PJV Quickie: When I read the synopsis, I underestimated just how damaged the heroine of this book was. Honestly I didn’t really know what to expect, because it sounded like there was a lot going on as far as plot, which there definitely was. While I enjoyed the overall storyline, some of the other aspects of the novel didn’t work as well for me.
Review: I don’t think I’ve ever read about a more complicated character, or one with more issues, than Pierce. She has anxiety, a touch of OCD, probable schizophrenia, and is continually haunted by an extremely traumatic childhood. She is very guarded; she’s the narrator, but she even manages keeps secrets from the reader. Even with all of these issues, she’s also responsible for a 10 year old girl named Mia. They both managed to escape a vampire compound, where they were kept prisoner for close to a decade. Pierce ended up there as a result of her drug addicted mother making a horrible choice and Mia was born into it. For some reason unknown to Pierce, at least in the beginning, the leader of the compound, Dorian, is trying to track them down and bring them back. She has her suspicions, but can’t quite come up with a completely plausible explanation. At one point on the run, she meets a guy who she calls Pink (because of his shirt); I don’t want to give too much away, but he becomes an important part of the story. That will be pretty obvious to you as you read it though. There are also other great secondary characters, but to prevent myself from giving too much away I’ll just let you read it for yourself to meet them!
I previously mentioned that Pierce probably has schizophrenia. She was never diagnosed, but she has an obsession with numbers, where she likes to count tiles and other things. She also has, living in her head basically, two women named Mildred and Veda Pierce; she not only can hear them, but can see them too. Pierce interacts with them almost constantly, as they always have opinions on everything she does, sees, or hears. These two characters are actually from a 1945 movie, Mildred Pierce; Pierce has a penchant for old movies. At first, I thought it would be interesting and a bit amusing to have these two very different personalities commenting on Pierce’s life, but honestly it got annoying pretty fast. Not only were they offering up commentary on virtually every page, but Pierce also acknowledges them immediately after, in order for the reader to know if it was Mildred or Veda that said it (even though usually it’s pretty obvious). On one hand, I understand that this is just part of what makes Pierce who she is, but on the other hand, I found it very distracting and I was hoping that they would eventually disappear by some miracle.
Another different addition to this book was the recipes. Pierce absolutely loves to cook, but instead of just telling what she’s cooking, the author included recipes and cooking instructions as well. I both liked this element and hated it. I liked it because it was unique, and some of the recipes actually did sound pretty good; I hated it because I don’t do much cooking myself, and these sections were similar to just reading a recipe book. They weren’t long, but I sensed myself zoning out while Pierce was detailing the ingredients and instructions. I feel like it would have been amazing to have a separate section at the end of the book, where the recipes could either be listed or it could even be as if Pierce is hosting her own cooking show. Including these in the midst of the storyline was distracting for me and I didn’t really enjoy reading them. I was also thrown off by all of the allusions to older movies that I’ve never seen. I couldn’t get the references without looking them up, and that was a bit frustrating.
The story of Pierce’s childhood is heartbreaking, to say the least. She honestly didn’t have a childhood. Her mother was hardly ever around, instead choosing drugs over her daughter. Then she moved them both to a vampire compound, which essentially broke Pierce. Now, the details of her time there sickened me, but I feel like some people might be more sensitive to the issues where it might trigger anxiety, so be warned. There are elements of rape, pedophilia, and incest discussed; while it is brief and not explicit, I still feel I should warn potential readers in case this is something that would trigger memories of similar abuse.
When I look at the overall storyline, I have to say it was fairly good. It was interesting, and became increasingly so as the story moved along. I think it ended on an excellent note; I know some people absolutely despise cliffhangers, but this one is done in such a way that it made me excited about book 2. I can already see where the author is going with it and it will be interesting to see what happens with the characters, especially Pierce.
Overall, there were things about Pierced that bugged me, but I see the potential in this series. The storyline is entertaining, the characters are very likable (for the most part), and while the romance is extremely subtle (for obvious reasons), I am sure that aspect will become more focal in the future novels.
Readers who can get behind and appreciate an extremely flawed heroine