I downloaded Vicious (book one in the Sinners of Saint series) from KU as I’ve been in a reading funk and needed something a bit different. I loved Penelope Douglas’s Fall Away series and this sounded a lot like it, so I figured…what the hell.
Yes. And no.
There are definitely many similarities between the two books. Boy “hates” girl in high school (but we all know he really loves her), so he bullies her.
(Did this concept start with our mothers telling us that little Billy pulled our hair because he liked us? I should have punched little Billy, just saying)
As a whole, I enjoyed Vicious. Though hard to like at first, both characters really grew on me as the book progressed. As their relationship developed, their scenes together were fun to read with witty dialogue and true affection shining through. I loved how Vicious unraveled and Emilia got stronger. It was a power switch that felt overdue and true. But…
As a sum of its parts, the book failed frequently. It was if it had all the right parts, they were just used incorrectly. For instance, long into the book, we find out that Vic and Emilia were secret pen pals in high school, something that sheds a lot of light on their relationship. The author dumps the contents of the letters on readers in a few pages. How wonderful it would’ve been to have a different, secret note introduce each chapter, drawing the reader into the relationship on a different level.
Shortly after Vicious was released, Shen put out a novella from the series, Defy, described as “…a smutty, insta-love, insta-lust short novella.” It was first published in the Hot for Teacher anthology. I’ve read Defy and another from the HfT anthology, and… yeah, so far, not too excited about the teacher/student romance thing. That said, Jaime and Melody’s romance is mentioned in Vicious and chronicled in Defy, so if you’re a “must read a series in order” type of person, you probably want to check this one out first.
Vicious was published in December 2016 by the author and is currently available through Kindle Unlimited and in paperback.