Surviving Love by M.S. Brannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
SURVIVING LOVE is everything you’d expect out of Drake’s continuation—it’s heartbreaking, sad, emotional, and difficult. When I realized Drake was getting a second book, I was scared. I wanted to hide under my pillow and pretend it didn’t exist. The last thing I wanted to do was revisit all the emotions I experienced at the end of TRAGIC LOVE and I certainly didn’t want to experience the pain that was bound to accompany the aftermath. But I also wanted to read Jeremy’s story and I knew I’d be doing myself a disservice if I skipped a book in the series to get there!
Drake is every bit as broken and devastated as one would expect after losing Presley the way he did. He’s angry, bitter, and the only reason he gets up every morning is because Mia needs him. He won’t abandon Mia the way his mother abandoned him; so he works, he takes care of his daughter, he survives. But he doesn’t really live.
Zoe is a drifter. She never lays down roots because she refuses to let anyone else close enough to break her. When she randomly picks Sulfur Heights as her next stop on the map, she has no idea how hard it will be to keep herself unattached.
When Drake and Zoe meet it may be lust at first sight but it certainly is not love. Drake is so far from getting over Presley it’s not even funny and Zoe finds Drake attractive but also scary and intimidating. He exudes unbridled rage. Out of loyalty to Presley, Drake avoids Zoe at all costs until they realize they have someone in common who needs them both. Out of devotion to their mutual friend they form a tentative friendship but Drake can’t give Zoe any more for fear he’ll lose Presley forever. He hangs on to his grief and pain in an effort to keep Presley alive.
Ironically, M.S. Brannon mentioned in her acknowledgements that though she always planned to continue Drake’s story, she originally did not intend to write it in this format. It was actually reader requests that convinced her to continue Drake’s story now. I can certainly understand why readers would be dying for a happily ever after for Drake after TRAGIC LOVE’s devastating ending; however I wasn’t ready for Drake to have a love story at this time. I wouldn’t say I’m someone who enjoys a sad ending, however when it seems authentic and an author fully commits to it, I respect and commend them for choosing the more difficult road. In this case, I don’t think I was ready for Drake to move on and as a result I didn’t really believe his and Zoe’s love story. Zoe fell hard and fast and she seemed so balanced and insightful. I wondered how she gained such a worldly perspective when she’d lacked any stable example in her own life. I thought she would have struggled more with trusting Drake and sticking around for him when things got tough given her upbringing. And Drake—I just don’t know that he needed a happily ever after right now. Losing Presley the way he did was excruciating and tragic but finding Zoe so conveniently felt a little like a Band-Aid to me.
All that being said, the story was compelling, the characters were interesting, and I didn’t want to stop reading. So despite my complaints, I still feel like the Sulfur Heights series is a fantastic one and I’m excited to read Jeremy’s story next. The Sulfur Heights series is definitely one that should be read in order and in entirety; but if you like reading about love, tragedy and everything in between, then it’s worth the investment.
**Complimentary copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.
**Reviewed by preppea on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews.
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