Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Black Iris by Leah Raeder
Release Date - April 28, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.
I adored Unteachable when it was released last year. I was beyond excited to read whatever Leah Raeder wrote next. What she delivered with Black Iris is a story that is unapologetically dark and twisted. Leah Raeder is making a name for herself in the New Adult genre with her lyrical writing, with her unflinching storytelling, and bold plot execution. A novel that embraces all it's darkest impulses and is all the more alluring for it.

This is a hard novel to review because so much of this story depends on not being spoiled. You need to go and experience the story as it unravels. You need to take the journey with the characters. You need to allow Leah Raeder to bring out all the emotional reactions in you with her writing. The way the story is woven and unravels is part of what makes it so compelling and to not experience the way it's intended would drastically change the experience of reading the novel.

The characters are blunt and razor sharp. There is no sugar coating, and no pretenses. One of the first things Laney tells you about herself jumped out at me as such a defining aspect of not just her, but all the characters in the novel.
“I am not the heroine of this story. And I'm not trying to be cute. It's the truth. I'm diagnosed borderline and seriously fucked-up. I hold grudges. I bottle my hate until it ferments into poison, and then I get high off the fumes. I'm completely dysfunctional and that's the way I like it, so don't expect a character arc where I finally find Redemption, Growth, and Change, or learn How to Forgive Myself and Others.” 
It's true that she's not the hero of this story, but neither is she the villain. She's both and neither at the same time. All of the characters are equally flawed, and human. They all make ill advised choices. What sets them apart is the amount of guilt (or lack thereof) that they carry around for their choices and actions. Laney is a character who allows herself to embrace every emotion be it lust, anger, vengeance, and everything in between. She (and a lot of the other characters) choose to act on what feels right, even if what feels right is oh so wrong.

A twisted, messed up book would not be complete without an equally dark romance. This is a twisted love triangle at it's most destructive. The jealousy, lust, and betrayal between them ignite and consume everything in their path. It devours. If these characters are broken, the way they love is even more so. It's sexy, and unstable, and reckless. These three characters circle each other like predator and prey in equal measure and it's hypnotic. There is a quote that sums up the romance in this novel eloquently 'I never wanted to be saved. I wanted someone to follow me down into the darkness'. It captures both Laney's mindset and the darker nature of lust that prevails throughout these pages as they each following willingly into their darker impulses.

Leah Raeder weaves a dark, seductive tale, one with characters whose hearts are as dark as story that haunts these pages. Fans of morally skewed characters will particularly like this unique New Adult read. I'll continue to devour whatever she writes, as long as she continues to push the boundaries of New Adult novels and explore different genres in process.


  1. Oh man, amazing review! I've been seeing mixed reviews for this book so I wasn't keen on picking it up, but you may have convinced me to do so.

    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG
    Most recent post: July TBR Pile

    1. It's not for everyone but I really, really enjoyed it. I hope you do too, Kim.


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