Series : Thoughtless
Volume : #1 of 4
Year Published : 2009
Genre : New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Taboo, (Mild?) Erotica
Formats : eBook, Paperback, Audiobook
# of Pages : 530 pgs
For almost two years now, Kiera’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together, Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university, everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart.
Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source—a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he’s purely a friend that she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes… and none of them will ever be the same.
**WARNING** This is a rant review. I don’t usually do these. This review will probably be filled with harsh criticisms. I try to approach this sort of thing with a little humor or lightheartedness, but if this warning is preceding a book called “Thoughtless” then I’m sorry, it was impossible. You’ve been warned.
There are three guilty pleasures I have when it comes to fiction (romantic or otherwise) that drew me to this one-
1. Forbidden love.
2. Antiheroes, or otherwise complicated and unconventional protagonists.
3. Keen focus on fewer characters, with deeper development and interactions for the few.
Thoughtless has all three! So I went in, ready to be openminded and up for the challenge of getting to know these characters and trying to understand their situation and points of view. This is an unconventional, angsty romance about cheating and how it effects the three people involved.
Lets start with Kiera.
She has zero redeeming qualities and is the single worst main character I’ve ever come across in a book. She is bad.. but in a whiny and trying-to-seem-ignorant sort of way. I like my evil characters to be either upfront yet complex or too deranged to process their actions appropriately (Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes comes to mind) not crying all the time while still doing the most slimy and deceitful things. Goodness gracious the crying. It never ended.
But crying by itself is fine (or can be fine.) This woman is toxic to all around her. It’s almost hilarious how impossibly unlikable she is. I’ve read some deeply flawed characters before and enjoyed the challenge of trying to see from their point of view but.. something is uniquely grating about Kiera.
It’s made worse by how she is treated like a victim by all those around her, coddled and enabled and her flaws hand-waved away because she is just naive and young and not smart.
I would like to think that a character can be all three of those things to a blaring extreme and still be worthwhile. But Kiera’s problem runs deeper. There is no explanatory back story for her, no thoughtful introspection, no complexity to her psychology throughout this large number of pages. I know this is a new adult romance, but considering its subject matter any vague attempt might have helped. I have seen romances, YA books; heck, fanfics written by pre-teens that contained more depth of characterization. Kiera’s depiction- and this depiction of cheating- is shallow and superficial to the core.
Kellan, the guy Kiera cheats with, fares a bit better in my opinion. He’s not a great person but he at least has a motive. Jealousy, and two other things that are kind of spoilery to mention. The three factors go a long way in expressing what led him down this path. I actually had a lingering interest in Kellan as a character and wanted to know more about what appears to be a tragic past. I am almost morbidly curious to read the version of this book that is from his point of view. But Kellan deserved a different scenario, a different love interest, and a caring therapist.
As for the guy who gets cheated on- Denny- he’s not an alluring character. He can also be stupid and makes some really stupid decisions early on. But he never deserved to be treated as he was here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more giving character be treated so poorly over such a long expanse of time by two MAIN characters. It’s appalling to watch.
Some good things- I like the idea of a band and getting to know the members. It would be cool to read a series like that where each member has their own book or equally worthwhile plotline.
Some of the later romantic moments and angst has the potential to be entertaining, or would have if I didn’t feel like garbage while trying to enjoy them. I can totally see how some of Kellan’s dialogue is attractive but I just can’t do it. The pairing here are just bad people.
Now, about why I finished it instead of DNF’ing.
I have never hated a character more than I hated Kiera. There was something intriguing about that. I’ve watched documentaries about some of the most abhorrent people and normally feel curious about what led them to points of no return. I like to strive to be open and empathic toward varying and challenging points of view. Maybe my perceptions would alter as she is further developed as a character? Maybe she would evolve in even some little way, as a character should after 500+ pages? The answer was no.
However, the very end of the book is plotted in an intense way. I was eager to see what was going to happen when/if every character’s secret was out in the open. Characters having secrets, and the reader waiting for the bombshell to be dropped is kind of my weakness in fiction. The trainwreck was getting pretty entertaining at that point. And the book is at least fun to talk about. But I’m not sure if hate-reading is going to be my thing ever again.
This is going to sound crazy, but I am actually open to more of S.C. Stephens series if I can know for sure they’re devoid of these themes. Some of the romance has potential if so many other things were different. Also, a book from Denny’s perspective and finding someone new could be really interesting.
Overall Rating – 2/10
Why You Should Try It – If you can stomach the most abominable and TSTL heroine of all time. Based on the opinions of friends and reviews I’ve read, many people seem to find Kellan irresistible and worth it.
Critique – The main pairing are too irredeemably bad in a way that is down-to-earth and casually cruel. The main character is atrocious. Many rage-inducing things happen. There is no nuance nor any intelligent attempt at tackling this risky subject matter.Thoughtless (Amazon Link, Read A Sample Here.)
Many thanks to all who read my review! I appreciate all of your likes and comments very much.