Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-237969-6
Contemporary Romance, 2015
It’s a shame that gritty, sordid romances involving rock stars are still a no-no in romance, as authors doing that kind of stories still insist on churning out fanfiction-style stories of rock stars that have all the grit and swagger of a post-rehab boyband member who has just discovered religion. Chaos, the third entry in Jamie Shaw’s Mayhem series, has none of the mayhem or chaos promised – Biebers on the Block still manage to make One Direction look like an orgy central for adults, Or maybe I’m way too old to be considered its target audience?
Once upon a time, Katrina “Kit” Larson scored with a boy from the band. That’s so hot, and her first time in the sack was positively awesome… until Shawn Scarlett – a real name, people, not some character in an X-Men fanfiction – realized that she was fifteen in a messy kind of drama and never called her again. Seriously, you’d think it’s the first time that a guy in a band shagged an underage girl.
Well, six years later, Kit is all grown up and ready to pose all sexy and sultry with her guitar. When she learns that Biebers on the Block need a new rhythm guitarist, she auditions and is of course awesome and gets hired. She and Shawn pretend not to recognize one another, they get it on anyway, and when they learn that the other person has been pretending all along not to remember that night, oh my god what a liar; this is, like, so over and Kit is like, oh god, so sad.
That’s basically the story. There is hardly any conflict, as the bulk of the story is basically Kit being awesome and wowing everyone, wondering whether she dares to open her heart again with Shawn, and hanging out with the other awesome people in this story. I suppose this would make a great vicarious escapade for any girl who secretly wishes that her favorite boyband will let her join them and then everyone will cheer when she and her favorite in that boyband fall in love. Since the story is entirely from Kit’s point of view (aside from the epilogue, which is just an unnecessary way for the author to have the hero validate the heroine’s feelings), Shawn is a complete blank slate who goes hot or cold depending on what is needed by the plot. This doesn’t help the story rise above its fanfiction-like vibes.
On the bright side, no one is particularly stupid or annoying here, and the author shies away from portraying other women in this story as jealous skanks and hos. Therefore, this is a painless read.
It’s just that, at the end of the day, Chaos is such an inoffensive, unobtrusive, and sanitized read that it ends up being way too forgettable for its own good. It’s the textbook definition of a tepid read: I didn’t hurt while reading it, but I didn’t feel anything else either, and in the end, I won’t remember much about it even if I want to. And I don’t – that’s the saddest thing about this book.