Who’s a fan of Colleen Hoover? *raises both hands*
CoHo is such a talented writer! She has a way of tugging at my heartstrings and making her readers, myself included, fall in love with her characters. I don’t know what it is, but I always find myself sucked into her stories. The world could be exploding into smithereens and I wouldn’t notice because I’d be too engrossed in one of her novels.
I was, at first, hesitant to pick up Too Late by Colleen Hoover because I wasn’t sure if I’d be okay with reading really graphic scenes depicting abuse, rape, murder, and drug use. But damn, I am so glad that I went ahead and took the leap anyway. Here is the synopsis:
Sloan will go through hell and back for those she loves.
And she does, every single day.
After finding herself stuck in a relationship with the dangerous and morally corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to get by until she’s able to find a way out.
Nothing will get in her way.
Nothing except Carter.
Sloan is the best thing to ever happen to Asa. And if you ask Asa, he’d say he’s the best thing to ever happen to Sloan. Despite Sloan’s disapproval of Asa’s sinister lifestyle, he does exactly what he needs to do in order to stay a step ahead in his business. He also does exactly what he needs to do in order to stay a step ahead of Sloan.
Nothing will get in his way.
Nothing except Carter.
For those of you who have already read Too Late–
We need to talk. About Asa Jackson.
I know everyone despises him and hates him for the hell he put Sloan through, but he was a much better developed character than Sloan and Carter. He had substance. He was dynamic and interesting.
I could understand that Asa really did love Sloan, even if it was in the most twisted way possible. Sure, he was all f*cked up, but not without reason. His behaviour made sense when it was revealed that his father had basically ruined him, ruined him to pieces with his “advice” on women and whores. Of course, this in no way excuses what he did, though. But as a result, Asa ended up growing up with a very…complex way of viewing things. He was manipulative. Undeniably smart. Deceptively charming. He knew his way around people, and he knew how to please Sloan in more ways than one. Because of his sorry excuses for parents, Asa just wanted a love that would stay with him, and a love who, by his father’s definition, wasn’t a whore. For this, I sympathized with him. I felt a little sorry for the broken boy inside of him.
Reading from Asa’s point of view was both scary and surprising. Yes, he drops a lot of f-bombs and profanity. Yes, he constantly thinks about sex. He always took me by surprise with his scheming, especially the whole act with schizophrenia, as well as the FBI bust. If he weren’t so psychotic, I’d be tempted to say that he’s wicked brilliant.
Colleen Hoover is extremely talented for creating Asa’s multi-dimensional character. As a reader, I could see that Sloan brought out the best in him, almost like how Vanessa Mariana brought out a more human and vulnerable side to Wilson Fisk from Daredevil. But like I’ve already said, this definitely doesn’t excuse any of the terrible things he did–committing murder, engineering a drug ring, rape, cheating on Sloan, etc. One of the things I was most disgusted with was when he told Carter that the reason why he cheats constantly on Sloan is because he has to satisfy his sexual cravings as a male, and that females don’t operate the same way. So…wait? If Sloan cheats, she’s a whore, and if Asa cheats, he still gets to be Asa? No way in hell is that twisted logic going to be acceptable!
I have never felt more conflicted about a character in my life, ever.
As for Carter, he honestly felt like an archetypal shining knight in armor to me. Boring. Cue the yawns. I couldn’t really connect with his character. And even though Sloan had her moments of strength, I found it frustrating to read from her perspective because she was almost always crying. Like, girl, if you don’t like something, quit bawling in bed and do something about it! I think she only fell for Carter because he was the exact opposite of Asa, and he was who she needed at the time. But luckily, she grew on me as the book progressed. By the epilogue of the epilogue, she’d grown a spine of steel! To avoid spoiling the ending, I’m just going to say it was bloody f*cking brilliant. And it involves a trash can.
I have reservations about recommending this book because while I thought it was quite good in a dark and disturbing way, it might not be the right fit for younger readers and those who are more sensitive to graphic scenes.
My full review is here, on Goodreads.