IRR Book Review: Unbroken by Emerson Rose

About the book

Imani is a beautiful nurse who was kidnapped and brutally assaulted ten years before. This horrific event swore her off men for life. That’s until she’s assigned to care for this insanely handsome coma patient, Marcus Castillo. She thinks about Marcus constantly whether she’s at work or home and cannot stand to be apart from him for too long. When he awakens from his coma, her name is the first and only name he calls for. There starts this ridiculous, loopy love story gone wrong.

A “Watch Your Head, Please” Introduction
This book will give your headache a headache. I warn readers that if you continue with this review, there will be spoilers. I apologize in advance but I just cannot get across to you the steamy pile of mess this is without laying it all out there. And it rather pissed me off and wasted my time. I should have known after reading the hot mess that was Major’s Baby, this was going to be off the rails, but guess I’m just a book masochist. Anyway, let me start with the negatives and then try to end on a positive note.

Pacing
This book is redundant. So many repetitive passages, and events replayed in different locations. It’s a migraine waiting to explode. It tops off at more than 1,000 pages. Way too much, a serious substantive edit was needed. A lot of words with nothing new to say.

Characters
Imani is the quintessential damsel in distress, which is okay in other stories, but not in this one. It makes little to no damn sense. Looking for a female heroine that isn’t a dunce? Well, do not look here. This woman is as loopy as they come. She constantly faints, and constantly excuses emotionally and physically abusive behavior. Marcus is the embodiment of the neo alpha-male trope. There’s nothing romantic about him aside from the superficial. Which we are reminded of to the point of exhaustion. He’s so hot, oh look at his abs, look at his dewy skin, and piercing green eyes! And yet he’s an overbearing, controlling, mentally and physically abusive psycho. Oh and no story like this is incomplete without a mustache twisting villain or two.

Story
The author tries to justify these poor characterizations under the guise of past trauma and a medical condition, and that may have worked if the female lead (Imani) wasn’t so ready and eager to dismiss the lead male character’s actions all the damn time. What we get is scenes like him choking her out and a heartbeat later her jumping into bed and declaring her undying love to him. We’re told she’s in constant fear of him, he drugs and kidnaps her (hello, call back to her past trauma…) and yet she excuses it, as “the other Marcus, not her Marcus” (not a direct quote from the book, but damn close). They spend most of the story in this never-ending cycle of him screaming, yelling, her fainting, him isolating her from her family and friends (she cannot even get up to go to the bathroom without his permission), and physically assaulting her when he blacks out BEFORE and AFTER they have sex. And by sex I mean, all the time, everywhere, even at church. Yes, I love kinky, and would have been thrilled by this taboo type of scene, but in this book, it just came off as ridiculous and gross! Many things just do not make sense!

Aside from that, other things don’t make a lick of sense. Like his supposed bodyguards conveniently always being a day late and dollar short when they’re supposed to be protecting her from him and all the people out to kill him (because on top of everything he’s also a dangerous, murderous mobster). I mean, really? Everyone’s afraid of him, even his own twin sister. People shake and shiver when he’s around, but Imani’s just like…Oh they’re afraid of bad Marcus, not good Marcus? WTH, lady? Are you serious?

Technical
The copy editing was alright, and aside from what I wrote above and some formatting snafus, it was an easy to read book. Well, easy on the eyes at least.

Final Word
I could go on but it’s so damn exhausting. Reviewing this book is almost as draining as reading it. Almost. On a positive note, I’ll say this about Emerson Rose, she has the potential foundations of a good story. I like how she gives these mental and emotional conditions to her characters, it offers a new spin on these overused and stale genre romance tales. But she cannot seem to take these ideas and build upon them without falling into the bad habit of stereotypes and typical tropes. In Major’s Baby it was OCD, in Unbroken it’s like a multiple personality disorder brought on by a tumor. But that’s where the compelling aspect of her stories begin and end. She does nothing interesting with these issues. She sacrifices what could be deep, nuanced, and intimate storytelling for the inane, overblown and melodramatic. That’s a double shame.

Two things I would like you to know before I end this review, the first is that I had to wait a full day after eighty-sixing this book before writing a review. Yes, it was that exhausting! The second is that this makes attempt number two with an Emerson Rose book, and like the first time, I stopped, started, and stopped again. But it wasn’t working. Tried once more from 63% to 67% and then threw in the towel. If you remember that this is 1,000 + pages, no one can say I did not try my hardest to hang. My best to those of you that can make it to the end. But Three times a charm? No. Not for me. I will not be going for a third attempt at any of her books. Now hand me an aspirin, asap!

My rating: A lackluster 2.0