Friday, March 16, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Only the Strongest Survive by Ian Fox

File Size: 522 KB
Format: Kindle Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

The novel opens with a hair-tingling scene, as two men kidnap Emely Donnovan, one of the wealthiest women in America. She finds herself locked in the basement of a remote house in the middle of a forest, watched over by one of her captors who makes her buy and sell stocks for him so he can get rich. Her challenge to survive becomes even more complicated when Emely's captor falls in love with her.

Kathy's Review:

This is the second book by Mr. Fox that I have read for review. The first, Promise Me Eternity, I was lukewarm about. I have to say, Only the Strongest Survive kept me much more engaged than the prior work I read. There is plenty of action right from the beginning, and the pace stays constant throughout the story.

Emely Donnovan is a ruthless businesswoman, there's no doubt about that. So at times, it's hard to like her. At the beginning, you think, what a bitch. And then she is kidnapped by Ronald and John Langdon, two brothers whose company she bought out from under their feet, and it's hard not to feel sorry for her.

John Langdon is, at first, a despicable character who brutally rapes and then buries Emely alive. Overcome by guilt, he rushes back to the scene and saves her, but keeps her prisoner in an isolated home that once belonged to his parents. He keeps her locked in the basement, secret even from Ronald. As his past is revealed and as he develops genuine feelings for Emely, it's hard not to feel bad for the guy. And that stirs emotions in me, as a reader, because feeling sympathy for a kidnapper and a rapist goes against my moral code. Then, Emely begins to develop romantic feelings as well, and it's tough as a reader to feel anything but uncomfortable with their romance.

I think conceptually this is an interesting story. I wish Emely's character had been more likable. She could have still been a CEO but maybe not portrayed as uncaring as she was in the beginning - especially after learning that her mother died at childbirth and she was raised by nuns. Yes, it sets her up as a survivor (hence the title of the book), but as a protagonist it's not someone that most readers can relate to.

There's areas in the book involving some of Emely's colleagues/employees at the Donnovan Corporation, such as Blake Crouse the attorney who also has a romantic past with Emely. At first I suspected he had somehow been involved in the kidnapping, but his character is not that developed other than appearing here and there in the story. Also, his rival Alexandria Regan. It seems that she is power-hungry but nothing ever happens in that respect.

This is definitely a book that I would recommend, and I think the author has some skill in both writing and story development. However, I will put some caveats out there: there are some rather descriptive rape scenes and sexual scenes that might make some uncomfortable. I would be interested to see what other people think of Emely's character and the feelings she develops for her captor.

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