Book Review – ‘Too Late’ by Colleen Hoover

A surprising departure from Colleen Hoover’s regular fare that brought all the negative feelings.

Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 394

Sloan will go through hell and back for those she loves.

And she does, every single day.

After finding herself stuck in a relationship with the dangerous and morally corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to get by until she’s able to find a way out.

Nothing will get in her way.

Nothing except Carter.

Sloan is the best thing to ever happen to Asa. And if you ask Asa, he’d say he’s the best thing to ever happen to Sloan. Despite Sloan’s disapproval of Asa’s sinister lifestyle, he does exactly what he needs to do in order to stay a step ahead in his business. He also does exactly what he needs to do in order to stay a step ahead of Sloan.

Nothing will get in his way.

Nothing except Carter.

The best way I can sum up my initial reaction to ‘Too Late’ is 10% titillation 90% revulsion. This book was triggering for me on so many levels. Colleen Hoover stated in the forward that this novel had a darker tone, (and why she released it under the moniker C. Hoover and not her full name to address the departure from her usual publications) and while none of the content actually surprised me, it had my inner feminist, protector, and fellow human being screaming and rattling a metaphorical cage. 

This is also not typically a novel. It’s a series of blog posts and chapters published in order they were written. So there was no weaving of a masterful plot, no going back and redrafting or editing. This was a stream of consciousness. Word vomit. Just for her enjoyment to escape the woes of what she was currently working on – get a reprieve from the tension and pressure. 

I admired how Colleen Hoover gets into the mind of antagonist Asa. And it certainly drew out a lot of passionate emotions from me. Which is sort of the point really – it’s just that they weren’t particularly nice emotions. 

Additionally, I’m not about violent sex, domination, abuse, or well, ‎sex scenes that don’t service the plot. Erotica or titillation just for the sake of it makes me feel like the author is taking a cheap shot. The easy road. Like they couldn’t come up with something more substantial and meaningful to attract a reader. Like sex in advertising. It works, but it’s not something that I find all that appealing. 

So how do you discuss a novel that’s not quite a novel? I’m just going off entertainment value. I was engrossed – and then grossed out. I had to keep putting the book down because I felt ill, like I was going to throw up. And angry. Frustrated. You get it… not a lot of happy feelings. So I was not entertained. It was like driving past a car crash on the side of the road. Such an awful thing to witness, crumpled metal and blood splatter, flashing lights of police cars and ambulances; and you know you shouldn’t look because there’s a chance you could see something that will scar you for life, but you just can’t seem to tear your eyes away.

Given the nature of this being a series of blog posts there isn’t really a structure to the story. There are entire chunks of the novel that are essentially flashbacks. Our protagonist Sloan is painted as a hero for surviving, and choosing to live through a controlling, abusive relationship. This triggers me so badly my thoughts and words turn into rambling passionate nonsense. Add to that, undercover cop and love interest, Carter, tipped as the knight in shining armour… well the characters felt flat to me, and unrealistic. Even the way the story was resolved had me eye-rolling; if this scenario played out in real life ALL the characters would be in jail.

I guess this novel did a great task in getting a strong emotional reaction out of me. For that I have to applaud Colleen Hoover. But for the story itself – well, it’s not your traditional mode of telling a story. The plot is a dog’s breakfast. The scenario did not feel researched thoroughly, and all the characters were (for me) completely unlikeable.

On the whole, ‘Too Late’ rubbed me the wrong way, and as conscious as I am to give this a proper review without letting my emotions take control of me, I can’t recommend this to anyone other than those interested in explicit sex scenes and rape scenarios.

It put me in an awful reading slump and I kind of want those two weeks back.

Overall feeling: Hell No!

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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