I’ve been a die-hard fan of Rachel van Dyken ever since RUIN. It’s one of the very first NA novels I’ve read so it’s no wonder that this series is very close to my heart. RvD captured my heart with RUIN, gripped me tighter with TOXIC, and still kept pulling me under with FEARLESS.
I was afraid to read SHAME because Lisa isn’t really one of my favorite characters in the first two-and-a-half books. I guess, in my mind, the books preceding SHAME set the bars so high that I didn’t know how RvD would top them.
I’m not disappointed with how SHAME turned out but I’m not totally pleased either. I’m still on the fence whether I want to love it or not so let’s just give it…
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Everything done in darkness, will eventually be brought into the light.
I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can't change your soul.
A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one that seemed confident, but it was a lie.
When guys kissed me--I felt only pain.
When they touched me--Nothing but fear.
Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone that will see you as their world.
But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn't fool enough to think I'd ever get it.
Until he walked into my life.
I wasn't prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie--I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea.
But I was powerless to stop myself from falling.
And he was powerless to catch me.
Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I'm stronger than I knew. I'm stronger than you think.
You think you know my story, but you don't....after all everyone has Shame in their lives-- and I'm no longer afraid to show you mine.
Initially, I thought SHAME wasn’t bringing any of RvD’s usual kapow factor. It started out slowly and the scenes seemed a bit like on NA cliché after another. First, we have a heroine that’s hounded by the demons of her past. Lisa is running from all the baggage she thought she’d left behind and like most NA heroines, that’s usually where it starts. Right from the prologue, it was clear as day how fucked up that whole situation is. Mel, as she was previously known, had been in the abusive relationship of all abusive relationships. She was a pawn in game much larger than she is. And the truth of the matter is, she knows just how much damage she’s doing… she just doesn’t care. All she cared about was keeping Taylor in her life, no matter how fucked up their relationship is (if you can even call it that).
Together, Lisa and Taylor started t website that exploits the shame of people in the most lurid of ways. And as Taylor had always used Lisa as a means to an end, to satisfy his own sadistic desires and relish other people’s shame and humiliation. Then one tragic night turned Lisa’s world upside down and she’d done everything to get away from that life as far as she possibly can.
Even as a reader, it was so easy to feel the sexual tension between these two powerful characters. The scenes become so emotionally charged whenever they’re together and each encounter brims with sexiness. I think Tristan’s alpha-male persona that makes it that way. Like most of her books, RvD creates such multidimensional characters that add depth to her stories.
SHAME is darker and grittier than both RUIN, TOXIC, and FEARLESS put together. If you’re looking for a light-hearted read, this is not the book for you. It portrays love in the ugliest of lights but shows that there’s salvation in even the most destructive relationships. SHAME truly captured the characters’ shame. It dragged the characters through the mud for all to see and in the end shows how Lisa and Tristan found the strength to face their demons (quite literally, in fact).
The only thing that I didn’t quite like about SHAME is how kind of overkill it was. I mean, I’m all for a good angsty read but it just felt a bit too over-the-top for me. Unlike Toxic and Ruin… both were still angsty but they were tempered down with all the lovey-dovey, cutesy stuff in between. Shame was a no holds barred kind of book and even the romance between Lisa and Tristan felt entirely too intense. Which isn’t a bad thing, really. I just couldn’t get into it as much as I wanted to.
Although it wasn’t as good as the first three books in the series, SHAME is still a worthwhile book to add to your NA collection. If you’ve fallen in love with the gang from RUIN, TOXIC, and FEARLESS, then you should NOT miss out on this last adventure. This time, witness Lisa’s SHAME! Get your copy now!