Review: Seduced In The Dark (#2, Dark Duet) by CJ Roberts

seduced

 

5stars

“During the course of our time together, I’d fallen in love with my captor. I’d fallen in love with his smell and his taste, his smile, kindness, and yes, even his cruelty, because I knew it was a part of him.”

Oh this book! This series! I’ll start by saying you that if you think book 1 is intense, wwwehhhelll… just you wait… book 2 is way more intense. As I write this, a day after finishing the book, I still feel emotionally drained, thoughts barely piecing together after reading such an all-consuming story. Like Captive In The Dark (CITD), it’s an emotionally turbulent book that just blows your mind.

In my opinion, Seduced In The Dark (SITD) is darker and more disturbing than CITD. You have so many OMFG moments with scenes I considered skimming over because they were so painful and excruciating to read (but I didn’t).

“I heard the distinct sound of a buckle being undone and the swish of a belt being pulled from its belt loops. I started to shake.”

And yet, there are so many moments of sweetness and peace as well.

“Dealing with Caleb was all about perspective. You couldn’t appreciate his kindness until you felt his cruelty.”

The book commences months after the conclusion of CITD, with alternating Caleb, Livvie, and a new character’s POV. Book 2 takes you on the journey towards the auction in Karachi and in the midst of that journey, as emotions intensify, Caleb and Livvie have the opportunity to finally explore the unlikely possibility of their relationship. Caleb’s loyalty to Rafiq, however, is a heavy burden that quells any hopes. Particularly as Rafiq reminds him of his debt.

“I expect obedience, Caleb. I expect your loyalty. Anyone who betrays me will only do it once. Do you understand?”

The hardest part for me was finding that I sympathized with Caleb, felt horrible for what happened to him, for the lies he was fed, for the torture he endured, but at the same time, he was a monster who did so many awful things to Livvie. How could I like him? Could he be redeemed? Who is he really? At the end of the day, what he did was absolutely inexcusable, but Caleb and Livvie both had pasts that shaped the people they became and perhaps, in their torment, in their pain, found solace in each other. Could we judge them for that?

“I accuse you of being fucked in the head, Caleb. The truth is… I wonder if I’m not fucked up too. I should hate you, Caleb. Now I’ve decided what my fate will be, I should want to kill you. I don’t. I can’t imagine never having knowing you.”

Caleb also questions who he truly is, attempting to understand if he’s more than his revenge, if he’s more than the monster he believes himself to be.

“You’re a monster who imagines he’s something else… I know what I am, he said, calmly. I’ve always known. He gave her a quick up-and-down look. She slouched back in her seat, as though his gaze were venom. It’s you who thinks otherwise.”

And even Livvie struggles at moments to keep up with the hot/cold nature of Caleb.

“I admit… at first I thought… she shrugged. I thought you were my knight in shining armor. Stupid, I know…. I was so shocked when I saw you again. Shocked to discover… I thought you were a monster then. You terrified me. But now? Now, I don’t know how I feel about you.”

But definitely for worse, Caleb is determined to continue with Livvie’s training… with Kitten’s training. She has to survive. And oh, the party scenes… (you’ll see).

“Be smart! Fight the battles you can win and accept the ones you can’t. That’s how you survive!”

But despite the monstrosities she experiences, she loves him. She does. And as confident as Caleb seems to be, he is his most fragile and insecure believing in his ability to love…

“Kitten, he said. Monsters can’t love.”

… and in the ability of others to love him.

“You don’t know what you want, Livvie, and what you think you want, you’ve been brainwashed into wanting.”

CJ Roberts is amazing. Her characters are beautifully written — flawed, complex, strong, brave. Her two Dark Duet books are irrevocably some of the most captivating books I’ve ever read. And the ONLY books I’ve read that decisively torment the reader, pushing you to question it all, stripping you bare… and like Caleb did to Livvie… building you back up. It’s empathy in its most real (and controversial) form. I smiled at the warm and hopeful moments, I flinched at the atrocities I read about and I cried at so many heart-breaking moments… especially in the end. The last 25% of the book offers a major plot twist and was simply agonizing … you just want to know what happens. And it’s… well, you’ll see…

“I wanted him to choose me and accept me. I wanted him to leave everything behind and love me.”

Does he?

***

Please note that you MUST read Captive In The Dark FIRST. This is NOT a standalone novel.

Buy Captive In The Dark (#1, Dark Duet) here: http://goo.gl/hSxxA
Buy Seduced In the Dark (#2, Dark Duet) here:  http://goo.gl/k4e5f
Read Chapter 1 of the Epilogue, (novella, #2.5, Dark Duet) here: http://goo.gl/2Si20
Read my review for Captive In The Dark here: http://wp.me/p235yk-iV

Comments

  1. I am about a quarter through this book!! Loving it so far 🙂

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