I have one piece of advice for you before you start reading this book: fasten your seat belts!! There is not one second you won’t feel the awesome full-body sensation of the roller-coaster ride this next instalment in The Artists Trilogy will take you on – the butterflies, the stomach drops, the exhilaration and the skipped heartbeats. This is one adrenaline rush you will quickly become addicted to. And you won’t want to come off it.
“I gave Camden a second chance at life, at love, at everything by taking a step backward with mine.”
After sacrificing herself for the happiness of the one she loved, Ellie buys Camden and his family their freedom by willingly leaving with Javier, the man she had once loved, but who broke her heart and from whom she had been hiding for six long years. Finding herself in Javier’s life again forces Ellie to not only face the danger of his plans for her, but also the uncertainty of a future in the arms of a now powerful drug lord. Ellie is so desperate to make amends with her past, to redeem herself and do something “good” for someone else for once, that she is prepared to sacrifice her happiness for his. In this book, we feel her constant struggle to be “good”, to convince herself that she is “good”, and failing at every turn.
“I’ve wanted this for so long, this retribution for myself. That if I kill him, I’ll be free of everything that’s held me down and told me where to fit in this world. Told me what I am. That if I kill him, the man who made me bad, I’ll be good. Sometimes… Sometimes I’d do anything to be good.”
While Ellie and Javier pursue a plan of vengeance and move closer to the man that brought them together in the first place, Travis, Camden and an unlikely partner in crime follow them into Mexico, pursuing their own plan of rescue.
“…we were on the run from the law, in Mexico, nearly taking everyone down with us. All for a girl. But she wasn’t just any girl. She was mine. And I was hers. Until the bitter end.”
Camden is willing to lose his soul and himself in the process, but he is unwilling to give up on the woman he so desperately loves. The evolution of Camden in this book is spectacular. It’s believable. There are scenes that are hard to stomach but utterly necessary to show how far he is willing to go to save Ellie, how much of himself he is willing to sacrifice for her. In a sinister kind of way, his every violent act reads like an act of love because we know how much it tears him apart that many of his actions make him so very akin to the monster he wishes to save Ellie from. He is driven by his love for her, even when that love has the power to bring him to his knees and break his heart. His constant strength of character may possibly be the only weapon that could save them all in the end.
“…in saving her, I might lose myself, lose any morals or convictions I once had had. Camden McQueen might end up a stranger to even me when it was all said and done.”
Javier is perhaps the character that intrigued me the most in this instalment, if you can put his psychopathic homicidal tendencies aside. After reading On Every Street, I was taken by this enigmatic man, aching to find out what drives him, desperate for any insight into his mind. We finally get some long-awaited answers, a deeper knowledge of the reasons behind everything Javier does, says, believes, making him an even more fascinating character because regardless of the monster he so often is, he makes us cling onto every and any redeemable thread of goodness we can find in him. His warped sense of justice, his unpredictable temper, his ability to live by a strict moral code but with complete disregard for human life, make him perhaps the most complex character of them all.
“I’m glad you are afraid of me, my dear, I’m glad I disgust you. The more you feel these things so strongly, the more you’ll realize how right I am. That you and I are the same. That I can help you get what I have— the power, the pride, the respect. I can make you my queen. And you’ll give up on trying to be good, to be better. You are better now.”
Three very intricate characters, all three so multifaceted and grey. There is nothing black or white about them, they are neither heroes nor villains, they are the products of their own pasts and they are all driven by the baggage they carry with them – revenge for Javier, unrequited love for Camden, redemption for Ellie.
Written from a dual point of view, both Ellie’s and Camden’s, this is the perfect second part in the series. It is extremely fast paced and exciting, both emotional as well as action-driven, constantly leaving us on pins and needles. We are left at another thrilling point in the storyline, hungry for more but also thoroughly sated by what we just experienced.
The Artists Trilogy ends in Bold Tricks…
“I don’t have a soul. But you make me feel like I do.”