The story started out well enough, and while the whole kidnapping thing wasn't exactly realistic, it was certainly interesting enough to keep my attention. In fact, for a good while, I was completely into the book and convinced it was going to end up among my favorites. The mystery was intriguing, Farren was hot as all get out, and Essa was easy to relate to. And then it took a turn for… Well, it's like it turned into fanfiction.
To be clear, I usually like fanfiction. I don't read as much of it as I used to, but it's still my go-to place for free, fun reads. I've followed a handful of fanfic authors into their “real” publishing ventures as well, buying their books when I can't get free review copies. And with as much as I read, I've even accidentally picked up books that I didn't realize at the time were by former fanfic authors whose work I knew well. But Inevitable Detour took a fanfiction-y turn I don't like, and it's got me wondering if this is another case of my not realizing I'm reading the new work of an author I once knew in the fandom.
There's a tendency in fanfiction for the conspiracies to become so over-the-top, the hero to be invincible lone wolf, the sex to begin to cross into fetish or heavy erotica — I suppose when there are thousands of stories about the same characters, you've got to write something more different, more dramatic or whatever, in order to stand out. And that, unfortunately, is exactly the turn Inevitable Detour took. Farren went from mysterious but sweet to something more manipulative, too alpha, and just too much. His cockiness at first was a little annoying, but when Essa's inner voice began explaining how he was more or less grooming her to be the sexual partner he wanted, that irritation turned to dislike. Essa's inner monologue was a bit too immature for a college student as well, but she really started to lose me when her thoughts went from self-conscious to completely ignorant — Are my boobs too big? Should I not have waxed down there? Seriously? She's supposed to be inexperienced, not stupid. Wondering if he liked the way she looked would have been fine, but it's not like she'd been raised in a convent.
The initially interesting characters became difficult to even like, much less understand, and the whole conspiracy, organized crime aspect of things became so ridiculously convoluted that I found myself rolling my eyes more than wondering what might happen next. I should have bailed at the 62% mark, when an absolutely unnecessary mess of drama tangles itself into what's really just a kind of sexual assault for… Well, there was really no purpose for it at all in the story. And then, of course, the character seemed to get over it almost instantly, all that disgusting and mortifying detail practically forgotten immediately. Compounding that was when another character, having been rescued from sexual slavery, seems little more than under the weather after her horrific ordeal. The whole thing was handled rather inappropriately in that it was essentially brushed off, and at that point, I realized that no matter what happened next or how the story ended, there was no redeeming it for me.