For fans of rockstar romances, Nalini Singh, New Adult masquerading as Grown Up romance, or romance novels full of feels. Otherwise, you should probably read Rock Redemption anyway, just because.
A reading copy of this book was generously provided by the author.
I have no chill when it comes to this book. When it was due for release in October last year, I spent days refreshing Nalini Singh’s website just in case she uploaded the full book as an excerpt, rather than her standard two chapters’ worth. So, yeah. Ye have been warned.
Rock Redemption is the latest in Nalini Singh’s rockstar romance series and features lead guitarist of Schoolboy Choir, Noah St. John, and next-big-thing actress Kit Devigny. If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll know Noah and Kit had an almost-relationship a few years ago. You’ll also know Noah (quite intentionally) ruined everything by letting Kit walk in on him having sex with a groupie.
And look, that’s a bold choice from Singh, because your hero betraying your heroine like that can be pretty hard to recover from. Especially when your prologue opens with the betrayal from the soon-to-be heartbroken Kit’s point of view. But I guess that’s why this one’s called Rock Redemption and not Rock I’m-Really-Not-Sure-Why-These-
Kit’s status as a starlet is somewhat precarious, so when the media mistakenly link her with Noah, she (and her publicist) feels like she has no option but to go along with the charade until she’s secured the very lucrative role she’s been invited to audition for. Not to mention an endorsement deal that’s not quite finalised. And Noah, on a path to redeeming himself and winning back Kit’s friendship, is perfectly willing to follow her lead.
So while Rock Redemption is very much a romance, on some level it’s maybe more about Noah and Kit learning to be friends again, and getting back to the point where Kit could trust Noah again. In fact, the romance is on a very slow burn. Their first proper kiss doesn’t happen until well into the book. In part this is because Kit is not ready to trust Noah for a long time, but Noah also has some pretty big hang-ups about his worthiness of her. And this feeling of unworthiness is at the root of Noah’s dysfunctional behaviour. If ever there was a hero with a Madonna/Whore complex, it’s Noah.
He didn’t know what they were doing here tonight. He didn’t know if Kit had understood what he’d said to her. He adored her, and because he did, he would never touch her. The instant he did, he’d ruin her, ruin everything. He didn’t want their relationship tainted by sex — if they even had any kind of a relationship
Noah finds it virtually impossible to mix sex and love, making any attempt at a relationship with Kit … difficult at best. So there’s a lot of anguish and longing going on from sides.
Not long after I finished Rock Redemption Kat messaged me that she felt like it should have been a New Adult novel rather than the straight-up romance it was. And without putting words into her mouth, I can’t help but think it’s because when Rock Redemption opens, Kit and Noah read younger than they’re supposed to. I’m tempted to defend their respective states of arrested development, but I think if you’re along for the ride you’ll get it. And if you’re not … well … maybe we can have a deeply embittered Twitter argument about it some time.
If there’s a true weakness in Rock Redemption I think it’s the suspense plot that’s sort of boiling away in the background. Way back in Rock Addiction we learnt Kit has a stalker, and that little fact is brought back again. But honestly, the whole stalker plot feels like overkill. Kit and Noah have so much emotional baggage to work through individually and as a couple, I found myself getting annoyed whenever the stalker plot came into play and shifted the focus.
Content advisory: Dark themes that can be triggering, including substance abuse, spousal abuse, and/or sexual abuse, particularly childhood sexual abuse.
You can find an extract of the book here. Self-published.