Published by Atria Books, Simon and Schuster Australia on April 28, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Thriller, LGBT
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It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.
If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.
She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.
But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.
Which was the plan all along.
Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.
She's going to show them all.
Dark, irresistible and captivating, Black Iris is undefinable. With fluid sexual orientations, substance abuse, a range of psychological issues and an unreliable narrator, it’s a dark and disturbing story that can only be read with an open mind.
It’s told by an unreliable narrator who is driven by revenge, and you’re pulled along Laney’s dark and twisted game as she drifts between two absolutely captivating people – the cool, unhinged goddess Blythe, and the warm, calculated, fiery god Armin. Drug abuse, suicide, death, violence, bullying and a multitude of psychological problems heavily feature in this novel, expelling a depth of emotional pain and darkness that I’ve never felt before.
“Will you do it with me?”
“Yeah, I will. I’ll fuck this world up with you.”
“Good girl,” I said. “Let’s be bad.
Laney has always been bullied for liking women, but the fact is, romance for Laney isn’t the most straightforward thing. Her sexual orientation is fluid and can’t be simply labelled with one word – she likes both men and women, based on who they are and how they make her feel. Armin for his protection and cool calculated passion, and Blythe for her craziness and Laney’s darker side. I’ve never read a romance quite like this one, where love was undefinable and held no boundaries. The relationship between the three of them is intense and enveloping, crossing the boundaries between normal friendship and daresay, relationships. This isn’t a train wreck guys, this is a fucking apocalypse that will make the world burn.
Laney’s influence has always been from her bipolar mother, who she blames for making her life miserable. Her mother has two children, the angelic and kind-hearted son and the dark and twisted daughter. This was paralleled through Laney’s love interests, one offering darkness, the other offering light. Black Iris contains a variety of psychological disorders which are explored in a deep, confronting and impactful way.
“I never wanted to be saved. I wanted someone to follow me down into the darkness.”
The non-linear storytelling further highlights the undefinable nature of the book, as Laney’s past, present and future will all converge into a final reveal at the end of the book. She’ll narrate specific scenes in her life, and even those are hazy as they are driven by her extreme emotions through borderline personality disorder and heavy use of drugs.
Although I was really drawn into the story, I found it to follow with so much going on, with the unreliable narrator and the non-linear timeline. Revenge, drugs, confusing family relationships and the messy romance, made it a really intense and confronting read. It builds up momentum really quickly at the start, but I found it become quite multi-layered and complex later on. It’s also filled with many passionate sex scenes, which I found distracted from the main storyline which I was trying to figure out.
Black Iris is a dark, disturbing revenge story fueled by a complicated romance and an unreliable narrator. It’s sexy, complicated and compelling, pinpointing how it feels to have a complicated psychological disorder and to have a fluid sexual orientation. A really intense dark thrill-ride not for the faint of heart!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this book for review.