Wow, well, I don't really know where to begin with this review, except to say that this book is very original and it definitely surprised me in terms of how the story progressed and in terms of the almost experimental styling of the book.
This is not your everyday romance novel. Yes, it contains romance and is written well; the dialogue between the characters is fluid and realistic. All the characters are believable, and one thing this author suceeds in doing where many others fail, is in reminding us that we are all human and all capable of making wrong choices and hurting others inadvertently by our actions.
The two main characters Darryl and Leena are great examples of real people, people who will sometimes act from the heart, without thinking and this sometimes comes across as selfish behaviour; especially in Leena's case.
I have to say that by about half way through the novel I really didn't like Leena. I really didn't care what happened to her and I thought she was a selfish individual who only cared about herself. I felt she was expecting too much of Darryl and wondered why on earth he would bother with her. As the relationship between Leena and Darryl progressed, I also began to feel that Darryl was weak-willed and I was losing interest in him -- whereas in the beginning of the novel, I really liked Darryl, I thought he was almost the perfect man, romantic, sensitive and caring. However, I have to say that I believe the author was totally in control throughout; a puppet master, if you like, for his readers' reactions. I think he wanted us to dislike Leena (and maybe even Darryl), because that is how he then went on to successfully send out his message that ultimately we are all fallable as humans, any one of us could have done something similar to what they did. It is, after all, human nature.
One thing that would have improved the book, for me, would have been to see more of the relationship between Leena and Sam, her long-suffering boyfriend. When she was flirting with Darryl whilst still being attached to Sam, I ended up untimately feeling sorry for Sam. We didn't see much of Sam in the novel, so it was difficult for the reader to know whether or not he was neglecting Leena and pushing her into Darryl's arms. I, personally, would have liked more reasons why Leena felt Sam was not the right man for her. Also, her relationship with her family was odd. They all seemed like lovely people but she despised them, and that made her come across as the bad person. If there had been a bit more background as to why she disliked her parents and sister so much, that would have helped the reader to see things from her point of view.
Similarly, I couldn't help feeling sorry for Gabrielle, Darryl's girlfriend who we are told he 'loved' but she is just swept aside never to be heard of again when he gets his chance with Leena. This made Darryl come across as selfish. There was one point in the novel when I was thinking, 'I don't care about Leena and Darryl and their clandestine affair, what about Sam and Gabrielle?!'
All that aside, the author did redeem the story, and I went from practically loathing the main characters to really enjoying the ensuing story.
The ending and the chapters leading up to the ending, took the book into the paranormal realm, and I must say it was very interesting as well as very unexpected.
I'm not sure I actually 'got' the ending, it all seemed a bit fantastical to me, but I suppose it does become a fantasy tale towards the end, and it makes for an entertaining read.
I would personally love to see this story as a movie in the cinema, it would be perfect for the big screen.
(reviewed 41 days after purchase)