3 December 2015

Unmasking Zach by Edie Danford

Hey everyone,

Why do I keep picking series up half-way through? I swear since getting a kindle five years ago I never read series in order anymore! Unmasking Zach is the second book in Edie Danford's Ellery College series and I discovered it on Netgalley. I mainly requested it due to the opposites attract nature of the storyline and I can never resist a New Adult m/m story!

The book:

The missing piece of the puzzle might be the one piece he can’t keep.

Before heading for grad school, Zach O’Malley needs downtime from his superhero-worthy schedule. Painting houses seems like the perfect summer gig for some mindless mellowing out.

There’s just one wrinkle in Zach’s Zen plan. Coworker Kirby Kurtcehajic, a hippie kid who starts hitting on him with happy and hardcore voracity three seconds after they meet. And has the ability to make his mind and body leap with a single smile.

Kirby would be the first to call himself a cockeyed optimist, but even he admits he’s had a tough year. After busting his knee, losing his cat, and accidentally demolishing his Vermont house, seducing way-too-serious Zach is the ideal distraction.

But when another spectacular mishap lands Kirby in crisis, Zach puts on his superhero cape to come to the rescue. And as boundaries dissolve, Kirby realizes he may be in too deep. Because the end of summer is coming, when Zach will be moving on, and Kirby will have to continue his quest for independence—alone.

My thoughts:

I was drawn to Unmasking Zach due how different the two heroes sounded on the blurb with Kirby being an hippie kid and Zach being an up-tight graduate student. Yet something about the characters didn't quite work for me. I struggled to understand the motivation behind Zach and Kirby's actions.  I understood why Kirby's difficult childhood would leave emotional scars and result in strange behavior and fears. I was a little less convinced about Zach's childhood trauma and his need to be the all powerful superhero who could save everyone. Whereas Kirby's childhood had forced him to rely on no-one but himself, Zach's childhood made him want to save everyone. In my opinion this is a deadly combination for a relationship.

A big reason I'd said yes was because I'd wanted to be close to Zach. I was more than a little in love with him. Despite all the big, fat, loud, glaring warning signals telling me he'd never be able to return my feelings, I'd let myself keep hoping

Considering the blurb for Unmasking Zach emphasised the sexual attraction between the two male leads I found it instead delved straight into the relationship drama. From the beginning Zach and Kirby act as more than friends. They try to make the other happy, they attempt to adapt and change to fit into one another's lifestyle. I think it was around the point that Kirby had his accident that I started to lose faith in the book. The complication of Kirby's injury on top of the mountain of problems already facing the two men due to their differences felt unnecessary. Also the actions of Kirby and Zach became increasingly dramatic.

"I don't think you two fully trust each other. Or really understand what makes each other tick. And until you guys figure that stuff out, the only thing keeping you together is bad shit and sex."

Both are trying to salvage the relationship between them, while also tackling their own personal issues. In many ways Unmasking Zach is a coming of age story with both the central characters having to re-elevate what is important to them. Zach in particular has to look deep inside himself and figure out what it is he wants from life. Is it Kirby or is it graduate program he's always aspired too? Kirby is also having to face major life changes and even face the demons from his past. All of this felt like a distraction from the relationship. The connection between Zach and Kirby got lost in a maelstrom of drama. Although the relationship between the two stayed the focus of the novel I found that the emotion had disappeared from the novel. So although Zach and Kirby did have a HEA I wasn't satisfied with Unmasking Zach ending.

Due to the flat second half of the book I struggled to give this story more than two stars. Perhaps people familiar with Edie Danford and this series will feel differently.

My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!