Beast of Venery by Isabell Lawless is about Danielle who has escaped from a relationship with a controlling partner, Brian. She and her new husband, Andy have just moved into a new home. Yet, things start going wrong and Brian pays them a visit. I "bought" this book yesterday, finding it for free on Amazon.com.au. Regardless of receiving a free copy, this review is my honest thoughts and just my opinion. I had no expectations when beginning the novel and I pretty much only bought it because it was free. I didn't even bother with the blurb when I began to read it so I just tried to keep my mind open.
My first thought is that the characters are poorly written. My main problem is that none of them have any unique qualities, or even potential within the story to have proper character development; they're just so stereotypical of this type of story and the author doesn't seem to know what to do with them. If anything, all of them seem to become weaker throughout the plot and, despite how strong the author pretends Andy is, shouting threats at people doesn't make you a strong person. The author clearly went overboard with Brian. Many of his actions just don't serve any purpose to the novel, except to try and make us hate him further. The author, no doubt, just made him do the majority of these things to make him look crazier, but they did it in such a manner that it makes no sense in the novel. Even crazy people and their actions do make some sense in real life.
Moving on with Andy, I think that he's probably the worst character of the book. He's kind of creepy, for my first point; on their first date when the taxi driver asks for an address, he already knows it by heart. I don't think the author realises it, but a lot of the qualities that Danielle has been written to hate in Brian during the prologue have actually also been given to the husband as well. Also, many of the "good" qualities that the author gives him turn out badly. The author is clearly trying to make him likeable, but it fails very badly. He's made to be good looking, but that only serves to make Danielle look shallow because she focuses so much on his looks and the author mentions his lack of intellect several times. He's made to seem funny, yet the humorous parts seem creepy; for example, he cracks jokes about the abuse to her when she's in hospital. He's made to look like he takes care of her, but it just looks like he's being controlling. Even in the bedroom, he snaps out orders and she submits without realising that she's just doing much of these things for his benefit, when that was one of the things she primarily disliked in Brian during the prologue. Going back to the author's attempts at making him good looking, I thought it was so creepy that while they were in the hospital, the nurse was flirting with him. The overall relationship between Danielle and Andy feels forced. The sexual comments between each other don't feel natural; they're just awkward and only seem like the author is trying to use what they think might be attractive to a reader. The majority of those scenes are just cringe worthy and badly written. I noticed that though she felt her ex, Brian, had been controlling, she enjoys that kind of behaviour in her husband. Many times, she follows his commands and does things just to please him. Later on while she's in hospital, he manipulates her with the intention to try and get her pregnant. She makes comments that she doesn't really want that. She even comments that "it feels like you're pushing me." (To follow his plan.) Yet, he forces her into the idea.
The overall plot is somewhat stereotypical. The author has a huge amount of elements from other novels and media like it, with similar dialogue and even the thoughts in peoples' minds. I didn't see anything that I would consider unique and I think the worst thing is that the author didn't even try to make it a good story. The entire book is essentially just a woman getting attacked occasionally with random, awkward sex scenes with her husband continuously. The plot doesn't really go anywhere important and the protagonists make one bad decision after the other. For example, the decision to take her back to their home was just stupid. With a psycho ex boyfriend uncaught by police, it would have been very intelligent to stay at her in-law's place. Yet they make the incredibly stupid decision to stay in their own home, which Brian knows where it is because that's where the first attack happened and he had delivered a "present". I just can't understand why the pair of them made such a stupid decision to go to the home that the attacker knows about. Yet, Andy makes comments to say that they're home and "safe". No sweetie, you are far from it. Later on, she's yet again attacked after Brian has been released from prison. Yet, she doesn't call the police, she simply goes home to tell her friends and family about what had happened. Yet another stupid decision. If she had gone to the police, they would likely be able to do something like look into the crime. That's their job. However, many of the characters simply whine that the justice system has failed, blaming the justice system. But, from what he told Danielle, Brian had acted pretty well in prison so it's not surprised that he was released from an overcrowded prison. If she had just reported the attack, the police really would have done something and it's no use trying to blame them for not knowing what had happened and what Brian is really like. Later on, the author is obviously trying to clutch at straws to explain the characters' actions. The friendship with Brian and his partner was completely out of the blue and not very well explained. There was no reason for that portion to be written at all, especially the thing with the prostitute. In fact, throughout the entire book, the author keeps on changing their mind about things and going back on what they've written. There are many inconsistencies and both plot and character development. Author spends too much time focusing on things that don't matter to the plot. A long time in many of the chapters is just weird descriptions of the sex between husband and wife when they don't fit in with the plot at all. They simply act as a break between the developments of the real plot. I think if these sexual portions had not been included and the author had focused their attention on writing a proper story, we might have ended up with a really good, original, well-written book rather than what we ended up with.
Overall, it was a pretty bad book. The author spends so much time on sex scenes, that they can't be bothered writing an original character or plot. I have no empathy for the characters and the book doesn't really make me feel anything except for annoyance. I think that the only reason I stuck in there was because I somehow convinced myself that it was going to get better (it didn't). The thing I just thought was so confusing is that, through the prologue, Danielle had a huge series of complaints about her relationship with Brian, yet many of those points are things she adores in her husband. Andy doesn't treat her in the same way, obviously, but much of his behaviour is quite similar and he was very controlling of her. At varying points in the novel, I kept wondering whether that the author was doing this deliberately; that eventually Danielle would smarten up and realise that she's with a controlling man. Yet, it wasn't some deliberate move by the author, just an ignorant mistake. I also can't get over the stupidity of their decision to go back into their home and then have the husband comment that they were "safe". I don't get this book at all. It was just terrible. 1 Star. I'm glad it was free.