USA TODAY bestselling author Alexa Riley’s first full-length novel shows just what happens when a strong, possessive man finds the woman of his dreams.
I’ll never forget the way she looked, so confident and sure of herself. I watched her from a distance. She wasn’t ready for me yet. I didn’t approach her and I didn’t disturb her, but I never once took my eyes off her.
Mallory Sullivan is ready to start her new life. After graduating at the top of her class, she’s landed one of the most coveted internships in the United States. Hard work and determination have gotten her to this moment of living the life she only dreamed of while growing up in foster care.
From the start, I knew that she would be my greatest achievement, so the day I let her go, I set down a path for her. A path to me.
She never expected Oz to be the greatest culmination of those dreams. But sometimes fate determines who you fall in love with. Who makes you lose control. Who owns your soul.
And then you realize it
I’ve wanted to care for and protect her since the first moment I saw her. I’ve constructed everything in our lives so that at the perfect moment, I could have her, could give her the life she deserves.
The time has come.
I’m going to start off and say I almost didn’t buy this book. With everything happening with Passengers (issues of consent, rape culture, etc), I was 99.99% sure I didn’t want to read a story whose description explicitly states from the male POV that “the day I let her go, I set down a path for her. A path to me.” BUT… the only reason I’d even heard about the book was a recommendation of an author friend… and my curiosity got the better of me.
This is clearly the better written, vanilla version of Fifty Shades of Grey because it has a rich businessman who is obsessed with a girl right out of college, wants her to be his intern, wants to make her his, and isn’t above stalking and controlling her in classic abusive style that should raise every red-flag, but somehow gets a rep for being romantic in a romance novel.
Maybe it’s because Trump is now President-Elect, or maybe I’ve just smashed my bullshit meter so bad in 2016 that I no longer tolerate the manipulation of women by men, the stealing of their autonomy now turns my stomach.
The first page brings up issues on its own, where the reader learns that Miles first sees Mallory when he’s 22, and she’s only 17. The age gap isn’t bad on its own if he was 32 and she was 27, but given he’s in college and she’s in HS, I kind of felt like he was robbing the cradle (though obviously not as badly as Edward Cullen did in the Twilight saga—the inspiration for FSoG—or any of the other human-vampire romances out there, like The Vampire Diaries).
He doesn’t give his real name to her, understandably (for the plot), but I didn’t like the deceit. I did like that he said “Oz,” given he had said that he felt like Dorothy entering the technicolor Oz once he saw her, and she keeps referring to him as “Oz, the man behind the curtain”—she doesn’t know how true that statement is. I will say that amidst all the issues, having that little joke (and the Captain America/Peggy Carter references) were nice to grab onto whenever they popped up.
There are obviously a few differences between E.L. James’ novel and Alexa Riley’s:
- There’s a revenge plot
- The female does work for the male lead (Ana turns down the internship in FSoG)
- It’s 1 book vs 3+the guy’s POV
But one other thing they share in common is the increasingly annoying inner female monologue which repeatedly acknowledges how messed up the guy is before falling even more in love with him.
He’s coming on strong. Part of me likes it. Another part of me is scared. Oz could probably steamroll right over me and my heart.
And, even more Ana-like:
This should worry me, but again, the stupid butterflies in my stomach have a mind of their own. This can’t be healthy.
Luckily, Everything For Her at least features an episode where Mallory is super pissed and Miles “Oz” and makes him work for it. The comparable scene in Ana and Christian’s story doesn’t really happen until Book 3, but that may be because they got 3 books and this one is a single volume.
Plot-wise, another thing that also docks points is the fact that the biggest excuse for Miles’ stalking is that it’s protecting Mallory… and I was expecting that to pay off in a big way in the end. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. It wasn’t awful in it of itself, but when a whole novel is banking on a super dangerous guy coming after the male lead’s love interest, and then the bad guy doesn’t so much as lift a finger to go after her… you have to wonder “what was the point?”
If you took out all of Miles’ controlling tendencies, there’d be no story, so I’ll say that if you removed his stalking, isolation technique of making Mallory always be accessible via phone, and Phantom-and-Christine-level obsession with Mallory, I think Miles is a sweet guy. But… I couldn’t get past how abusive he was so this book gets 1 star.