Title: Rebel (415 Ink #1)
Author: Rhys Ford and Tristan James (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 12th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary / Romance
Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something — it’s standing up for himself.
Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After years of running from his past, present and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, Karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on; a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating break-up three years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold onto. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.
With this, the second time through the book, I have listened to the audiobook. On the first reading, I struggled to make sense of the early chapters in the book due to the introduction of a number of characters each of which has their own point of view and internal monologue. Now I found it easier to understand who was who, this may in part be due to the narration, but more likely it is with familiarity. The author’s strong characterization and contextualization are enhanced a little through the narration. The narrator has a comfortable rolling tone that is easily understandable through clear enunciation. However, whilst there is limited differentiation in voices, there is no real sense of tension in the narration.
The central characters are obviously the most fleshed out and their relationship forms the heart of the story. It is clear that they are passionate about one another but circumstances conspire to place obstacles in the way. There is personal growth built into this relationship but this could have been handled in more depth. The passion when it occurs is well handled, however, it is at points of personal revelation that the relationship is at its most poignant.
The pace and emphasis are steady regardless of the nature of the scene and this weakened the tension and passion provided in the written word. As ever, the author tells a good story and there is an interesting richness to the histories of central characters and how they are brought together.
As one would expect, each of the threads to the story is resolved at the end. There are clear teasers towards the end that suggest further stories are to follow in the series. This was a good read overall but not the author’s best in my opinion. Given that the context is now set I would hope that subsequent books would be more rewarding.