Review: Reverb by J. Cafesin

18 Aug

This review is full of spoilers! If you don’t like them, do not read this review.

Reverb by J. Cafesin
Zumaya Embraces (Oct. 7, 2010)
Trade size: $15.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781934841860

Favorite Lines: “There are no white knights, Kate. You don’t need one. Get back to your life and make it what you want.” (p. 56)

James Whren is brilliant, beautiful and taken–with himself, or more precisely his genius for creating music. The object of desire for many, James’s greatest passion is for his muse.

On the eve of his brother’s funeral, his father turns his life upside down, and James is left abandoned in hell with no one real to save him.

His odyssey to freedom takes him beyond the looking glass, to the view from friends and lovers, shattering his already battered self-image.

Humbled, afraid and alone, James escapes to the Greek island of Corfu. But instead of solace, loneliness almost consumes him.

Until Elisabeth, and her son Cameron.

Reverb is a love story, a psychological thriller paced with romantic suspense, and chronicles the evolution of a modern man, from solipsist to integrated awareness. It is a tale of redemption, of one man’s bizarre journey through extraordinary emotional growth, awakening his capacity to love.

Reverb satisfies women’s deepest desire– for men to be more emotionally available, and more connected outside of themselves.

Reverb is a troubling book. Why? It’s a heavy book in which multiple rapes affect everything. I guess that’s where the title kinda comes in as reverb is “an effect whereby the sound produced by an amplifier or an amplified musical instrument is made to reverberate slightly.” It’s not the usual heroine rape, though.

The story is intriguing. A man is institutionalized against his will, raped, escapes and must find out how to live again while on the run. The author shows  the long journey to self-worth that James is forced to travel and it is a painful trip. It didn’t happen overnight and even by the end of the book, James wasn’t a happy, carefree man. He was a man who made a life after losing everything. He found a woman who supported him and tried to be the best man he could be. The book wasn’t for me though and I’ll tell you why.

James (the hero) is obviously an extremely damaged man. He tries to keep people at arm’s length, but when he finally lets his heroine in she tries to show him another side to the atrocities he was forced to endure. She has some valid points, such as he needs to confront his father and see if his father knew how James was being tortured. But she lost me when James expressed his feelings about being returned to the facility. She tells him:

“Shut up! I don’t want to hear anymore. How important could Cameron and I possibly be to you if you’re so keen on killing yourself when faced with a little adversity?”

“A little adversity?” He flashed her a look like hatred then turned back to the road.

“You know what I mean. I need you to listen to me very carefully now.” She hoped he could hear her through his anger.

The hero handles it, but with those sentences the heroine lost my support. If I can’t believe in the power of a heroine’s (or hero’s) love, the book does not work as a romance for me. I don’t believe the two can live happily ever after, and for me that makes or breaks a romance novel. However, this book isn’t a romance. It is a general work of fiction that really disturbed me

I felt like there was an ongoing  theme of characters chastising the hero. Even the hero’s father and his father’s assistant shook their proverbial fingers at the hero. I was pissed. It felt like the characters were trying to justify placing James in a facility, while pleading ignorance of how he was treated. Kinda like, “Well, I (he) did the what I (he) thought was best for the right reasons, but something bad happened. That’s not my (his) fault.” It made me furious.

The impertinent child still glared at him. How was he to get through to this man? “He took you into his home, his life, and provided you with a stable, supportive environment that encouraged and funded your talent without limits. And you walked away. You shame me as a man and a mentor. I thought you knew better than that.”

Really? After the hero has been raped by men and women, and you now know of his torture, you’re trying to get through to him that his father wanted to take care of him. Really? A grown man? We’re not talking about a teenager. We are talking about a man who is around 30-years-old. From the beginning to the end, people want to fix him, to pull him away from his music simply because he’s a musical prodigy who lives and breathes music. They want him to take a larger interest in the world. Well look at how that world treated him.

In the end, Reverb is just not my type of book. It left me disturbed and filled with negative energy.

Night Owl Reviews
Sia McKye on GoodReads
All positive reviews on Amazon


2 Responses to “Review: Reverb by J. Cafesin”

  1. Bookworm August 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Hey there:)

    I totally got your point of view!

    I understand your frustration with the people that surrounded him. I however had a different feeling for this story. My heart went to all involved with his life. I didn’t get the feeling that they wanted to ‘fix’ him, as much as I felt their frustration with not being able to get through to him. You must admit, James was difficult, abrasive and early on, he decided to ‘tune’ them out. All of them. He just didn’t feel he could let them in, so he chose to let them think he’s ‘out there’ with his music and he in a way was.

    I appreciate your opinion and POV, but did you like the writing of this story? I get that the story is ‘out of your comfort zone’ as you will, and I have to admit it was out of mine also. At the end I liked this authors style, her plot was too real and all of the characters were three dimensional. This would have made such a great movie! Romance was not predominant, but still present and the slow pace of it appealed to me. Her heroine was just too human as well and that’s what I liked about her. She reacted as a real person would, not as a ‘heroine’ in a romance would. Everyone was flawed, and there were no ‘clichés’ here. I thought it too raw; too close to reality….You can check my review of it at my blog here:

    BTW: I like your blog:)


  2. scooper August 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Thanks Melanie. Generally when I enjoy a story it’s because I found a way to connect with a character within the book. Whether it be a historical romance set in Scotland or an urban fantasy set in Atlanta, I’ve found some emotion that bonds me to a character. That didn’t happen in Reverb. I didn’t want to linger in James’s world. I wanted out ASAP. It was a dark, painful world, and that’s not what I enjoy reading. I want a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to hope that the characters brought to life on the pages can have a shot at happily ever after.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t watch a movie about Reverb. I place it firmly in the category with another movie I started to watch but did not finish: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. People love it and write rave reviews of the book and movie. Because the subject matter is not one I care to know more about I don’t see the technical genius or other things. I see a world of which I want no part. (I don’t watch horror movies either.:) )

    I read your review on Amazon and I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I found nothing but well-written and glowing reviews of Reverb. I am in the obvious minority.

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