Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Fortitude Smashed (Camellia Clock Cycle #1) by Taylor Brooke
Published: Interlude Press (September 21st 2017)
Genre: new adult; contemporary, romance, soulmates
LGBT rep: bi/pan MCs, mlm relationship
Rating: 2/5 🍑 (GR)

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate.
Fate is now a calculation.
But loving someone isn’t.
When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

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Soulmates. I mean, the blurb could have ended there and I would already be hooked. Even if what I actually like most about the soulmates trope, is the identifying marks part & that kind of works best in fics, when I know and love the characters. But no matter! Soulmates! I was excited!

Our main characters (the pov switches between them all the time, it’s nice) are an art thief and a police detective. Combine this with the soulmates trope and you’re expecting some nice angst before the guys even get together, right? Well, that’s not the case. The sparks start flying right away and they’re actually pretty quick to stand a relationship. Honestly, though? It’s a good thing. I loved that. It gave us an opportunity to observe how they will take care of said relationship. As soon as I realised this is what I got myself into, I was even more excited.

They actually make a pretty good job of getting their relationship to work. Sure, they’re not big on communicating, at least at first (and it’s even addressed in the narrative and apparently in this world soulmates have two modes of interacting, physical & emotional), but they do their best. They share all the important things with each other. It’s all very reasonable and adult-like.

So Anna, what’s the deal? Why is your rating so low?

Yes, the premise is good. Great even. The problems start when you look at the writing. I see two, which are deeply connected: 1) the totally purple prose and 2) the lackluster characters. You wouldn’t necessarily think those have anything to do with each other and yet. The thing is, the style sure is pretty, full of sweet, enchanting metaphors, but it’s all empty. It’s so shiny, it takes your attention away from the fact that the characters have absolutely no depth.

And that’s because they are constantly being described, but none of those beautiful descriptions have anything to do with how they act. Aiden especially is being portrayed time and time again as this dangerous young man, all knives and sharp edges. But in reality all we get is him walking his cat on a pink leash and sharing food with homeless people. It’s kind of even worse with Shannon, because we’re given some hints about his tragic (?) past, but never actually learn anything.

So yeah. In the end, even though I actually like purple prose and it was very sparkling here, I was bored to death and couldn’t wait to get to the last line. I’m really sorry about that, I was honestly excited about this book! I mean… Soulmates!

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How do you guys feel about the soulmates trope? Do you know any good books that feature it? Let me know!

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