Leveling The Field by Megan Erickson

Book: Leveling the Field

Series: Gamers #4

Author: Megan Erickson

Release date: 2 May, 2016

Review by: Onni

Basic story: When photographer Lissa Kingsman first lays eyes on the mysterious and sullen Ethan Talley, she is intrigued. His sex appeal is off the charts and she wants him to be part of her upcoming show, featuring the stories and experiences of those who’ve undergone trauma and scarring.

Ethan makes it absolutely clear that he doesn’t want his picture taken under any circumstance and both his business partner and Lissa better take heed. Incensed and generally angry with life, Ethan finds he cannot shake his attraction to Lissa. Her way of simply being attracts him, and she could be the only thing that will dull his torment.

Lissa is desperate to hear Ethan’s story. His scars are visible for all to see, whereas hers are deeply embedded. Maybe together, they can exorcise their demons and finally find peace…

Review: This book had all the ingredients to make it great. A feisty and level-headed heroine; a glowering hero who messes up consistently and is afraid to go after what he wants; an interesting premise and some good chemistry. So the problem? Firstly, I couldn’t get on board with the writer’s style – some sentences were really jarring and oddly constructed. Example: when Lissa first meets Ethan, we’re not given the chance to build up a picture of her for ourselves. Here’s the first indicator that she’s a person of colour:

His [Ethan’s] gaze darted to Grant. “What’s she doing here?”

Lissa jolted, every instinct screaming at her to tell this prick to go to hell, talking about her like she wasn’t in the room. He was either a misogynist, a dick, or a racist at the sight of her black skin.

What does that last part of the sentence even mean? This was just one example of either poor wording or poor execution of what could have been a strong story. I’m a huge advocate of writers writing characters unlike themselves, but I found myself scratching my head. I don’t often look in the mirror and ponder my ‘black skin’ – the words just felt a little unnatural and over-thought.

However – I did enjoy the dialogue between the main characters when they weren’t hurting each other. Lissa was smart and she ultimately brought out the best in Ethan – so there are some nuggets there, (the scene with the glitter was hilarious) they were just too few and far between.

Rating: 2/5 – for an average read, at times a little self-conscious, some painting-by-numbers characters who somehow failed to leap off the page.

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