Author: Penelope Douglas
Publisher: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: November 17th, 2015!
I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.
His name is Michael Crist.
My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.
But I noticed him.
I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.
Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.
Because he’s finally noticed me.
Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.
My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.
Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.
In my city.
The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.
We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.
***Corrupt is a stand-alone dark romance with no Cliffy
My Review!*Spoilers abound, so beware!
Holy mother of God, this book. I’ve read Bully and Until You, and those were full of angst and grit and super emotional. So I figured Corrupt would be much the same, but I didn’t realize how freaking unflinching and dark it would be. (I mean, not as DARK as some books I’ve read, that’s all relative). But still, it was harsh, and contained many uncomfortable situations. There is a lot of gray area here, a lot of meshing of right and wrong. And because of that, there are a lot of moments that will challenge readers, and ones that made me be like BUT WAIT THIS ISN’T OKAY HOW IS THIS ACCEPTABLE. And those reactions of mine tied into some of the characters’ actions, and I’ll talk about it separately in a bit.
I want to discuss the main character, Rika, right now. This girl is fierce and intelligent; she’s a fighter. Over the course of the book, she is tested and pushed beyond her limits. She is scared. She is cornered. She cowers, but she strikes back. She slips, but she catches herself. The guys made her life a living hell, and she took it all in, and then dished it out. She starts off pretty timid, and shy, and kinda naive (especially in the flashbacks), but she becomes such a strong character by the end. Her development was THERE, and it made it so easy for me to root for her throughout the book. HOWEVER, omg, this girl is also super dense. I mean, seriously. How is she that oblivious to everything around her? How did she not realize that she was the catalyst for all of it? I suppose, because she didn’t actually do what they thought she did, that was why she never figured it out. But I still wanted her to open her eyes, and THINK about it. But Michael dominated her thoughts too much.
Fucking Michael. I hate this asshole. I HATE HIM. I’m sorry, but I cannot find any sympathy in my heart for him. He is not worthy of all the time Rika spent idolizing and thinking about him. He doesn’t deserve her. First of all, this dick made her life a living nightmare FOR NO REASON AT ALL OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT HE’S A GODDAMNED IDIOT. omg yes let’s just plan this revenge based on no factual evidence and not even *le gasp* ASK HER ABOUT IT. God forbid he acted like a human being for once. Second of all, his back and forth shit was super annoying and aggravating. Like dude, stop stringing her along, making her feel wanted, and then pulling back because you suddenly decide you have a moral code. Speaking of that moral code, where was it when Rika was being treated like shit and being ASSAULTED? There were quite a few moments in the story where he like wanted Rika to become stronger and to take care of herself, so he let one of his ~best friends~ sexually assault her. HOW ARE YOU SO AWFUL, MICHAEL. HOW. oh wait, that’s right, daddy issues. And no mommy figure who coddled him. And a brother who hated him. no, just no. I don’t buy any of it, and I don’t feel even the least bit sorry for him. He can go fuck himself.
Because of my feelings on Michael, I am so conflicted about the romance. On the one hand, I wanted Rika to punch him in the face, tell him TOO LATE, and leave his sorry ass behind. I wanted her to stand up for herself and realize that she deserved better than this asshole. But on the other hand, these are MY personal feelings and *I’m* not the main character. She forgave him, because that’s just who she is. AND she liked the games. She liked the drama, and the fighting, and the back and forth. I will NEVER ship them together, but I understand that this wasn’t about a pretty, perfect, shiny couple. So like, I’m just conflicted on this whole romance, and it’s hard because this book is kinda all about their relationship. Like, there is a “revenge” plot and a lot of grit and a sturdy friendship, but at its core, it’s about Rika and Michael. It’s about Rika finding her inner strength and owning herself. It’s about Michael realizing that Rika is worth giving up the games for, and that he can still have a future with her even though he never thought he could (erg but he’s still a dick who doesn’t deserve her forgiveness). But in-between the romance, there was a solid friendship between a group of guys too.
These guys are all idiots. The lot of them. Sad, sorry puppy dogs who decide to blame this girl for everything because they can’t handle the fact that they fucked themselves over by videotaping their goddamn deeds and expecting that to never fall into the wrong hands. *facepalm* I did fall hard for Kai though. I love him so. I want a book about him, and I want it NOW. I almost started shipping her and Kai too (whoops I was playing canon with the characters). (thinks about THAT ONE SCENE. *starts fanning self*). asfjkl; I just, I need more Kai in my life. And Will, too, though he’s the one we least know (but I do know he needs to stop drinking because he’s going to get liver damage at 23). And Damon can go float by himself in the middle of the ocean on that cruise ship because no one cares about him and his sorry excuse of a self. (His background did hurt me a little, but I’m of the mind that people are STILL the harbingers of their own doom and if they wanna flip the finger at their past by being assholes to everyone else, then that’s their fault. You can blame your past all you want, but how you deal with that is what matters). I would definitely love more books about the Horsemen, especially more background on everyone (even Damon, because I need more humanity there). I really liked the friendship between the four of them, even if they were all a little fucked up and lost themselves in revenge.
Their revenge plot was basically a joke, because I knew it was going to turn out that Rika didn’t send in those videos and help them all into prison. But it did make for a very delicious storyline. It was dark, and the lines were blurred so much (omg @ how Michael deals with his little brother in the end O M G), but it also had a lot of light in it. It’s not a book that says everything in it is acceptable. It’s not a book that condones what happens, but says that people and things can be corrupt. Like, people aren’t just good or bad. They are super, super complicated, and they can do bad things, and they can be complete assholes. BUT they can also be good. And honestly, this book wasn’t about making everything perfect or shiny. It was about forgiveness, and revenge, and love, and hate, and how there’s a fine line between it all.There are a lot of conflicting feelings I have surrounding this book, but I’d say it’s in a good way. It made me think; it challenged me. It brought out so much anger, but in a good way. I don’t like everything that happened, especially the amount of sexual assault that isn't ever really dealt with or addressed. I don’t like all of the characters, especially fucking Michael and Damon. But I did love this book. It was very much the type of story I love reading about. Corrupt was morally complicated, twisted, and so fucking addicting!