Book Review: Painted Spider

|+| Warnings: Multiple suicide attempts, sexual content, violence/mild gore throughout |+|

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Author: Katheryn A. Williamson

Genre: Science Fiction; Romance (adult)

Summary: Smart. Beautiful. Sexy. Deadly.

One scratch and the murderous venom in her fingernails will kill. Painfully…hideously. A perfect weapon for someone with power…and the knowledge to know when to use it.

Nika Hollister is an alien. Abandoned on Earth as an infant, she desperately searches for her family and a way home. Protected by two men from NALE, a secret government agency which raised her, she battles an evil man wanting her powers for his own corrupt use. Lead by strange, horrific clues that leaves the trio of agents frightened and confused, they blindly stumble into a trap. Only Nika’s alien powers can save them and ultimately save the world from the sinister madman who wants to make it his own. Will they prevail? Only time will tell.

My Opinion: Well…that was a thing. It had some good parts and some bad parts but mostly “what the heck parts” that never really meshed together to me. By the end of the book I wasn’t really sure what I read. I felt like I read three different stories that weren’t actually related yet the author was trying to push them all together. The writing style didn’t blow me away either. It was an interesting read for sure, and I’m glad I gave it a go, but still I can’t get myself to give it more than 2.5 stars.

I think the hardest part for me was the fact I couldn’t get behind Nika or her love interest. Although we’re told they’ve met 10 years before the book starts and had major crushes on each other, when they meet again it reads just like insta-love. I felt like there was no character development. Which is strange as Nika is constantly lamenting how much Cliff has changed, and Cliff keeps commenting the same of Nika. This is where you just kind of have to go with the book and assume it’s true because over the course of the book, there’s no character changes in these two. It’s a very hot and cold relationship where they keep wanting to have sex and love each other, and then they spend the next page yelling at one another. It just felt strange, and while I personally see it as an attempt to show character development, that’s just not how it worked.

I also was super confused with the religion aspect. Now I am all for respectfully writing about religions of all kinds in books. It’s how we learn about each other and I love it. But I’m not sure what the author was trying to do with the religion aspect here. There are multiple facets, one is the cult which was obviously a group of bad guys. Then after a life altering event, one of the characters becomes a Christian. And suddenly Christianity becomes a huge element in the book for characters that have shown disdain towards it previously. If this book had started off with some religious elements and evenly built up to that change, I would have been 100% behind it. Instead it was one of the many elements that came out of the blue with little to no build up.

I feel like I could go on for ages about what didn’t work for me with this book; from the lack of diversity, to the insta-love that apparently wasn’t, and the multiple plot lines that felt like they were forced together when they really could have been expanded on in separate yet equally entertaining books. So I’ll move on to the stuff I liked.

This book was weird and I liked that. I liked how there were multiple sequences of dream like events that you never really knew if they were dreams or not. Those were creepy and highly entertaining. I liked the unique powers that Nika and a few others had. I’ve seen a lot but never acid coming from the fingernails. Also this element was introduced pretty quickly so there wasn’t a huge wait on that. The action was well done for the most part too. At times even when I re-read the page(s) the action made no sense but for the most part the action was well done and evenly spread out.

TL;DR: This book just wasn’t for me. There was no diversity, a large dose of insta-love, and a series of plots that really would have worked better as their own separate books in my opinion. Overall I liked the idea, but because I couldn’t get behind the majority of the characters, this book fell flat for me. It was an interesting read at the very least so I’m not sorry I read it, it’s just not the kind of book I was looking for.



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