Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review: King (King, #1) by T.M. Frazier

From Goodreads

Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.

Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.

A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pussy or a combination of all three.

King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go. 

My Review

4.5 "I'm Finally In The Majority!" Stars

Brantley King, notorious criminal and tattoo artist, is freshly released from a stint in a maximum security prison. Having grown up with nothing but living hell and relying on no one but his best friend since childhood, King has built an impressive and well earned reputation. More than a little crazy, King is someone you do not cross without suffering serious consequences. 

Jane Doe "Doe" wakes in a hospital with no memory. Starving and completely alone on the streets, she joins up with a drug addict prostitute named Nikki. In the hopes of finding protection and safety in exchange for warming the beds of local bikers, the two descend upon a house party. What they don't know is that this is a "Welcome Home From Prison" party for none other than King. Things get hairy, and when Nikki steals from King himself, she winds up shooting Doe in her escape. 

Injured and practically dead from hunger, Doe is held as King's prisoner. Initially he wants her to repay the debt her friend stole (remember how you pay when you cross him?), but once he realizes Doe had nothing to do with it, things take an interesting twist. Unable and unwilling to deny the intense connection and possession he feels for Doe, King attempts to claim her as his. Doe, feisty thing that she is, resists at first, but even she can't stop what's between  them. Things can't go smoothly with this type of lifestyle, and as enemies move in and Doe's past threatens to tear them apart, we're thrust into a world of sex, murder, drugs, and lies.

I was desperate, and desperate people didn't have the luxury of options. 

King blew up the blogesphere and Facebook when it released earlier this year, and with good reason. I'm always skeptical with these book phenomenons, as I'm nearly always the black sheep who just isn't impressed. That was not the case with King. Holy shit, y'all, this book...! It has a lot of issues, don't get me wrong, but this has been one of the best books I've read all year. It's a mass of contradictions, and what I loved in some spots I hated in others. Let's jump right into this, shall we?

They called me Doe.
As in Jane Doe.
The only difference between me and a real Jane Doe was a toe tag, because what I was doing sure as shit wasn't living. Stealing to eat. Sleeping wherever I could find cover from the elements. Begging on the side of freeway off ramps. Scrounging through restaurant dumpsters. 

First, what I didn't like.

In my head, I don't like this book. It's rough in more ways than one, I often felt things were done simply for shock value. The relationship is its own issue entirely, and I felt a bit dubious of the events in several places.

King wasn't a dream. He was a nightmare.

King is so erratic and downright insane that I'm surprised he's survived this long. Seriously, the man is unhinged. Reckless, dangerous, and stubborn as a mule, he has enemies coming out his ears. His rage would often lead him to make impulsive decisions that I could just picture coming back to bit him the ass (or shoot him in the head, as the case may be), but that almost never happened. I get it's fiction, but....I want it realistic!

Doe was incredibly naive, and I wasn't sure if it was just her personality or supposed to be an effect of her memory loss. Wanting to bang your capture after he's threatened you in a way that made me a bit nauseous? What is wrong with you, girl?!

From a real life standpoint, Doe and King are noxious together. His possession and control over her is appalling, and her warped perception of what's okay in a relationship made me cringe.

Like I said, I often felt things were done simply for the shock value of it. Something happens at the end of the book that I felt could've been left out without a problem, as a similar issue had already come up in the middle of the story and stayed a consistent plot point since then. 

Now for what I abso-fucking-lutely loved.

In my bookish soul, I loved this book.  It's been months since I've read a book that ensnared me and refused to let go the way King did. I had to read it, and the brief times I was pulled away from it I was literally itching to get back to it. It's a complete paradox, and a breakneck ride. 

"Love is what you would do for the other person, not what you do in general."

Doe and King's relationship was explosive and passionate, so much so I'm surprised the pages didn't burst into flame. Despite the logical issues with their relationship, I couldn't help but desperately want them together. They fit each other perfectly, had an intense connection, and they're both so crazy they almost made one sane person when they were together.

"When it comes to me and mine, I am the judge. I am the jury. And if need be, I am the mother fucking executioner."

King was a fascinating anti-hero, one I was instantly obsessed with. His intelligence mixed with his insanity gave him the perfect edge of wild, like you never knew just what he'd do next. It gave the novel such nail biting anxiety to it.

"Have you ever thought that who you are now is exactly the person you're suppose to be? That maybe with the slate wiped of bullshit outside influences, that you are now more yourself than ever before?"

Doe was harder for me to connect with. I didn't like her to start with, but by the end of the novel I came to really enjoy her character. She has some nice development, and seeing her blossom into a whole new person outside of the life she can't remember was fascinating to watch.
Doe's head was an interesting place to be. T.M. Frazier writes in a way were you really become Doe, and her reactions are your reactions. This was especially evident with the side characters; my initial perception and then later thoughts of them lined right up with Doe's.

The side characters....! This book might just have the best cast ever. I connected with each one for different reason, and I enjoyed their page time just as much as Doe's and King's.

The story is set in Florida, and the author paints such a vivid picture of the landscape and climate. Even if I hadn't lived here my whole life, I could perfectly envision what the scene looked like. Having the personal experience of being a lifelong Floridian just gave it a near 3D feel. 

"You deserve so much more than an ex-con who has nothing to offer you. You deserve so much more than me. It was easy to keep you when you were just mine, my propriety. It's hard to keep you as my girl. I don't know when it all shifted, but it did. And that's what I want, but it's something I've never wanted before. I want you in my life more than anything, but it's so much more complicated than that. So much more than you know."

I was not expecting the emotional roller coaster I was put on with this book. I was horrified, hopeful, swooning, hot and bothered, giggling and bawling throughout the course of the story. 

It's such an engaging, fast paced book that kept me on the edge of my seat. Started it late Sunday morning and by that night I was finished and started on the second. I could not put it down; the only thing that got me to leave it alone was a late afternoon beach jaunt. Once I completed the first one, I had to start on the second one immediately. Thank god I had an ARC! This book wraps you up inside and doesn't let go.

Overall, King was a rough story that utterly captivated me. It screwed with my head and made me desperate for more. I highly recommend it, but head the warnings!


Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: New adult (says Goodreads, but I've never read NA like this), dark contemporary romance
POV: 1st person, alternating dual perspective
Steam/sexual content: Very steamy, graphic sex
Warnings: Graphic sex, violence, drugs, rape, abuse, filthy language
Series: King, #1
Cliffhanger: YES
HEA: Beats me!
Length: 302 pages
Published: June 15th, 2015
My own copy

Come back tomorrow for a review of book two, Tyrant!

- The Bibliophile Babe


  1. Oooo I'm intrigued! It sounds like the logical part of my brain is going to have a few WTF moments in this book, but my romantic heart is going to be all THIS IS THE GREATEST BOOK EVER! Can't wait:)

  2. This sounds like the book would get my interest really quickly while reading. Can't wait to see your review for #2

  3. Sounds gritty! When in the mood I love thes ekinds of book s- I will have to check this out - Great review!

  4. What you didn't like is the reason I would have avoided this book. I can see if it isn't well done that all you would have is an abuser and a victim with Stockholm syndrome or something like that. However, you loved it and I'm so curious now! Yea, I think I need to try this one.

  5. Have Mercy! This is intense -- I LOVE it, and I must have it! This is just so dark and twisty. Amazing review! This series is going on my TBR immediately!

  6. Well now you have me curious, and I love when a book holds up after so much fanfair.