Adult Fiction, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance

Review: REND | RIVEN Series by Roan Parrish

RENDAfter a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

Roan Parrish’s pitch-perfect Riven novels can be read together or separately:

2 Stars

Romance | MM Romance | Contemporary | Adult Fiction

***Received an Advanced Readers Copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Hands down, Roan stole my heart with RIVEN, so imagine my surprise when I see REND in NetGalley begging for me to read? I mean honestly, after Caleb and Theo stole my heart, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get swallowed down into the love story of Caleb’s friend Rhys, Rhys of course was briefly introduced previously, hello rockstar – yummy.

Unfortunately though, as you can see clearly, I was perhaps not as pleased as I thought I would going in… let me explain before you bash my brains in! 

First off, I did really enjoy the characters for what it was worth, but where I liked them, their cons of their personalities, the romance and their overall development out weighed the pros too dramatically to ignore. Let me say though I did like a lot about Rhys and Matt. Rhys was actually delicious, he is what I would have expected him to be, he had a very drool worthy, alpha-male personality that was meant to be fawned over. But – and this is unfortunately a huge BUT… his caveman presence left several moments between the romance awkward. More to pinpoint my opinion it was the moments where he felt he needed to uphold dominance in the relationship, stating a basis of ownership over Matt that was constantly mentioned was just…. different. I am all for some Dom/Sub or dirty talk, but there is a definitely an unappealing way of doing it. During their sex scenes it was a constant talk of “you’re mine” or “you belong to me” tidbits that really irked me. It was a possessiveness that I just could not appreciate in the sense that I think Roan was trying to convey with this couple. I think it was meant to be represented as ‘love will conquer all’ theme, I personally just could not see that for what it was. 

Matt, on the other hand was a little bit more to my appeal at first. I liked his inferior personality, I know, shocker that never happens with me. But I say this because at first, seeing his struggles with self-esteem was rather powerful, it was beautiful in many senses. He was relatable from that point however, even then it becomes rather apparent this is what leads the entirety of the drama. Even with the big issue in their relationship rooting into the plot, it is more or less because Matt is struggling mentally and it took eighty percent of the book to finally deep dive into the root of not only the unhealthy dynamic of Rhys and Matt’s romance but Matt’s complete lack of being a responsible adult. 

And as you can see where this might be going, the romance between Rhys and Matt was rather back and forth because of this struggling mental issues with Mat verses the ‘savior of all’ personality Rhys hovered over Matt. It was an endless merry-go-round of drama that quite frankly left my brain pounding from the spinning it was doing. Another factor that was rather noticeable about this romance was that these characters were not only one-dimensional but had zero character development. Matt and Rhys were completely codependent on one another, regardless of the steam-filled (still at some points awkward) sex scenes. They had a chemistry, it was there, but again, just not in a healthy spectrum, at least in my opinion. 

Bottom line, I am a diehard fan of Roan Parrish – I will follow her into the depths of any corner to binge read her delicious creativity however REND left me unsatisfied. I do not know if I just could not get on board with the overall dynamic of the romance between Rhys and Matt or that the actual backbone of the drama was rather lack luster with such an overplayed build, even anti-climatic. Either way, something, somewhere along the lines REND was just not as I had hoped. It wasn’t her writing style either, Roan is on point (normally) with her books, but just – ugh I don’t even know where to go from this. Maybe it has something to do with being a followup to RIVEN, nothing can touch Calab and Theo at this point…their story was simply beautiful and this was unfortunately too much of a too little dynamic that left me cringing more than swooning. 

Here is hoping that REND delivers more on my obsession spectrum, especially after RIVEN, I need something to pick up the pieces of my despair from this second installment. Don’t let me down Roan! 

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