guy-just a guy with bad taste for the moment. And Tack tells Tyra in MM that she doesn't know the whole story, to leave it alone and that things are what they seem. This was confirmed in Own the Wind (Chaos #1) when Shy and Tabby talk about Hop. But again, in OtW, we don't get all the details and are still in the dark.
In FI, I am happy to say that what happened with Hop and his status during the MM motorcycle incident are realistically explained. KA did not change history or back story. I know some people think that, but she did not. I am adamant about this because the "history" we have in MM and OtW aren't the actual facts. They are perceptions built on assumptions and for Tyra, false assumptions. Tack tried to tell Tyra in MM to let it go.
Sadly she did not. She is what caused the drama (or some of it) for Lanie and Hop. This disappointed me about Tyra and I blame her hanging out with Elvira and Gwen for becoming more of a gossip. She rattles on about Hop to Lanie and Elvira and all hell breaks loose. Lanie runs, flips out on Hop and THEN we get the truth. We find out the most heartbreaking story, something that not only affected him but also his kids, and I was so mad at Tyra for her blabber mouth and Lanie for her idiocy that I wanted to reach into the book and smack them both. Hard. I know it had to happen-we needed the "big misunderstanding" for the truth to come out. But I do wish we saw Tack get pissed at Tyra for doing what she did and not being a good old lady-he told her she had to keep her mouth shut in MM and not to assume. She not only did neither of those things, but she blabbed club business to people she shouldn't have (namely, Elvira). This was not good MC behavior.
But anyway, it served its purpose and we got the details about Tack and I can happily say he did not cheat. But what happened (i.e. what caused the incident itself and the subsequent mess that not only crushed Hop but could have devastating effects on his kids when they find out the truth; especially for his son) made me cry. And it made me hate his bitch of an ex-wife. Some may call it cliche-having the crazy or horrid ex-wife, but honestly, it's romance. There is always going to be some kind of trope like this used-a stalker, an ex, a crazy step-brother, etc, etc. There needs to be something in the characters' backgrounds that make them act the way they do, and in this case, it hurt to see how badly Hop was betrayed by his wife. And Lanie should have talked to him, not made an assumption and ran, believing Tyra's ridiculous and inaccurate gossip. The subsequent scenes were heart-wrenching and I was a bit worried that our MCs wouldn't get an HEA, or not one that they deserved. But again, my doubts were washed away with an amazing resolution and I loved the epilogue.
One thing I will say about this series is I love how the "action" is being built up. This book runs parallel to Own the Wind so we see the same (and additional) events regarding Benito, but from a different POV. I'm assuming that things will ratchet up as the series progresses with it ultimately coming to a head in the final book of the series which will focus on Rush. I think there are two more between FI and Rush's book so things I am sure will continue to get interesting.
*I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*
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