Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
I love nothing more in a romance than an anti-hero, that “heroic” character who is morally fraught yet adores and lives for his heroine beyond any measure. He’s dark and willing to do anything to protect that which or whom he loves.
Tijan’s newest book, Canary, offers up a deliciously dark hero in the form of Raize. From the beginning, his interest in Girl/Carrie/Ash/Canary is keen. His ability to stare into her soul, to see her in a way that doesn’t feel lecherous, is both titillating and terrifying. Raize is a killer, an incredibly serious and accomplished one. His body count (the literal kind for this story) is off the charts, and yet, Ash falls deeply for him. He becomes her protector, her lover, and her soul. He saves her from herself and others over and over again in Tijan’s Canary. And I couldn’t get enough of them even though this book is 102,000 words. Turning the pages of this book felt like watching a horror movie. You need them to survive the dark, gritty underworld of the mafia and cartels, and you never feel it’s safe for the characters. Even when Raize and Ash find their happy ending, for me, I hoped all the blessings for a happy future, but there is no true promise of it given their world.
Tijan’s Canary is truly gritty and dangerous and dark and violent. No one is safe in it, yet humanity peeks through on every page. With Tijan’s signature sparse prose and the careful constructions of the beats of this story, you feel anxiety, pain, trepidation, lu$t, and elation over and over again with this book. Canary is about penance; it’s about overcoming trauma in ways that don’t feel healthy but elemental.
If you’re a fan of dark romance, of worlds fraught with danger, then you will ADORE Tijan’s Canary. While Raize seems like the most powerful person in this story, the true hero, the true power, lies with Tijan’s Girl/Carrie/Ash/Canary, and this gritty world bows at her feet.
In love and romance,