Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Have you ever read a writer who stylistically is so interesting? Their intentionality to their stylistic choices marks them in your mind with each of their stories. For me, one of those authors is Saffron A. Kent. And here’s the thing…I don’t think many of her readers get that about her.
What do they see?
- An author who writes indulgent New Adult romance. What that means is there is angst and dirty $ex in abundance in her stories.
- A hero and heroine who inspire the type of feelings you love from New Adult romance: some pettiness, some unfiltered feelings, some insecurity. All of these seem like tenants of NA romance, and she infuses these easily into her stories.
- Stories that seem enchanting. They might not deviate too far from the traditional NA romances – usually, it’s forbidden for any of the many tropes available. But SAK’s readers love the almost taboo nature of her stories.
But what do I see and adore? What keeps me coming back for more? What makes me ravenous for her stories?
- There is an intentionality in her style that I don’t think people get. She uses these simple sentences to bring a cadence to her stories. That cadence tends to mimic a “stream of consciousness” feel in her storytelling. It suggests unbridled access to the thinking and feelings of her characters. It’s become a convention of Saffron A. Kent’s stories, and her newest story, A Gorgeous Villain, does this brilliantly.
- Her limited point of view drives anticipation. SAK loves to hide her heroes from her readers. She gives us small portions of them until they are revealed in full force. This creates a rabid devotion to them because you get so little of them or you earn them through the perspectives of her heroines that you find yourself wondering what they really feel. How can they really make that inciting comment to her heroine? In A Gorgeous Villain, SAK doles out Reed aka “Roman” in small doses. She also did this with the first book of the series, My Darling Arrow. You gorge on the story to get to the POVs of the hero because you need some reconciliation, some meaning behind Reed’s actions. The intentionality of this choice makes you binge-read a story such as A Gorgeous Villain.
- SAK has a type. When I was working on my master’s thesis, I envisioned a new hero for modern literature specific to gender. Like me, Saffron A. Kent creates the same heroic type in her stories: broken, misunderstood, possessive, and physically gorgeous. If you look at her reviews, and you review the negative ones, you’ll find people who complain about the repetition of this. But again, it’s intentional for her. It’s a precept of her romance. If they read close enough, they will find the differences. With Arrow, we are treated to the devastation of perfection. And with Reed, we recognize familial abuse and its devastation on Reed’s developing character. Her readers who adore her recognize this in her heroes, and we fall deeply in love with them. My heart hurt for Callie and Reed equally. Most specifically, Reed has grown up in a world where love doesn’t exist without him doling it out in actions. To love without being loved stunts a person. Only the action being loved can save them.
- Her heroines are matched for her heroes. They deliver them from themselves, sometimes to their own detriment. Callie is selfless in her love and adoration of Reed. This creates an emotional journey that tips back and forth as the story progresses. SAK puts her readers through the paces with this story because it wouldn’t be a SAK story without the emotional ups and downs of it. Again, some would call it repetitive, but it feels necessary as the journey is drawn. Reed has spent so much of his life living in fear of his father that it feels natural for him to resist growing into love. Thankfully, Saffron A. Kent allows us to take the journey with Callie and Reed.
It took me a couple of days to write this review because there are so many words I have for A Gorgeous Villain: angsty, ebullient, dirty, ephemeral, and sweet. Each turn of the page culls more and more feelings from you. I found myself holding my breath, tearing up, and wanting to throw my Kindle at the wall through Callie and Reed’s journey. But…that’s what I love, and once again, Saffron A. Kent has shown me why I adore her stories.
In love and romance,