Hero - Leighton Del Mia
This is going to be more of an observation/analysis than a review, so be forewarned. In a way, I jumped into this book blind. I've heard good things about it, and the fact that the synopsis/blurb doesn't give away the book, I didn't know what exactly what to expect. And that's the way I like it. I am one of those who hates synopsis's because they either give things away, or because they are deceiving. I've read quite a few books with the captive/captor trope, but Hero was (sort of) pleasantly different. I'd use the word pleasantly loosely though. It's only pleasant because Hero is different than your typical captive/captor premise, and that was refreshing. There's something bigger out there, and the captor in this story {SPOILER} isn't the bad guy. Well, not in ways you'd expect, anyway. It's the type of story where lines blur: love and hate, hero and enemy, personal hell and sanctuary. That can make your mind boggle and make you question where your head is at. You can also learn a lot of things from this from all three sides. For that, Leighton wrote such a well-written and compelling story in Hero.

They always say, be careful what you wish for. And I've mentally told Cataline just the same. She got her Hero to save her, but not in ways she's dreamed of. In the beginning, living the mundane life in the city with a dead end desk job, she seemed mature for her age of 22. But throughout the book, she seemed to be going backwards. It's understandable, though, being a captive will do that to you. The captive is doomed to be submissive to the dominant of the captor by default. And I'm not talking about sexually, either, even though that too does apply. Even given the luxury of a nice living quarters, butlers and maids and chefs at your beck and call, designer clothes, I still felt bad for her. Because where she's given that, more important things were taken from her: freedom and innocence. There were times where she was tended to well, and other times where she was treated terribly. But experiences like that does damage, and in that, you grow from it. Experiences like that changes you emotionally and psychologically. So I understood why she reacted the way she did, and the effects and toll it took on her afterward. It becomes embedded in your psyche, and it doesn't go away right away, it resonates in you even if subconsciously.

I don't know what to make of the Hero, Calvin. He's a hero in every sense of the word (nickname for him included), and the antagonist in other ways. He feels an obligation to Cataline for a mistake he took blame for regarding Cataline's parents in the past. That obligation turns into an obsession. An obsession to protect her, which leads him to stalk her and take care of her without her knowing. Even in his POV, knowing what he is and is capable of, I didn't quite fully understand him, and I study psychology. I kind of had a field day in his POV to say the least. I always wondered what it was like to be inside of a mind like his, and when I finally got it, I was a bit disappointed and still confused that I still couldn't figure him out. At first, I pegged him as a sadistic sociopath. There was plenty of things that rubbed me the wrong way, but not as much as other books like Hero, or in a way as it should have. He humiliated her, violated her, stripped her of her innocence, sanity and freedom, punished her, hit her once... all of those inexcusable. He claims that he only did what he did to protect her, but the only way he protected her was her safety from the Cartel's clutches and throwing her in his destructive path instead. But there were undertones that I don't really pick up on others that showed that he sort of cared for Cataline in his own way. Even if he didn't understand himself. Hell, I don't even understand it myself. But isn't that how it is in the beginning? Like, you don't know what exactly it is that you're feeling, but you know it has to be something more and deep. It's not until the end, did I understand him a fraction. Only that much better than when the story started. I guess he'll always remain a mystery. He's a superhuman -- I won't say more than that, other than it reminding me of the tv show on CW Beauty & the Beast. That's one of his secrets that I predicted early on. This is like a Beauty & the Beast meets Batman meets other captive stories. Hero is the type of guy you hate to love and love to hate. Either way, you're going to feel one way or the other, if not both. Same applies to the sex scenes.

A lot of things were predictable, so I was hardly surprised by the secrets and twists and turns of things. There was only one time that caught me off guard -- don't worry, I won't spoil that for you. However predictable, it didn't deter me from wanting to see it to the end. See if any of the theories I conjured up happens in the book. I always wanted to see what happens next. I liked that there were parts where you think something has worked out, but find out that there's still a quarter of the book left, so you know that something else is going to happen. That kept you on the balls of your feet, the edge of your seat that way. You can't help but be drawn to wanting to find out what else can go down and how it all goes down, and where they will stand in the end.

With all the predictability and the strange Hero, it did not keep me from being engaged in the story. I grew to care about the characters and find hope for our heroine. Not once did I feel the need to DNF it for that reason, much to my surprise. Some of the events in here usually turned me off, but it didn't. (I don't know what that says about me). The other reason being, I wanted to see if there was actually some feelings being returned to Cataline. I would say redeemable, but he already does have redeeming qualities. He saves the city from crimes on the street to mundane things. He truly does care for the city and it's people. It became more than a duty, but a passion. Kind of like how it was with Cataline. The ending did feel incomplete to me, so I'm glad the author wrote a follow up novella continuing and finishing their story. There's still a road to healing and saving each other ahead of them.

Full review... http://www.papercharade.com/2014/03/review-hero-by-leighton-del-mia.html