These are the emotions that I felt while reading this little duo... anger, frustration, helplessness, shock, fear... HOPE.
I emphasize hope simply because that is the only reason I could think of for wanting to complete this story... even though it has to be one of the most disturbing and difficult stories I've ever read. The author had a brilliant technique for waving that little wand of hope in front of you that maybe Livvie would escape, maybe Caleb would help her, maybe everything would turn out all right... maybe, maybe, maybe... That's what kept me turning the pages.
It goes without saying that this series is not for the faint of heart and it is not really a love story... even though some people like to paint it that way. Livvie is beaten, sexually tortured, raped and humiliated. Do not read this series if you are sensitive to any of these issues! These events are described in detail and will stir up your emotions. It took me days to get my head back together and even still many months later I still find myself thinking about this story.
I would classify this as a story of survival. It is an intense and emotional journey of two people who are both trapped in horrible circumstances and they are doing what they have to do to stay alive. Caleb kidnaps Livvie because he needed a certain type of girl to train and sell into the sex slave market and she seemed to fit the bill. Livvie is Just a girl who has a hard life, who was an easy target because it would be easy to make her disappear. She is so very innocent which makes what happens to her while she's held in captivity even more disturbing. The things that Caleb does to her are very hard to read about and watching Livvie slowly lose her innocence was heart breaking. Caleb himself is caught in the middle of a plan for vengeance and has grown up in a world where betrayal of trust is not an option and he himself has in essence also been held captive for the majority of his life. Love is not an emotion he is familiar with in regards to giving or receiving. As the story unfolds, you begin to understand the full picture of Caleb but despite the fact that you do have empathy for what happened to him in the past it is still hard to forgive him for what he has done to Livvie, despite his obvious slowly developing affection for her. He is so emotionally conflicted and Livvie unfortunately is caught in the middle of this Jeckyl and Hyde personality.
This is almost a story of Stockholm Syndrome in reverse. Livvie develops feelings for Caleb because she basically has no choice... he is her only source of comfort. Caleb develops feelings for her because she has awakened something in him he knows that he needs. He has a desire to hold on to this for his own self preservation. He was her light in the dark but she was also his.
After book one I was an emotional train wreck... my mind was exhausted and my body was tense. And, I couldn't wait for book two. It was such a well written story and I was completely invested in these characters. I was completely in tune with both their pain, circumstances and emotions. I needed to know what happened!
When I began book two I was so absolutely relieved because we are projected to several weeks into the future and Livvie had been rescued. Her story is told through the interviews she is having with the police and her psychiatrist. This made book two more tolerable because even though the continuation of her time with Caleb was still horrific you knew at some point she makes it out!
This is a challenging read and definitely not for everyone. I have to applaud the author for her writing skills because creating a character like Caleb that is so easy to hate and then finding a way to make me doubt that hate by the end of book two was something I didn't think she could do. But, she did... and it frustrates me... arrggghhhhhhh!
If you've read this series and you haven't heard... the author is about to release a short Novella from Caleb's POV. Will I be reading it??... Probably so!... I'm a glutton for punishment I guess.