Harder - Robin York

I started this with some trepidation, because of unpleasant spoilers I'd read. In the end though, I decided it worked about as well as Deeper -- which is to say mostly, but in a slightly lopsided way.

In Deeper, I thought Caroline's journey was very well done, but West didn't make a lot of sense to me. Here it was the other way around. West's portrayal as someone who hasn't been able to hope for anything for himself since he was ten years old, who's been used and abused by everyone with power over him, was very strong. And I was really happy with how he started to find what was important to him and work for it.

Caroline was more oblique to me, perhaps because I didn't really agree with her justifications for her decisions about West -- her decisions about how she wants to deal with her past and the rest of her life are much clearer -- and because I found her behavior towards West invasive and even violent. I was surprised at how much West let her get away with and wondered if he just didn't really notice because he's so used to being treated badly.

I found the end something of a letdown because although both are taken in a very good direction, there seems to be a lot from West's past that hasn't really been addressed. I dislike the idea of a third book so I'd just as soon let it go, but it felt incomplete.


On balance, I don't think it was as good as Deeper, but still very worth reading, and with a notably different happy ending.