A Book Review of Addiction, by B.L. Pride
Young librarian Mila Laut was bored. Not even reeling over her messy break-up anymore (the dregs of which can’t seem to leave her alone), she pined for something…more, in life. Something exciting. Sad, soulful eyes, artfully tousled hair, and broad, chiseled shoulders fit the bill. Enter Adam Tichy.
Does a gorgeous man who hangs on your every word, as if you’re the most interesting person on the planet sound good? How about one who makes you feel like you’d do the craziest things for him, without hesitation? And if you sensed an uncontrollable urge to be with him, even admitting that there’s hardly anything you wouldn’t compromise in return for just one more electric, zinging touch of his skin? Wait…this is sounding less like love and more like a sickness, isn’t it? What’s the difference between love and addiction, anyway?
This novel explores that ageless question, and that’s part of the reason it’s much more than a simple romance. “Addiction” is a love story, and there is no shortage of steamy scenes between delectable Adam and heroine Mila. But be prepared for something darker. From the very first scenes, Mila senses something haunting about Adam and all that surrounds him—their curious first connection at a funeral; a strange, electric phenomenon when the two touch; pouring rain that hasn’t stopped since she first laid eyes on him. Mila continues to uncover clues that are obvious warning flags, like Adam’s frank declaration that there are secrets he simply will not reveal to her, for her own good. He even goes so far as to flatly state that he’s dangerous for her, alluding to terrible depths she couldn’t understand. Of course, Mila dives in anyway, and I sat on the sidelines cheering her on, turning page after page knowing I would’ve reacted the same.
The problem is, the reward of Adam seems far greater than any nameless threat he poses. We have only vague hints along the way of the actual nature of the danger, and his danger is almost as alluring as his beauty. Each little fact uncovered is mildly disturbing, more so as the novel progresses, but since the big reveal is incremental, we can handle it just as Mila can when it comes to brass tacks. And, rest assured, the big secret is revealed by the end (more dramatic than I had expected and with promising, far-reaching possibilities for future story segments), but by the time we arrive there with Mila, we have been well-prepared for anything strange. Adam’s world clicks into place almost comfortably—although in fact it may be lethal—and Mila whirls around belatedly, to see only in hindsight how far over her head she actually is. By that time, she’s hopelessly, irrevocably consumed in Adam’s story, no matter how deep he plans to take her. And it’s hard to blame her.
The prose flows easily and seductively, but a reader should know that English isn’t B.L. Pride’s first, or even second, language. “Addiction” has been translated into English from Slovene. You may find a language conversion blip here and there that goes with the territory, but actual mistakes or mistranslations are rare. You’re more likely to experience subtle differences in culture and what I like to think of as little European moments, which I personally love. I felt more connected to to Mila’s character and culture when, for example, I ran across a turn of phrase that wasn’t translated as something I was used to in English, but on reflection made perfect sense. Mila talks and thinks like a Slovenian woman, and I don’t need her watered down by too careful a translation into English.
Another of my favorite personal entries into the story is the emphasis on art as a way to see past the exterior and into the soul. Without giving too much away, when the characters face the inexplicable or unnamable, they use art to describe what can’t be put into words. Art taps into our carnal instincts—something we all understand on an abstract level and often have difficulty expressing. Adam doesn’t know how to describe his inner world so that Mila can understand, so he uses art. Mila gets a terrifying glimmer and pulls back, just as many people do when confronted with powerful artwork that’s a little too close to the edge. In speaking with one of the authors, I learned that art is always an important part of B.L. Pride’s work and that music in particular serves as the backdrop to much of the writing. I sincerely hope to see more of this in the rest of the series.
I’m hoping to see a lot more of everything in subsequent books, in fact. Though the big secret was revealed by the end of “Addiction”, I sense many more mysteries lie in wait. I think I’m as addicted to Adam Tichy as Mila is—I’ll be anxiously awaiting my next fix.