I absolutely love the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover, which is why I picked this up. I really expected a lot of this book to be pretty similar to that series since Marked Men is full of the stereo-typical bad boy alpha males. In a way Better When He’s Bad had some of the same elements, a lot really, except for she took that stereo-type to whole new levels of bad boy, or at least that’s what she attempted.
Bax was unashamedly an asshole and a criminal. Crownover really tried to make this boy actually bad rather than just the rough exterior. Unfortunately I think this fell short. The fact that she ultimately kept relaying that Bax had became a criminal initially to survive and take care of his mother, kind of just set back that asshole bad boy image she was trying to pull off. If she was trying for bigger and badder and really wanted her guy to come off as actually bad, I think she would have done better to go all the way. Don’t make excuses, make him the biggest badass ever! I just think that she failed to reach what she was shooting for because in the end she wanted to make him just redeemable and likeable enough to sell to the readers. But lets face it, sometimes when conditions are right, we’ve been made to like a real bad boy even when we wish we didn’t. I mean look at Javier from the Artists Trilogy by Karina Halle, or Barrons from the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. That’s just to name a few. There are ways to make your bad boy be a real shit and still get people to accept it and like him regardless. Or make us love to hate him. Whatever. I just think if you’re going for that, then do it all the way! Or else all you really have is another typical NA stereo-type, which is totally fine, but don’t try and sell it for something more. Phew….sorry to get all ranty on you guys there!
The story line was interesting, I enjoyed the plot twists. I also enjoyed the setting, Crownover tried and succeeded in making the Point come across as almost it’s own character. It was super seedy and you had the feeling that maybe it was the neighborhood that shaped these desperate delinquents. Either way it was clear that the Point left its taint on the characters. Dovie and Bax together were alright, I just for some reason couldn’t bring myself to get invested in them. Honestly I found Dovie to be a little annoying at times. Mostly at the beginning of the story her whole I want him but he’s a jerk, and I am scared of him got old. I also found it odd that she deemed most of the male race as not worth the trouble, but Bax and all his scariness and jerkish ways were apparently worth getting naked for, and pretty early on too boot. Basically this is Dovie in a nutshell…
I guess I was just hoping for a different story here. This was still a decent one, and clearly I’m in the minority because a lot of people seem to love it. Better When He’s Bad just wasn’t what I was hoping it would be.