This book temporarily put the spotlight on Freddy, basically letting us get to see Book 2 from his POV.
I really enjoy books in series that overlap with other books but show you a different character’s POV, when they’re done well, because it shows how much thought was put into everything. There was all this stuff going on in the background, all this stuff Freddy was manipulating or privy to, that the reader didn’t even know about. It made for a lot of recap and repeated scenes, but with Freddy’s view, and also a bunch of new scenes.
I was admittedly not really into the Freddy/Mikey relationship. It was a D/s sort of relationship that initially pushed the boundaries of consent, in my opinion. Because, despite what Freddy said, there was a big power imbalance, and when your life is as deep in the shit as Mikey’s was with no other way of getting out, the offer of having someone use their money and mind control to fix it is technically a choice, but then so is sleeping with cops to get out of jail time and dealing drugs and whatever else Freddy said wasn’t. And if you haven’t read the book yet and are wondering why I’m unhappy with a character for offering to fix someone’s life, it’s because, in return, he wanted Mikey to do everything he said. He wanted to be in control of Mikey and his life. (And not just in a sex way. That was the one area where he did take consent more seriously, especially considering certain things. Though they were also having consensual sex.) Not to mention he could and did read Mikey’s mind whenever he wanted to. But ultimately Mikey seemed to like being told what to do and having his mind be an open book. And Freddy took his role of caring for Mikey seriously, both physically and emotionally. So in the end, it seemed to be a relationship both were happy with.
Anyway, it’s just not a type of relationship I’m into. But I wrote that whole rambly paragraph so that other readers can decide if they’ll be into it or not. Though you don’t really have much choice if you want to keep reading the series. The book does show some things that I think will be important and factor into future books.
And it was interesting getting to know Freddy. I can’t say I particularly like him as a person—Mikey put it best when he described him as a “rich British asshole”—but I still liked learning more about him and seeing inside his head. I just realized how ironic? poetic? hypocritical? that is, since he is always seeing inside other people’s heads, and I am about to condemn him for it. But seriously, he was always purposely using his powers to read people’s minds and manipulate them for his own means. But every complaint I could make about him—his questionable morals, his hypocrisy, his assholery—was acknowledged by one character or another, often by Freddy himself, which means the author knew what she was doing and exactly what kind of character she was writing. And whether I liked him or not, he was written well.
It was also interesting getting to learn more about his mind reading powers. He acts like they’re nothing, but holy shit, they are incredibly and terrifyingly powerful! Because it’s not just mind reading, it’s also mind control and mind rewriting. He could be a full-on supervillain if he wanted to.
There was also Mikey. To be honest, he didn’t seem to have a ton of page time, and I don’t feel like I got to know him super well. But this author, at least in this series, seems to have a thing for taking the types of people often harshly judged by society (Laurence struggles with heroin addiction, Quentin is addicted to alcohol, Mikey is a drug dealer) and showing that sometimes they’re still good people. Or at least people capable of being redeemed, just ones who have made mistakes or have been dealt shitty hands in life or are dealing with trauma. But with help and opportunity, they’re able to make real changes.
Overall, it was very interesting getting to see some of the things going on behind the scenes in Book 2 from Freddy’s POV, as well as just learning more about Freddy himself and his terrifyingly powerful telepathy. And though I didn’t like these characters and their relationship as much as I like Laurence and Quentin, this was still a great book!
Trigger/Content Warning: A scene depicting child sexual abuse.
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in A.K. Faulkner's Inheritance series. This book was a bit different, but for the series overall, anyone who likes psychic/telekinetic abilities, magic, sweet and strong m/m romance, slow-burn sex, and characters struggling with addiction and abuse trauma.