Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.
Review: Things have not been right for Holden Payne since the murder of Theo Black. It’s even more upsetting for Holden that things are not right in the Community as a whole. The Community is Holden’s life on so many levels. There is too much for Holden to process, but he’s fully aware his father is blaming him for the deaths and disappearances of psychics. Despite a lifetime of trusting the Community Holden can see he’s being scapegoated. Then Sixtus Rossi shows up and Holden has yet another trusted ally of his father’s looking over his shoulder. To top it off, Sixtus can’t be read by any empaths and he has no social skills whatsoever. Sixtus’ presence is a double reinforcement of the problems the Community faces. Sixtus and Holden have history. And of course Sixtus is wholly attractive and appears to be not in the least bit affected by Holden. Eventually, Holden and Sixtus begin to trust each other a little bit. Holden finally has his illusions dispelled. It’s not fun. No matter what he does Holden only finds himself coming into more and more concrete evidence his life has been one big lie, and the only person who has ever told him the truth has been Sixtus.
I really liked Holden. He’s a hot mess and aware of it. It is painful to witness his humiliation at his own actions. Holden was given everything his parents’ wealth and prestige could offer. He was quite literally born into power. It’s not until Holden sees firsthand how little his powers mean and can accomplish that he begins to question things. Holden’s own brother Chase doesn’t turn to him when he needs help. Holden sees no one thinks he is worthy of trust, and he agrees with them. There is a level of self-loathing here that could have quickly become way too much, but I feel it was well balanced. Holden’s reasons for disliking himself were pretty valid, and he wasn’t wallowing in his guilt so much as accepting his own faults and wanting to do better in the future.
I enjoyed Sixtus, however; I feel Sixtus suffered under some heavy handed metaphors. He’s psychically invulnerable until he falls in love. Because love makes you vulnerable and all that jazz. I agree with this sentiment deeply and at the same time absolutely hate the presentation of it. I am pretty sure what I object to is the specific use of the word invulnerable. It feels like signposting. Please, don’t tell me what your metaphors are. That ruins the whole point of metaphors. Ultimately, what really bothers me is I’ve pared Sixtus down to the guy who was made vulnerable by love. He’s a complex character with complex motivations but he stands out as being a giant metaphor gone wrong. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I felt Insight was hampered by all the exposition required for the series. Oversight was definitely the beneficiary of all of it. This book flowed well. I also really liked seeing Nate and Holden’s interactions from Holden’s perspective. Neither man has any level of self assuredness. Or at the very least when we see them interact on page the narrator at the time has no level of self assuredness. Sorry, that’s convoluted AF but I know what I mean. Each man thinks the other is the authentic version of what they’ve wanted to be.
This has become the series with all the hanging of lanterns. Yeah, it can be funny when you point out something that smacks of Scientology indeed smacks of Scientology. I’m all for humorous self awareness. Now, with two books down and each one having its own self aware moments I don’t really find it all that funny anymore. But it’s been in two out of three of the books! It’s got to happen in the last one! I feel a bit as though I’m sitting down to watch an E! True Hollywood Story and rooting for some kind of train wreck simply because it’s good entertainment.
I liked this book more than the first. It was an easier read, and things that bothered me in the first book were limited to the first book. Also, questions get answered. Or at least I think they’re answered. We don’t have concrete answers, but we have some pretty good evidence. It made me feel super smart that I got hung up on Theo’s notes. I like to feel super smart, but at the same time there is a lot of horror in what we saw. That’s a whole lot of breeding happening down on the Farm. I really want to see how Chase handles it.