Untamed is a five-book romance series that I got as an ARC for review through NetGalley. It was co-written by Jen Meyers and Victoria Green. On her website, Meyers describes it as “a unique, angsty, art-infused novel series,” which I guess it’s one way of saying it. And I guess that does indeed fit with the blurb of the first book in the series:
Rich, beautiful, and wild, Reagan McKinley has everything she needs… but nothing that she wants. That is, until she spends one hot night in the arms of sexy, unbridled Dare Wilde.
She’s a girl trapped in a rigid world she desperately wants to escape, and he’s an untamed artist with an attitude, hell-bent on freeing her – body, mind and soul. But Reagan’s life is not her own, and Dare is not welcome in it. She can’t include him in her carefully-controlled, extremely public lifestyle… and yet she cannot give him up.
Will a shard passion for art – and, increasingly, each other – be enough to keep them together? Or will it be the thing that ultimately tears them apart?
The series aren’t really comprised of 5 books, more like 5 parts of one pretty big book: Untamed, Out of Control, Escaped Artist, Wild at Heart, Rebel Roused. And it can be described in one word: heavy! Reagan is your typical poor little rich girl who is being forced into being someone else by her parents so she numbs herself with drugs and alcohol. Later on in the story, you find out why: she got raped at 15 by a family friend but her parents didn’t want to believe her so they swept it under the rug. When she turned out to be pregnant, her parents drugged her and forced her to get an abortion.
So now, Reagan acts nice in public, but goes out partying all night long with drugs and booze with her equally messed up friends. And she usually ends up sleeping with random strangers to forget. And then she meets Dare in a club one night. His father is a drug dealer in jail and his mother is a drug addict barely able to take care of herself. So the responsibility of his siblings and mother falls on him. The two of them fall for each other hard from the very first and they end up sleeping together. They fall deeply in love, almost like an obsession, but then both their families intervene to try to keep them apart.
That I am a sucker for happy endings, is obvious to even the most habitual readers of this blog. It’s a big part of why I didn’t like this series. I was never able to relax and be happy when Ree and Dare were happy because there were still a lot of pages to go so I knew something would come along to tear them apart again. Besides that, the entire story was a little unbelievable because of their young age, but I guess that fits the age group they are targeting: it’s heavy romance for those on the edge of Young Adult and New Adult.
Another thing that bothered me and what made this story quite unrealistic: Dare is supposed to be a struggling artist, barely making enough money to get by, let alone support his family. Yet he is constantly flying from New York to Paris to Amsterdam and even manages to fly his family out a few times as well. Struggling artists don’t have the money to travel like that, let alone move to other countries all the time. And then there is the relationship with his older brother, the successful rock star: are they half brothers (since they only talk about having the same father)? Why doesn’t the older, rich brother help out with the family then? That confused me, but I’m sure this will be cleared up in the next book by the same author pair.
But then, this is just my opinion. 85% of all reviews on Goodreads are super positive (either because a lot of people really like it, or the readers who don’t just don’t post a review). What do you think?