Reading Creed gave me back the seedy,but weirdly honorable world of Knight. It gave me great inner thoughts of character. It gave me the KA certified epilogues and feelings of love and family. What it did not give was evidence of my bona fide
belief in KA's range.
Two plots did not converge: Creed-Sylvie separation plot and the conspiracy plot against Knight. Instead, one plot ran stagnate(the conspiracy) and the other (Creed-Sylvie separation) ran parallel with a series flashbacks and dreams that felt either too anticlimactic or too one-sided.
Enter badass Sylvie who is totally immersed in the world of Knight. She looks to be an integral part of what takes care of Knight's "lost girls" and somewhere, somehow, she has learned to fight, while convincing someone to teach her to shoot. Sylvie has a deep and mutual understanding with Knight that makes a her a close friend as well as a trusted one, which is rare. Just as Sylvie comes in like a lion, she comes out as a lamb. The same thing can be said about the plot against Knight.
While beginning like a lion, but being uncovered as a lamb worked for Sylvie, it absolutely did NOT work for the supposed set up to bring down Knight. Girls were abominably abused, but the reader never gets a direct scene of it. Creed and Sylvie track the culprits, but there's only phone calls and summed up badass commentary of the action. Sadly, the only action we get is a shoot-ém-up with a cameo of Nick Sebring being strangely dubbed a government informant and Sylvie-goes-badass-on-a-skank-while-Creed-gets-turned-on-as-he-watches scene that was really not needed, not as much needed as some care and attention to building the conspiracy itself (i.e. explanation of potential bad guys and threat because between Knight's and Hawk Delgado's crew, and supposed intel, there had to be more to it than what was given!). So, yeah, the thrill and "danger" of the seedy setting of the "Unfinished Heroes" went weak and there was no badass to rival even the badass-ness in the quirkiest of Rock Chick installments.
As for the separation plot. This bit of detail, I was warned about beforehand, and though I have posted my dislike of this recurring plot inclusion in several of KA stories, I read Creed anyway. I promised that I would not be too gentle if there wasn't a good reason for the couple's separation. Well, good thing I found the reason to be sound because otherwise, this would have been a hard book to continue. Sylvie's and Creed's road to each other and road away from each other was bittersweet. Along the line, there are some heart-infusing moments that only a love of a lifetime can bring, and Kristen Ashley is one of the few fiction authors that can bring this to a page uniquely and with loads of rampant emotions. Yet the road back to each other, for this couple, is paved with good intentions, but becomes one-sided. Creed
comes back into Sylvie's life. Creed's
torture is revealed and captured. Creed's
conviction is aptly transferred from the page and finally, Creed
is the one who...well...just makes whole lot more sense!
I won't go into details, but Badass Sylvie becomes the Sleeping Beauty Sylvie who just woke up from a bad dream and then she almost miraculously becomes Creed's
Sylvie, the Sylvie who is revealed in the flashbacks, before the separation. The Sylvie that Creed
has to reclaim sexually. And it's whatever
for the life she had in-between, the life she endured as a prisoner at the hands of a pimp because we don't get a full view into that. No. We just get an escalation of Sylvie's guilt-filled dreams of Creed's
trauma! Well, what about her own damned trauma? Sorry, but how did our Sylvie survive, specifically? Because I just didn't "feel it". Suffice to say, Creed's
heroism is duly noted, even down to his bold opposition of what Knight does. Sylvie's heroism? Unfinished. Yep, I think I posted this as a joke on a thread after reading the working chapters, but no joke
. Sylvie, I deem as the "Unfinished Heroine".
Also unfinished is this book's eroticism. Oh, the intimate scenes hit HOT! Sylvie is the queen of blowjobs. She even narrates her own sexual aggression well at one point and it left me saying "get it, girl!" Despite this, I felt maybe these two were doused a bit with tepid water, which kept them from being too taboo or too racy or just two doors down from...umm...scorching. On one hand, it was just enough. On the other, it was kind of too tame for the name. Even though Sylvie and Creed got down with backdoor love, when compared to Knight, it was still....I just didn't get tingly
--- like I did the first time Knight exhibited his control, or the time when Joe did Vi in his garage, or when Joe jumped Vi after she just recently had an orgasm from another guy, or when Tack said "greedy" or when Tate is just ...well Tate. Sorry, my Joe, Tack and Tate references can go aplenty.
Nope...no tingles with Creed.
Bottom line, I have no idea where this book leaves the setting of "The Unfinished Heroes". I am not so sure Knight's world is so captivating anymore. Creed is a good man [A very "finished"(well-rounded hero)] who just wants to take care of his Sylvie. Sylvie is a good girl who got a taste of bad, but she is by no means a true badass (Jules can give her a good run for her money). The parts with the kids were good, but certainly less heart-squeezing than the parts of kids in other KA books(no one stole the show). The epilogue was...special.
Still, the plot and character motivation/character sketch could stand to be drawn with more boldness and supporting detail. The suspense that is built would survive if given plausibility and the eroticism more ...titillation.