Book Review: Eluded by Lyra Parish

Lives intersect only to be changed indefinitely...

This isn't your typical girl meets boy.
There isn't a glass slipper or Prince Charming.
I've lived it and now it will be told.
Welcome to my personal hell...

I once saved lives and now... I so easily end them.

Women are drawn to me like a moth to the flame, and like the moth not all of them continue on. Some are broken, others are damaged, and a few never make it out... but it's their decision to live. Only they often don't know that until it's too late.

F*ck the rules, I create my own in a world where I have nothing left to lose. Living is a game, and I'm the reigning champion by being stronger and smarter than my prey.

This is your warning. If you radiate vulnerability... Well, you could be my next victim. Don't try to hide. I'm not easily eluded.

It started with me and now it will end with me.
Some people call me an uncontrollable killing monster. I f*cking laugh at the mention of the word.
Monsters have no control.
I've got plenty.
I don't kill without reason. I don't kill the innocent.
I hunt the ones that deserve it, the real monsters, the ones without regret or a soul.


When I started Eluded, I was eagerly anticipating a dark, suspenseful read. The book's blurb (and, not gonna lie, that cover!) certainly got my attention. I wondered what kind of monsters lurked within its pages and what kind of hell exactly were these characters supposed to endure. Ultimately, though, this book just wasn't what I was expecting.
Eluded was able to sustain my curiosity for the first few chapters, providing a strong opening and introduction to the main characters, Lauren and Abbot. I sympathized with its heroine--who was lonely and yearning for more beyond the life she was currently stuck in--and I was intrigued by the male protagonist, who was definitely an antihero that came with a tragic past and a sinister side as the leader of a gang. Their first meeting even made things interesting.

However, when the plot took the inevitable turn toward violent and gritty, that's when it started to lose me. The city of London is revealed to be a dangerous underground for organized crime and human trafficking. Lauren becomes a target and is subsequently kidnapped. At this point, Derrick is introduced as the truly vile villain responsible for her capture, and Abbot becomes determined to save Lauren. I thought this premise held a lot of potential. It had the chance to be one crazy rollercoaster. In this case, though, the ride ultimately fell flat.

I've never been one to shy away from twisted or intensely dark, but certain scenes just made me too uncomfortable. Lauren endures a lot while imprisoned by Derrick. She's forced to take drugs, have sex, and resort to doing/thinking things she never thought possible for her. Unfortunately, many scenes--that I think were even intended to be erotic or seductive--made me cringe and want to skim right over them. As an effect, I steadily detached from the story. I was never able to be fully, emotionally invested. 
It became harder and harder to connect with the characters. It became harder to suspend disbelief. For example, Derrick's actions made him an easy villain to hate, but I felt like there was no real depth or complexity to his character. He just had that singular note--crazy and disgusting. That key element of human interest was missing, for me. Also, while I do love the thrill of a mind-blowing twist, Eluded's twist--in my opinion--just came out of nowhere. I felt like it didn't develop naturally. It didn't "click" into place smoothly. 
After all was said and done, the ending wasn't the payoff that I hoped for and wasn't quite satisfying. I wasn't entirely at ease with the way Lauren moved on from what happened to her, and the solution for Lauren and Abbot seemed too quick and easy for my liking. The romance aspect wasn't even a highlight for me. I was able to finish reading, but Eluded didn't feel like an experience. My problems with the plot and characters kept me from ever being completely engrossed, and Eluded just didn't work for me.


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*** Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review ***