The first thing you need to know about Collide (which I didn’t know when I requested it for review) is that it is not the complete story. There is at least one other book. The next thing is that, even though the audiobook is professionally published by Brilliance, the book is self-published. I had little confidence it had ever seen an editor. Certainly not a very good one.
The book is highly rated at Goodreads so there are obviously a lot of people who disagree with me, but this book was NOT for me. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t like the story, and I thought the writing was ordinary. There were many misused words and general adjective abuse – for example:
“His eyes slowly languished over every inch of her.” (my emphasis)
(Yes, really) and the heroine’s heart “ricocheted around her chest” so many times I think she must have been a pulpy mess internally.
The story begins when Emily and her boyfriend of about a year, Dillon, are on their way from her mother’s funeral in Colorado to New York, where she will now live. Dillon has been her rock. He’s a wealthy stockbroker and has paid the moving costs and most of the hospital bills (and SHE LET HIM) but Emily doesn’t want to move in with him right away. She moves in, instead, with her old college roommate, Olivia.
Even though we are told of all the nice things Dillon has done for Emily, he comes off as a jerk from the start and never really changes. Olivia despises him. He’s brusque, controlling, and demanding and Emily lets him walk all over her (Grrrr).
Emily has finished college and is now qualified to be a teacher but does waitressing work over the summer. She is asked to deliver a meal to the Chrysler Building where she meets Gavin Blake. He is slightly nicer than Dillon but there were quite a few times where it was hard to tell them apart – and not just because they sounded the same. By the end, I pretty much thought Gavin was a jerk too and I didn’t like Emily either because she was so weak-kneed. I didn’t think any of them deserved a HEA (or perhaps they all deserved each other) but never fear – it’s not the end of the story so this is a HEA free zone. (*cries*)
So, Emily is with Dillon, but after she meets Gavin, she is very attracted to him and he’s wild for her and plans to “steal” her away from Dillon. Dillon is a cheating cheatypants but as it turns out, so is Emily. Technically, Gavin and Emily don’t do the actual deed until Dillon and she are “on a break” but before that there is some serious heavy petting. It’s cheating in my book. YMMV.
Dillon is awful but Emily is with him most of the book. There is little time for Gavin and Emily to be together, to talk about anything much, to develop a mature relationship, anything. Don’t even get me started on the lack of sexual safety, issues with consent… I could go on but why share the torture?
In a case of be careful what you wish for, the narrator mostly didn’t work for me either. She was better than the text and I’m sure I would have liked her better had the story been more worthwhile. I often complain that many characters sound the same. Here, Ms. Kowal has a multitude of voices for the large cast of secondary and bit players. Unfortunately, most sound like caricatures. Some had believable New York accents but that is about the highest compliment I can pay. They sound not at all like real people. At least Emily, Dillon, and Gavin (the latter two did sound very much the same) didn’t sound strange but friend Fallon was laughable – as were many others.
I have to give props to Ms. Kowal, however, for reading out loud nonsensical sentences and phrases which range from badly stated to ludicrous with a straight face (or should I say voice?). She made the context clear even when the words were not.
In some ways I guess you could say Collide was genre-busting (if one were being excessively kind) because the heroine is with someone else for most of the book and actually enjoys sex with someone other than the hero (who is supposed to be Gavin – I feel I have to tell readers that because he’s not terribly heroic). But then, it’s not a romance so it can’t be genre-busting. Because romances have a HEA.
It’s also marketed as New Adult but all the players are post-college and certainly Gavin and Dillon are in their late 20s. So it’s a contemporary (not) romance within a New Adult skin if you like. It has the overwrought melodrama with people who really ought to know better.
The quality of the production was good, but I’m afraid that couldn’t elevate the text. I think I would have preferred Ms. Kowal to use fewer voices and to stick with the ones that sounded realistic rather than make the attempt she did to differentiate everyone.
I didn’t like this audiobook. I can’t recommend it. And I don’t care what happens in Book 2.
Book Content: D-
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence: Some Fighting
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Collide was provided to AudioGals for review by Brilliance Audio.