Friday, May 14, 2021

Book Review: Flock by Kate Stewart

Title: Flock (The Ravenhood #1)
Author: Kate Stewart
Publication Date: July 27, 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Pages: 364
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Can you keep a secret?
I grew up sick.⁣
Let me clarify.⁣
I grew up believing that real love stories include a martyr or demand great sacrifice to be worthy.⁣
Because of that, I believed it, because I made myself believe it, and I bred the most masochistic of romantic hearts, which resulted in my illness.⁣
When I lived this story, my own twisted fairy tale, it was unbeknownst to me at the time because I was young and na├»ve. I gave into temptation and fed the beating beast, which grew thirstier with every slash, every strike, every blow.⁣
Triple Falls wasn’t at all what it seemed, nor were the men that swept me under their wing. But in order to keep them, I had to be in on their secrets.⁣
Secrets that cost us everything to keep.⁣
That’s the novelty of fiction versus reality. You can’t re-live your own love story, because by the time you’ve realized you’re living it, it’s over. At least that was the case for me and the men I trusted my foolish heart to.⁣
Looking back, I’m convinced I willed my story into existence due to my illness.⁣
And all were punished.

I don't usually review romance when I read it, mainly because it doesn't necessarily fit with the rest of my blog content. Lately, though, I've been reading a lot more romance when I get stuck in a reading slump and I figured it's about time my blog content catches up to my reading preferences. Flock is a book I haven't had much interest in reading, despite seeing it hyped constantly on TikTok. The other day my friend told me I HAD to read it so I gave in and devoured it in a day. 

Flock begins with current day, 26-year-old Cecelia returning to a town where she left behind the only man she ever gave her heart to, while telling the reader that it's a bad idea. It immediately flashes back to 18-year-old Cecelia coming to town for the first time to live in her dad's house and work in his factory. During her first day on the job she meets Sean and joins him at a house party where she's immediately overwhelmed with people and the weirdness of the situation. Everyone seems to have the same tattoo and Sean's roommate Dominic is a jerk as soon as she meets him. Thus begins her quest to integrate herself into their lives because they're hot and she's bored. 

I'll admit, I fully intended to enjoy this book as soon as I started. It isn't peak literature, but I figured it would be a fun book to pass a day. Then Sean came into the picture and, although he seemed charming and mysterious at first, I was pretty quickly turned off by him. One of the first interactions between Sean and Cecelia occurs on a hike, during which Sean removes Cecelia's Apple Watch, stomps on it, and spouts a bunch of philosophical nonsense about time. This immediately set off red flags, but I was assured he wasn't manipulative so I kept reading. 

The next red flag came when Sean took Cecelia's phone while they were out together and told her she wasn't allowed to have it when she was with him. Red alerts sounded, but I was promised it would all make sense later. Sean was mostly fine until much later in the book when the alarm started BLARING.

Spoilers for an argument later in the book.
Later in the book, Cecelia cooks dinner for Sean and waits for several hours past their agreed upon time. When he finally shows up, she confronts him about being HOURS late and he turns it around, whining about how he didn't have a phone because of reasons and she doesn't trust him and doesn't believe in him. When she asks for an apology for his extreme lateness he tells her maybe they shouldn't be together and SHE ends up apologizing and inner monologuing about how she deserves him hurting her. I just - no. Hard, hard no. All the red flags. Dump him IMMEDIATELY. But of course she doesn't.

Thankfully, this is a polyamorous romance and Sean isn't the only love interest. Remember the jerk, Dominic? He stays a jerk, but at least he's upfront about who he is. The romance between them was so, so much better. I really enjoyed seeing his walls come down around Cecelia and am eager to see what happens between them later if I continue the series. 

Throughout Flock there is a bit mystery surrounding the tattoos and the secrecy amongst Sean, Dominic, and their friends. Few answers are given in this book and the vagueness with which everyone speaks is enough to make me want to scream. There is a cliffhanger ending, but honestly not one that made me want to immediately start book two. 

I probably will continue this series at some point, but only because I've been assured that there's a distinct lack of Sean in that installment. I was intrigued by the story but extremely skeeved out by such a manipulative love interest. It doesn't seem to bother anyone else I know, so it's probably my personal baggage coming out to ruin my reading experience, but I think it's definitely worth discussing.