When I picked up this book, I was looking for a raw, gritty, and dark read. Although ‘One Hundred & Thirty-Six Scars’ did have some dark content, it was primarily in the characters’ pasts. While that was certainly a big part of who they were, as a whole, this book wasn’t as dark as I’d hoped for.
Beast was raised by a secret organization called “The Army”. He never knew tenderness or kindness. He was trained to be an assassin from an early age and everything in his life revolved around his training and the next mission.
Despite never having experienced life on the outside, Beast somehow knows that it is better outside of the confines of the compound. He spends his youth trying to escape, bearing the scars as proof of his many attempts to free himself. Despite the brutal punishments, he never quits trying.
One day, he is successful. Along with his best friend, Hella, he manages to escape. The two go into hiding, with the help of a girl that Hella once knew from his childhood in foster care.
When Beast is recognized, it sets off a chain of events that will change his future. He meets the father that he never knew existed and is given the answers he’s always wanted about how he came to be in The Army. Immediately, he is taken in by the father that didn’t know he was alive.
Taking an apartment in a bad neighborhood while he tries to figure out his next steps, Beast is overcome by an urge to protect the girl next door. He hears her cries at night, until one day he has heard enough. He busts into the apartment next door and puts an end to the girl’s suffering.
When Beast saved Meadow, she was overwhelmed with gratitude for the huge stranger. Molested by her father from the age of four, she had finally decided to end her life. One last time and he would never hurt her again…and then, Beast saved her.
After barging in and saving the day, Meadow doesn’t hear from Beast. The two go their separate ways. Then, years later their paths cross again.
This time around, their attraction is instantaneous. From that point forward, things fell together rather easily for these two. In fact, it was too easy. There were none of the highs and lows that you’d expect. I needed a little more angst to hold my interest.
Overall, this story ended up being pretty good, but not great. The writing needed some work, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve read by a long shot. Contradictory, nonsensical phrases like “gently but roughly” and “shallow deep breaths” seemed to be a calling card for this author and left me scratching my head. There seemed to be a lack of attention to detail in the editing of this book, but I’ve read far worse.
That being said, it was still a pretty good book. Even though I wasn’t overly impressed with this first book, it did leave me very curious about the supporting characters. The author did a great job of paving the way for their stories and making me want to read their stories, even as I was nonplussed with the story I was reading. That takes some talent. I will be continuing the series. I only hope that the writing will improve as the series progresses.
From the point that the main characters re-enter each others’ lives as adults, it was pretty smooth sailing. In fact, I was taken aback at how quickly the two fell in love and how little drama there was surrounding their relationship. It was almost “too perfect”. In that way, it was surprising, but also just too easy to swallow.