Thursday, July 23, 2015

At First Sight by Patrice Wilton

Title: At First Sight
Author: Patrice Wilton
Format I Read: Kindle
Pages: 344
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Stars: 2
Goodreads Link

If I’m completely honest, this book felt like a cheap knockoff of Safe Haven, the book by Nicholas Sparks and the movie with Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. It was an underdeveloped, fast-paced, unrealistic, and unbelievable attempt to recreate virtually the same plot. I hate to say it, but I found this novel utterly disappointing and am only giving it 2 stars—which is being generous.

For those who are unfamiliar with At First Sight:

War veteran Brent Harrington, a helicopter pilot who lost his sight when he was shot down in Afghanistan, is now back home in the US and struggling to come to terms with the fact that his sight may never return. Natalie Connors, a beautiful young woman fleeing an abusive relationship and looking for a fresh start, is hired by Brent’s best buddy, another war veteran, as a home health care aide to help Brent adapt to his newly darkened world. Thrown together by fate, they take the first tentative steps toward love…

But when Natalie’s vicious ex tracks her down, can the passion and tenderness she and Brent share protect her?

At First Sight is a highly emotional story about two damaged people and the healing they must go through before they can commit and find their happily-ever-after.

First, the writing. The writing was completely bland. It felt childish. The dog spoke. It spoke. Instead of just saying “Sam barked,” Wilton actually wrote “Woof woof.” In quotation marks. I felt like I was reading a children’s book! It just seemed so silly. I couldn’t get into the writing style at all.

Second, the characters. The characters made no sense. They had no depth. Brent went back and forth so many times that I got whiplash. He wasn’t even remotely believable. I understand the struggle he was going through and I understand how frustrated he must feel. But his emotions and his actions made no sense. As with Natalie! She gave me whiplash, too, with how many times she switched between, “I want to stay, I love him,” and “I need to grow, I can’t stay.” God, make a decision already! And the minor characters were no better. They were completely flat and boring.

Third, the plot. It was all just so messy. Both the “suspense” plotline with Carl and the romantic plotline with Brent were disappointing. The big confrontation with Carl was a complete flop. It didn’t live up to the buildup at all. The romantic plotline, like I said earlier, was just too wishy-washy. The characters went back and forth every second. The romance also just had no development. One second, Natalie was blunt and closed off. Next second, she was making out with him. One second, Brent resented Natalie’s presence. Next second, he was risking his life by crossing the street alone just to get her her morning coffee. It was unbelievable.

I did like some things. I really liked how Brent had a psychosomatic disorder. It was cool that Wilton touched on that because I feel like it’s very unknown. It also has such a stigma on it, just like mental illnesses: the whole “why don’t you just get better if it’s all in your head?” It was interesting to see that come in play. I also liked that Natalie was focusing on herself and her self-confidence and development. That was encouraging. If only she stuck to it and didn’t want to back out for a boy every other minute!

Though this book had a lot of potential, it didn’t live up to my expectations at all. For those who like fast-paced romances with a cheap suspense subplot, go for it. It should be a nice, mindless summer read for those who are looking for something to snack on at the beach. But this definitely isn’t a wow book that you’ll devour.