It's hard to put my head in a place to properly review this book and do it justice. I have read quite a few of Lilliana's books, the first two in the Beautiful series, and some of her Confidante (which wasn't really my thing). I've also enjoyed the many snippets and excerpts of other books as I've seen her post on FB and on her blog. I find her writing style very easy to read, but still fresh and authentic.
I've been entranced at the idea of the new 'choose your ending' books that have just been released, that are promoted as choosing for Etta to either be with 'Damien' or with 'Aaron' and I applaud Lilliana for giving her readers these options. With all this in mind, I thought it best if I read Drawn first. It has been on my TBR shelf for a while, and I've read quite a few of the reviews which are a mixed bag.
It took me some time to get into Drawn. I found the pacing slow in the beginning and I didn't really connect with Etta or her family, or the loss of her brother, that was the driving force behind her wanting to move out of home. At 30% into the read, I have to admit I was struggling to care. And then Damien comes into the book properly, through training Etta in Akido, and it was the Akido scenes that caught my interest.
My favourite book of Lilliana's has been her first one, A Beautiful Struggle, and something that I enjoyed most in this was the heroine's athleticism. She was a triathlete, and I enjoyed all the scenes that involved exercise and training. Much the same, I started to warm up to Drawn through the section of the book relating to Akido, which Etta stopped practicing after her brother's death.
From that point on, I was hooked. I stayed up late last night, and finished the book this morning.
The emotion in this is incredible. Lilliana portrays it graphically, usually wound up in steamy, mind-blowing sexual scenes that rival some of the best I've read.
But it was the story underpinning all this sex that most fascinated me. Stalker Damien. Controlling Damien. How Etta wants to leave and knows she should, but can't and keeps returning to give him another chance. I haven't been involved with this kind of abuse in a relationship of my own, nor known of it in friends or family in real life, but I can imagine those relationships must start in some way similar to how the author describes in Drawn.
Small things that the perpetrator easily explains... moving to larger things (such as a blocked phone or changed SIM card and control of food, friendships, and social activities). As the 'abuse' goes on, the victim's own relativity blurs so that I think it becomes hard to see how a situation is escalating, once you're inside it. It's only by stepping outside the relationship that some clarity ensues.
All these things I got out of Drawn.
It is easy perhaps to dismiss this book as erotica, or an erotic thriller. It definitely is, but for me at least I found a deeper meaning here.
Well done Lilliana.