I think what the author did here was fantastic. I loved this. I think though that this book is going to be one of those that divides readers. You're either going to love this or you're going to hate it.
This is a m/m reimaging of FSoG. The overall plotline is the same. Twenty year old college student meets emotionally detached billionaire and they enter into a contract type of relationship. Arden is the narrator for the story and he's charming and funny and self-deprecating. He's not a naïve virgin and he thinks he's totally fine getting into this *thing* with Caspian (see what the author did with there with the names?) It doesn't take Arden long to realize that sex is not the issue. The emotional detachment though is and it begins to make him feel horrible about himself. As the story goes along Arden gets to see these brief glimpses of the guy Caspian is inside and he keeps going back for more despite his overall unhappiness.
Caspian is a jerk. He goes back and forth emotionally. He's detached most of the time but then shows these little glimpses of himself. These little glimpses are the things that keep Arden going back. I personally liked Caspian. Although he's detached he's totally honest with Arden about what he's willing to give. There are numerous hints at his back story but by the end of this book we still don't know what makes Caspian tick and neither does Arden. I'm super curious as to where the author is going with his character. It's my feeling that the author knows exactly what he's doing with his characterization of Caspian and it's meant to be subversive.
If you have read FSoG you are going to catch a bunch of similarities (ie Arden trips and falls when he meets Caspian). I guess you could perceive this as the author making fun of FSoG but that's not how I took it at all. I know this author a bit (in that abstract way you *know* people from the internet) and it's not at all in his nature to be mean or make fun of others. I took it in a positive way and those scenes made me smile and think "Oh, I remember that part". It is a bit cheeky but I think that's obvious from the title alone.
So....this is FSoG but better. I don't mean that in the mean way it sounds though. I read FSoG when they very first came out and I really enjoyed them. I actually hate it when people bash FSoG. A lot of people enjoyed that series and it opened up a lot of people's eyes to the erotic side of books. (I have an entire tangent about the haters who feel the need to crap on other people's happiness but I'll spare you from that). This though, was, imo, better written. The author's prose is lovely as usual and I felt more attached to these characters. I thought this was both funny and full of feelz. (Not all of the feelz were good mind you but that's real life. Relationships are not always easy.)
While there are similarities this story is also very different. It's hard to explain but I think you'll see what I mean when you read this. This book ends in a happily for now but they're barely there. I believe there are two more books in the series and I personally can't wait to read them.
Rules are made to be broken . . . If England had yearbooks, I'd probably be "Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire." So far, I haven't. I've no idea what I'm doing at Oxford, no idea what I'm going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he's brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire. It's impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he'll be through with me. I'm good at doing what I'm told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian's shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it's him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn't have the power to give me.