Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

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Redefine normal. None of us know the full measure of our power until we start pushing our boundaries and pressing our luck, and the more we do, the less we care what others think. The freedom feels too good.

Let’s just start off this review by saying that this book is one you’ll either love or hate. It’s got mixed reviews on Amazon and I guess it depends on what you like reading. I really enjoyed it, so much so that I gave it 4+ stars but I know people who’ve only rated it 1 star. The plotline is based around revenge, there’s hazing, there’s arson and scaring people. It’s dark and edgy, but for me it worked. There’s a violent edge to the novel and I enjoyed it, but others found it too much or just plain dull. I’m giving it 4+ stars because some of the pranks go a little too far, and the same goes for some of the scare tactics – but that’s just according to my taste.

The book swaps between the past and present, as well as swapping point of view from Rika to Michael. Rika (Erika) has always had a bit of a thing for Michael, but their families have pushed her towards Michael’s little brother, imagining a merger of the two family businesses and fortunes. But Michael’s brother, Trevor is slimy and controlling. Rika decides after a year of dating that she doesn’t love him and she can’t be with him anymore. I really didn’t like his character, but I guess that’s the point.

When Rika was younger something happened and Michael now sees her as a betrayer, and with his three friends wants to destroy her life and make her beg for forgiveness. Which he doesn’t intend to give. The four of them are known as The Four Horsemen, the town’s favourite and beloved sons. They take part in pranks every year and because they’re privileged and entitled they get away with it, until one year.

They think Rika is behind their downfall and want to punish her. They take her money, hide her mother, destroy her home and force her to live in Michael’s building, where they can keep an eye on her. He sexually winds her up, knowing she wants him (and the sex scenes in this are so very, very hot. Steamy doesn’t quite cover it). They try to make her life hell, in a nutshell. This is what some reviewers don’t like, believing that it goes too far. But what they don’t seem to quite grasp is that although Rika is afraid, she also thrives on that fear.

Rika’s always been a perfect girl, suffocated by her family and the expectations on her. But with Michael she can be anyone she wants. She gets off on the fear. She even says it herself, ‘I’d always been scared of him. The thrilling kind of scared that got me turned on.’ Through the book Rika keeps going back to how she likes being scared. It breaks through the bubble of perfectness that she lives in and makes her feel alive. There are times when one of the other Horsemen goes too far, and she feels real fear. But that’s part of the twisted game they’re playing and feeds into the story.

I really enjoyed this book and it was so very nearly a 5 star review from me. I’ve given it a complex rating because of the revenge aspects, and the extreme pranking. I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t afraid of reading something a bit darker, a bit twisted.

 

 

 

 

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