ARC Review | Black Iris by Leah Raeder

» 23 April, 2015 » Book Reviews » 2 comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
ARC Review | Black Iris by Leah RaederBlack Iris by Leah Raeder
Series: Standalone
Published by Atria Books
Release date : April 28th, 2015
Genres: LGBT, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Source: The Publisher | Format: eARC
Add to: Goodreads

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.

Also in this series: The River Leith

I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When I first came across Black Iris – my first thought was THIS IS TOTALLY A “ME” BOOK. Not only because I loved Leah’s debut novel, Unteachable, but because I have a thing for dark, unapologetic novels. The added flare of a F/F relationship and revenge plot had me beyond excited.

Now. There are many, many things about Black Iris that I enjoyed. But I just couldn’t love this one. The same things that I enjoyed – irritated the shit of me. It’s confusing as hell. Hopefully, my muddled thoughts are coherent enough for me to explain.

What I liked

The characters. Every single character is flawed, dangerous and totally fucked up. And I loved it. I have so much respect for people (and characters) that own who they are and don’t apologize for it. They live their live how they want to – right or wrong. And there was a lot of wrong.

The plot was intense and there were more than one plot twist thrown in that had me reeling. There were several times I thought I knew where things were going, only to be completely wrong once everything has been laid out.

The writing. Leah has a very poetic voice and normally, purple prose gives me hives – but in Black Iris, it didn’t bother me as much. Yes, the many metaphors were grating after a while, but I went with it. The way this book was written was quite interesting too, alternating between different times and events throughout a year or so; slowly giving us the details that lead up to where Laney is and why she is doing what she is doing. At first, I didn’t like it because the pacing was awfully slow and it took awhile for things to really get going. But once everything came to light? It was just brilliant. Over the top and NOT LIKELY but, brilliant none the less. I also loved how Laney’s sexuality was explored. She is not gay, she is not bi – she just is.

My hang ups

So like I said – the things I enjoyed were also irritating. And there isn’t one single thing that kept me from loving this –  I honestly think it’s a combination of things. The way Laney’s character was written was suggesting that what she did was OKAY, because of what was done to her. 99% of the shit she did was NOT okay – and most would agree. Yes, I respect that she IS unapologetic and I even applaud that Leah wrote such a dark character but at the same time, I just can’t get over the shit she did. It was extreme – and yes, she was treated horribly and didn’t have the best of life at first, but that does not make anything she did OKAY.

I also can’t really put my finger on the POINT of the novel, other than to express the pains, trials and psycho things people will do to get revenge. Maybe I missing something? I just don’t get it. Maybe there isn’t even a point at all – and I am over thinking it.

I also thought the subliminal messages about “typical romances” were beyond irritating. I get it – this isn’t a typical romance novel. I agree with all of them – but after like, the 5th one, I couldn’t keep from rolling my eyes.

So see, my thoughts are confusing and are contradicting. *shrug*

While I enjoyed Black Iris, it’s not for everyone. It’s dark, balls to the wall intense, sexy and a complete mind fuck. If you are anything at all like me, and you crave this type of book, then go for it.



Tonya is a 30 y/o mom, wife, avid reader, coffee junkie, junk food addicted workaholic and blogger.

2 responses to “ARC Review | Black Iris by Leah Raeder

  1. Jen @ YA Romantics

    It was really helpful for me to read your thoughts on this book. I read about 1/3 of it and had to put it down. I loved this author’s writing style in Unteachable, but this book was just so dark that I’m going to try to pick it up again when I’m in a different mood. I felt like Laney was in such a dark place that I just couldn’t be there with her.

  2. Red Iza

    I completely understand how you can enjoy something that irritates you that much, it happened to me before, it makes you feel. However, I’m rather tired of reading about people who do things that are not ok because of their feelings or of their past and hurt. So it’s probably not for me, but I’m glad it brought up such conflicted feelings in you, it proves it’s good writing anyway 🙂

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