I love M.J. Arlidge, I love Helen Grace and I was very excited to read Love Me Not. I did enjoy it and it is undoubtedly a thrilling read but I am sorry to say I did not enjoy it as much as the last couple of books in the series. It is still a good story, but it felt like something was lacking.
First the pros:
Helen is getting back on her feet after the events of the last two book and is back where she belongs.
The plot is good; it is tense and exciting and there are plenty of twists and turns and lots of action.
I really like the structure, the short chapters and the multiple viewpoints, and the way it takes place pretty much over one whole day.
It is a very easy read; it’s lean, with no padding or filler or faffing about (although sometimes a bit of finesse is nice!)
To be honest, up to a certain point, it felt a bit like M.J. was phoning it in: do you want a lot of Helen feeling at one with the world on her powerful motorbike -we’ve got you covered; Or in angst-ridden internal and external conflict – yep; Is Emilia being a sneaky bitch – frequently; Is Helen the only person who can single-handedly save a situation – you betcha…
Similarly, the text was a little repetitive – at one point the word “adversary” is used five times in as many sentences, which is poor, and there were a lot of people “suddenly” doing, feeling or sensing things throughout the book.
Unfortunately the baddies felt a bit like caricatures, given the existence already of stories like Natural Born Killers, True Romance, even Bonnie and Clyde.
Although there’s no wasted time in the book – it takes a little over three hours to read – that does make it a little shallow: the DCs are all two-dimensional and interchangeable and there’s no fleshing out of the characters for new readers (although admittedly you’d be unlikely to only pick up Book 7 in a series).
It sounds like I am really knocking this book and I don’t mean to; it is still an enjoyable read but I hold M.J. Arlidge to his own very high standards (i.e. Books 1-6) and felt that this could have been even better. I am of course grateful to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the opportunity to read the ARC of Love Me Not. Rating: 3.5/5 stars.