I will start by acknowledging that this book is universally loved. I haven’t met a single person who didn’t enjoy it… and I do not understand why.
I don’t usually review DNF’s, because I don’t think it’s fair to voice an opinion on a title I didn’t actually read. I’m going to this time because I couldn’t finish. Y’all, I have tried four times to read this book and it’s just… dull. The imagery is beautiful and so clearly depicted, that it reminded me of Steinbeck. Even in Canary Row, though, Steinbeck managed to grasp my attention through his detailed characters. That’s exactly what this book felt like, too: a Steinbeck-level writing exercise. Despite the setting of a magical circus, though, Morgenstern fails to elicit an ounce of feeling for any of her seemingly eighty-seven characters. Coupled with the lack of any engaging plot, it just became a chore to read these random artistic journal entries.
I give the author credit for an original storyline. It was compelling and had such promise… until the other eighty-five characters showed up, all equally as flat as the main two and nothing happened. Reading this book was such an effort, that I finally gave up at 42%. If you love imagery just that much, this is the book for you. If you’re excited by the prospect of a magical circus death match, as suggested by the blurb… well, I don’t think that one’s been written yet. If it has, this ain’t it.
I don’t like to review DNF’s, but I tried, y’all. I really tried.
The problem with Keep Me Safe isn’t the plot. It was pretty original, mixing romantic suspense with paranormal romance. That’s why I gave it a second go (and star) after only having made it through 25% the first time. You have to be in the mood for Banks, because she loves her damsels. These aren’t KA damsels, mouthy and impulsive. These are old school Disney damsels, too stupid to refuse an apple from a stranger or prick their finger on a glowing spinning wheel. These gals are weak and need saving from the badasses who fall in love with them instantly… which can be fun to read. In fact, this theme worked particularly well in Banks’s highlander series and the first half of her KGI series, which, admittedly, takes a hilariously hard left turn.
Keep Me Safe’s major flaw isn’t the plot or characters. It’s the writing. I don’t know if Banks has jumped the shark or if she’s writing too quickly, but this book was unbelievably repetitive. In the first few chapters, Caleb confesses that he’d do it all over again at least four times. It takes away from the effect and is exhausting to read. On top of that, I know this is romance, but oh my stars, Caleb turned into such a vagina. I just could not take another redundant heartfelt speech from this “badass.” It was beyond nauseating. I quit at 66%.