I have started subscribing to a lot of publishers’ and authors’ newsletters which is why I’m receiving more and more invitations to review books by e-mail lately. So was the case with Ray Of Light, the first in a romance trilogy called Ray, by american romance novelist E. L. Todd (update: apparently there will be at least a fourth book as well). Todd is from New York and has published over a hundred romance novels and sold over a million copies – from contemporary romance to new adult romance and fantasy romance.
She appears to be very successful at what she does, which is why I was a little disappointed by this e-book I read. It feels like a cheap Twilight rip-off minus the vampires for a slightly more mature audience. Now, I’ve read Twilight and I liked it for the most part exactly because of the vampires and other supernatural elements. So there is Rae, a girl that doesn’t realise how beautiful she is, who is not only pretty but also very smart. She has no family but for her brother Rex who won the lottery once, spent all his money on a rundown bowling alley and is now forced to live with her. They love each other but hide that by being constantly mean to each other like teenagers would. Knowing what they went through (yes, family drama in their past) and the fact that they only have each other left, I don’t think this is the most realistic portrayal of such a relationship. Anyway, these two do have an interesting relationship that I loved reading about.
So the rest of Rae’s family is made up of Zeke (the best friend who is secretly in love with her but too shy to tell her) and a bunch of girlfriends who are talked about a lot but who she only hangs out with once or twice during the first novel. (I’m sure they’ll figure more prominently in upcoming books, especially since one of them has a major crush on brother Rex). And then Ryker moves to town, an old friend of Rex’ and Zeke’s, who is super hot, super successful and, of course, completely coo coo for Rae’s cocoa puffs. The heavy sexual attraction between the two leads to a one night stand that Rae puts out of her mind. But then Ryker, big alpha male that he is, isn’t used to girls walking out on him so he gets basically obsessed with Rae, insisting on a relationship with her even though he’s never slept with the same girl more than once or twice.
And that is basically the gist of this story. Rae falling hard and deep for Ryker and Ryker not being able to resist her. But besides sex scenes, there is no real story between the two main characters. Ryker is with Rae because she didn’t want to have sex with him a second time, so he convinces her that she does. Then they have a lot of sex. And the Rae somehow develops feelings for him (because he is hot and good in bed?). Best friend Zeke is at some point ready to tell Rae how he feels, but when she makes it clear she’s crazy for Ryker he doesn’t and consigns himself to being her friend. What will happen in the next books? My guess is that Rae will tell Ryker she loves him at some point, which will make him freak out. They will break-up while Rex and Rae’s friend (whose name I forgot) will start a relationship. Since there won’t be any more sex between Ryker and Rae, I’m guessing we’ll get some descriptions from Rex and his new girlfriend to make up for that. And then at some point, Rae will probably realise she has feelings for best friend Zeke. At this point Zeke will probably have moved on for some part, but they will get together in the end. Since there is a fourth book, I predict that there Ryker will make a comeback. If she completely copies Twilight-esque books, Rae will eventually go back to Ryker after he has proved his worth. If she wants to do something different even though the entire book is the same thing, she will make Rae realise that Ryker isn’t for her and that she was meant to be with Zeke the entire time. The end.
Or at least, that is how I see things going if they travel along the same Twilight-path. Now all of this might give you the idea that I didn’t like the book. Which in a way is true: it felt like such a rip-off that I could predict all the storylines (and even have a pretty good idea of what will happen next). But then she made it worse by taking out the one interesting thing about Twilight (vampires) and not replace it with something else (like E. L. James did for example by adding the BDSM-angle). Instead she just throws in a lot of sex and calls it a relationship. But despite all this, it is an easy read and I liked it enough to want to read the next books. Of course that is also because a mean little part of me just wants to know if I was right in my predictions…