“He’s standing there with his arms slack at his sides and more pain in his face than any man deserves. There is torment painted across his body, and I see a plague of anguish dig into him as he drops to his knees.
He does know that he loves her.
And now I am hoping that it isn’t too late.”
Claire Wallis is a brilliant story teller. She has a way of pulling you into her story, making you care, and then making you question every single emotion you feel. This series teaches you to expect the unexpected. It keeps you guessing right up until the very last word and then leaves you with the story running through your mind as you try to sort out the tangle of feelings left over. Truly, brilliant.
That being said, I had a very weird reaction to this book and I’d like to explain why (no spoilers).
Given the emotional complexity of this particular story — with David’s past and irreversible actions, it set a very serious tone to the story, but one that made you question your feelings over and over again. When the sin is that great, what is the fair price to pay? Is there such a thing as redemption? Should a price still be paid? Can there be forgiveness? Can there be healing? Can one move forward? Should one be allowed to move forward? The list of questions you can ask is endless… and the list of possible answers is infinite.
In my opinion, everyone will have a slightly different view point and that’s ok.
The events of the last book left us hanging (quite literally) at the pivotal moment of a life-change scene. In this book, that scenario is resolved within the first 8 chapters. And it was resolved in a jaw-droppingly brilliant fashion. I’d rate the first 8 chapters of this book “5+ STARS”. The writing blew. me. away.
“His mouth is not moving, but his eyes are silently screaming at me. They are telling me to save him. They are telling me to reach down into myself, pull out my own heart, and hand it to him. His eyes are telling me that I can do this. That I am strong enough to fix him.”
My heart was racing. It was pounding. I was freaking out and loving every single word. It was exhilarating. Shivers ran up and down my spine and I felt like I was living each moment along-side the characters.
Truly, this story will stay with me forever.
Here’s the thing… after that turning point, there was a natural lull in the story. The issue that had driven the entire story forward had been resolved to the point that, if the book had ended there (after chapter 8), I would have been almost completely satisfied with it. The story after that was good (focusing largely on “life after” and on a subplot from the first book) and it kept my attention but didn’t make my heart race quite the same way. However, it did have many flashbacks into David’s past that helped answer questions about his backstory and about the events that shaped him into the man he’d become.
Generally, I was fine with that. But overall, I felt like I was told too much of the story.
In the last few pages, an event takes place that changes everything for the future of these characters and, sadly, I’ll say that it left me feeling empty. I totally and completely understand why the author chose to end it like that — there was a certain karmic/poetic justice to it. But it wasn’t the ending I wanted.
But then I thought about it some more and I understand why I shouldn’t have gotten the ending I wanted. I get it. I do. There’s right and wrong and a moral balance to the universe and………….. oh screw the moral balance, I still wanted what I wanted. Grrr. But then wanting that made me feel wrong. Was I some sort of monster for wanting that? Gah. What did that say about me? *cringes* I know I shouldn’t want it, but I kinda did. I also understand why it didn’t happen. And I can go back and forth all day about this.
Here’s the bottom line: I think I would have rather not known how their story ended. I honestly think I would have wanted to know everything up to chapter 8 and then left it there and had the rest of the story be open ended. (Yes, I’m actually wishing it had been left open!! I know, I’m shocked too.)
This is not to say that the author didn’t do a good job with the book, because she did. It was well written, well thought-out, well executed. But speaking from an emotional standpoint, it brought to light a reality that I didn’t want to face and gave me no choice but to accept it as is. There was no more grey area.
Luckily though, she gave me everything I wanted in this book, so that is what I’m going to try to take away from this story. Everything I needed to see happen and wanted to see resolved was given to me in top form! Yes, there was also more than I wanted or was willing to accept, and there were things I didn’t want to accept, but that’s ok. I’m going to delete them from my mind and take what I want away from the story.
Like I said, this is truly a brilliant story and I do understand why it ended the way it did. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have wished for a different ending. See, this whole book told a “grey” story — not a black and white one. I feel like that was the whole point of it — the moral ambiguity and the internal struggle between right and wrong. But I feel like the ending gave it a finality that I didn’t want to see. Which is why, in my mind, the story ends after chapter 8 and the rest is just left… open. Full of possibility.
All this being said, I am honestly so glad that I read this book and I would recommend that everyone who read the first book read this too because honestly (and I know this sounds crazy) I feel like it’s totally worth it even just for those first 8 brilliant chapters. — For me, the first book plus the first 8 chapters of this one together tell a story that’ll stay with me for a long time and will be on my favorites list.
However, I have no idea how to rate this book alone. You’ve read my thoughts, so I hope you can understand why I’m choosing not to put a number to my feelings about Pull. The most important thing to take away from this review is that I got everything I wanted out of this story. The rest… well *shrug*, it’s up to you to decide how you feel about it. But definitely give this book a shot and decide for yourself!
This is now a complete series.