Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: The Paper Swan by Leylah Atter

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From Goodreads

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
They lie.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.

A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers.

My Review

2 "The Stupidity...It Hurts" Stars

There are no good guys or bad guys. Everyone has a reason.

Well....that was something else. About a month or so ago I couldn't open Facebook or Goodreads without people raving about this book. The mysterious synopsis, the gorgeous and ethereal cover, plus the glowing reviews made me snatch this up as soon as it released. Just got around to reading it, and while the first few chapters had me practically biting my nails with nerves, it fell flat after that. Seriously flat. 

I was dead already. The truth doesn't always set you free. The truth can kill you, slice open your innards and turn everything inside out. Everything I believed, everything I thought was real, had been turned upside down.

I won't be giving a synopsis on this one, since the intrigue of it is one of the only pros to it and I don't want to take that from someone if they wish to try it. I'll try and keep this as indirect as possible.That said, it's impossible to be completely vague with this one, so stop reading now if you want to be completely surprised. 

I wanted to weep because someone I loved had died in that face, and I didn't know when or how, and I never got to bourn him. And now they were going to take him away, the boy inside the man. 

First, the few things that did work for me. And yes, I'm breaking out the bullets for this one. ;)

  • That cover! Is it not the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?

  • This books heavily features life as a lackey for a Mexican drug cartel. I've been fascinated by cartels ever since reading Karina Halle's Dirty Angels earlier this year, and I really enjoyed that part of the book. It was intense, gory, and heart wrenching.

  • The Paper Swan did a fantastic job of making you see things in shades of grey instead of stark black and white. The things that the Damien (the love interest) is forced to go through - and at such a young age - are staggering, sickening, and make you empathize with him in ways you don't want to, but can't help.

  • There's a few lines in the story that are beautiful and show some nice potential for the author.

Vengeance only begets more vengeance, more chaos, more darkness. Vengeance abducts us and imprisons us and mutilates us, and we suffer and suffer until we unravel its probing parasitic suckers around us. 

And the not so enjoyable.....

  • This heroine...oh my god. If there ever was an idiotic, obnoxious, self-centered, ridiculous, shallow, stupid  fuckwit, it was Skye. I wanted to shake her throughout the entire novel. Her acceptance and immediate forgiveness of the horrors inflicted upon her were flabbergasting. Who does that?! The man cut off your finger while you were wide awake, and you just want to shag him???? I don't care what he might mean to you, that is the exact opposite of what any normal, sane person would be doing. 

  • Predictable. So, so predictable. The story banks hard on the "big surprises", and if you're like me and saw things coming from a mile away, it just made the books flaws all the more obvious. Several of the plot twists are overused, too. 

  • Weak side characters that are completely flat, giving the story a self centered and drab feel. 

  • I didn't like Damien, and even more than that I couldn't connect with him. Despite what you're shown about him and the empathy you can't help but feel, he wasn't someone I could enjoy and want the best for. 

  • The stupidity of both Skye and Damien. Ties into the predictability aspect, but some things I'd just shake my head at. Honestly, what else were they expecting?

  • Skye and Damien had no chemistry whatsoever, not even in the sex scenes. 

  • Unrealistic. I'm all for fiction, but when you're writing in the contemporary genre it doesn't do well to just be like "well, that's so freakin' unlikely I can't even say". The basic storyline could've easily been used in a likely manner and made it a much more enjoyable road. 

  • The pacing was odd. It was fast paced and engrossing for the first half or so, with an enjoyable and engrossing flow. At around the halfway point it stalled, lost all its momentum and just dragged. I came *this close* to not finishing this.

Overall, The Paper Swan was a story of stupid people doing stupid things with obvious twists and turns, and I wouldn't recommend it. I wouldn't take my word for it though, as everyone loved it but me!


Rating: 2 stars
Genre: New adult, contemporary dark romance
POV: 1st and 3rd, alternating sections
Series: Standalone
Steam/sexual content: Intended steam, somewhat explicit sex
Warnings: Violence, sex
HEA: Yes
Length: 390 pages
My own copy

- The Bibliophile Babe 


  1. Ugh... The heroine sounds like she would drive any sane person nuts. I am going to pass on this one. Thanks for the review.

  2. Yea, I have been drawn in by pretty covers and mysterious blurbs as well. I also love what you liked about it but a TSTL heroine is not my cuppa. Ugh. Brilly review!

  3. I have actually seen some mixed reviews on this one. I definitely think the negatives you listed totally outweigh the positives - But I agree the cover is beautiful!!

  4. Okay. Nothing about this book sounds good. Must. Stay. Away.

  5. Oh... Sorry. Thanks for saving me from this book... The title is super intriguing too bad it's wasted on a not-so-good book.