I received this book from the author a long time ago in exchange for a review. To my shame, I have only recently picked it up and read it – I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it, as I really enjoyed it!
Tiana is your typical pampered young blonde with a love for expensive shoes, hot guys, and murder.
After Tiana is cut off from her family’s riches, she takes advantage of her talents and becomes a killer for hire. It’s a lucrative business in her country, where a call to the police can amount to a lifetime of debt.
Her first client: Julia, a lower-class IT genius, lesbian, and devout Catholic. When the orphanage Julia volunteers at is targeted by the infamous brothel-owner Bobby Nails, Tiana is excited to take the job. But when she discovers Bobby Nails has a full army of mercenaries at his disposal, Tiana wonders if she may be in over her head.
Tiana and Julia face an unexpected adventure as they seek vengeance against the elusive Nails. Along the way they are joined by Ruby, a pyromaniac ex-prostitute who catches Julia’s eye, and William, a mysterious acrobatic fugitive searching for his daughter.
In the end, will they be enough to stop Nails and the chaos he has created?
I feel like I need to open this review with a variety of trigger warnings for the book. There is graphic talk of murder, allusions to rape, much discussion of sex, forced prostitution and violence.
This book would not normally be my cup of tea, to be honest, I didn’t really know anything about it when I picked it up as I hadn’t actually read the synopsis for a long time and had forgotten everything about what it had said. In a way I’m pleased as it meant I had no expectations, and nothing putting me off at the fear of reading something that was gruesome and violent and I wouldn’t enjoy.
Tiana is a very unlikable character, which is just perfect for the role she takes on in this society. I didn’t dislike her enough to not want to read from her point of view, but I disliked her enough that every time she did something, it felt just like something despicable and ridiculous that her character would do. She made the story interesting and certainly drove a lot of the action, and boy is there a LOT of action in this story. I never once felt like this story was slow, at all. The minute one disastrous thing ended, another one began! I honestly didn’t think I would ‘enjoy’ reading from a killer’s point of view, but Tiana has a way of worming her way into your head and you can’t help but ‘enjoy’ reading from her point of view.
Julia is a fantastic character, she is believable and grows a lot throughout the story. There is a lot of discussion around her Catholic faith and her sexual identity, she is lesbian and she does end up having a relationship in the story. Julia was often the voice of reason and how on earth she put up with Tiana, I’ll never know. But they end up forming this unlikely gang who want to take on and take down the notorious Bobby Nails.
It’s hard to talk about much that happens within this story without giving a lot away, and I really don’t want to do that as I was surprised by just how gripped I was – I had to know what was going to happen next!
There is a range of diversity within this story, we have Julia who is a young, lesbian woman of colour. There is also a transgender character who becomes a integral part of the story. Alongside this there are discussions around religion and class.
Sari is writing a sequel to Bubblegum, and I don’t know yet when it is coming out. I do know that I am really looking forward to it.
I’d highly recommend giving this one a read if you get the chance!
Do you think you’ll be reading Bubblegum? Have any other questions about the book? Leave me a comment and we can have a chat!
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