Friday, May 18, 2012

REVIEW: High Fidelity by IReen H

Summary from ff. net: Edward is an unfeeling bastard. Bella gets caught up in his games. Language and lots of it. Lemons eventually. It's a slow burn, slow and painful. Mature. Lots of random pop culture references. AH, AU, ExB Romance/Angst

High Fidelity has kicked my lack of blog posting in the ass!

As the summary states, it's a slow burn and I'm fucking charred. This story is smartly written. The characters have depth and voice. The plot slowly, subtly unfolds. This is the best WIP I've started reading since There is a Light. High Fidelity has restored my faith in Twilight fanfiction as a source for high quality writing and undiscovered talent.

Bella, 27, works full-time at a realty office during the week and moonlights in catering on the weekends. She also takes a full load of credits at an online university. She is witty, bold, and at times self-deprecating. Edward thinks of her as, "Earthly and uncultured, lithe and whimsical." She is one of the strongest and most awe-inspiring Bella's in Twific.

Edward works in her building as an agent for Allstate Insurance. He's not your average insurance salesman. He's one cocky motherfucker, he's apparently loaded, and he is drop dead stunning.
I Google 'Edward Cullen, Allstate Insurance' and click on his agency page. I look at his picture. He isn't smiling. His hair is in its usual disarray. 
What is it about this guy? He looks like he wears Italian suits, his nails are clean and buffed and he smells expensive. He can't run a fucking brush through that shit? 
I bet he does it on purpose.
Though they have worked in the same building for five years, they don't formally meet until Allstate sends Bella a bill for an accident in which she wasn't involved. Allstate gives Bella the run-around and she's not enthused about having to deal with Allstate's or Edward's bullshit.
"Good Morning," he says to me. 
I feel like Curly Bill in Tombstone when I say "Hi," back. It sort of comes out sounding like FUCK OFF.
Edward explains that she's in this insurance clusterfuck because SHE never replied to their initial letter. She fumes in reply.
"I get a ton of junk mail. Sometimes I open it. Sometimes I don't. I have no reason to open anything from Allstate because I don't hold any policies with you guys. And I didn't hit anybody, YET, so I had no reason to anticipate that you would file a claim against me. I probably threw the first notices away, not knowing what they were." 
Is it just me or does he purposely skim my hand with his finger as I take the paper from him. Is this how Clarice Starling felt when Hannibal Lector touched her in the same manner?
Two days later Bella runs into Edward in the break room, she initiates conversation when she believes he's talking to her, then realizes he's speaking into an ear piece.
"I said hi. I thought you were being human for a moment and greeting me in a normal, human-like way. But I was wrong. Apologies." 
"Would you like me to greet you in a normal way?" 
"Really, Edward? I don't understand the game here. Is there an instruction manual... or something I could read?" 
He doesn't miss a beat. "Yes, it was mailed to you. You probably didn't open it." 
"No, I do vaguely remember something like that. I think I used it to clean up dog vomit."
I love the entertaining banter between these two.

Starting in chapter 4, IReen H feeds readers yummy snacks titled "EPOV." This is one guy you will love to hate.
I tend to gravitate towards the full of body, full of money types with highlights in their hair and flesh spilling out of the top of their shirts. Girls like Victoria Sutherland. Tanya Denali. Rosalie Hale. Chesty suggestive girls all of them, whose daddies have deep pockets.
I'm sweet on this Edward despite his asshattery. He's intelligent. He's honest with his thoughts and one minute he will leave you swooning...
Then her half smile blooms into a whole one, which adds a very alluring shimmer to her deep brown eyes. They twinkle under dark lashes. It's beautiful. She is beautiful.
And a minute later he will shock you with his crassness.
I wouldn't say I really like Victoria. She is shallow and vain. She has more shoes than Imelda Marcos. 
She has a dog that she carries in a purse. 
But she's easy. And the last thing I needed, when I met her, was a challenge. I just needed… a hole. And she has 3 of them. All willing.

Edward's penchant for Barbie doll dates exacerbates Bella's insecurity, and this is a theme throughout the story thus far. Alice, Edward's sister, tells Bella that Edward's type is "plastic," with "lots of tits."
So, as much as I may want to, it's probably best not to think about what his mouth feels like. That only ends badly for me. 
In heartbreak, most likely.
Despite their differences - or perhaps because of them - Edward and Bella have simmering chemistry. They smolder; one spark and they are poised to ignite. Hell, they might spontaneously combust. Bella initially attempts to deny their intense attraction, but he embraces it. He wants her, almost desperately. Bella guards her heart having been burned before and Edward apparently buried his heart on the battlefield. These two are both survivors of different wars and their battle scars run deep.

I love the flow of this story, the slow burn, and the gradual reveal of the character's flaws and conflicts. The pop culture references are spot-on and help the reader identify with the characters.
Despite what I might have learned from 16 Candles, "I had a really bizarre dream last night and you were in it," is not a good opening line in any scenario. 
The ride up to Edward's condo feels otherworldly. Like, now I know how Katniss Everdeen felt being lifted into the arena. Unknown, infinite badness awaits me at the end of this upwards journey.
High Fidelity is a story that gets better with each update. Chapter 13, the last posted, was one of my favorite chapters ever… of all the stories I've ever read. While reading, I experienced a full spectrum of emotion. Hope. Resolve. Disappointment. Apprehension. Anger. Sadness. Disgust. Depression. Embarrassment. Humiliation. Determination. Rage. Heartbreak. Vindication. Upon finishing the update I wanted a martini. And a shoulder to cry on. And a girlfriend to share a fist bump. I felt like I ran a marathon. It was brutal and punishing, but oh how exhilarating!

Author IReen H on twitter:  @ajapersuasia
High Fidelity Facebook group:


Anonymous said...

Helllllll yeeeesssssssssss to this Blog Post! I love this story, and agree with every point you make about it! I can't wait to see where Ireen goes with this her characters! This last chapter just about killed me, but the writing is so good that I plan to stick it, despite the heart fail I feel currently. I'm in love with her Bella, especially after this last update! It's an amazing story! Great post MM! *hugs you tightly*


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