One thing can be said for Karina Halle, she’s constantly surprising me. I absolutely love that she’s been exploring so many different genres! One thing they all have in common thus far is that no matter what genre she’s writing in, she fucking slays.
The Pact was such a refreshing contemporary romance. In a genre that’s saturated with New Adult books right now, which I love too, it’s also so nice to get a look at dating/finding love a little later in life. As I am, way too quickly, approaching the big 3-0 myself, I was easily able to understand and relate to the characters in this book, and their struggles. I honestly wish I could find more romances like it. There was something so refreshing reading about these adults who were still figuring life out well into their 20’s and encroaching on their 30’s. It’s so funny how when you are a kid you think by 30 you’ll be old and have everything worked out, family, career, home, children, etc. But that’s not always the case, and it’s funny how far from old and grown-up you feel as 30 looms on the horizon. How can you still feel so like 20 year old you, but also so completely different. I felt like The Pact captured this perfectly.
I really dug the beginning and how it skipped around a little throughout the years since the day the pact had been made. It almost had a kind of When Harry Meets Sally feel to it that I loved! Like Linden and Stephanie’s time just never seemed to be right for years. I also love a good best friend romance. I mean that’s the dream right?
“Isn’t that the best person to want? The person that knows you inside and out. The person who has seen you at your ugliest, and most beautiful and still wants to be with you. The person who believes in you and has your back, no matter what.”
While I guess you could say that these characters were a little more subdued than Halle usually writes, you could still see a lot of her trademark brazenness come through. Linden’s dirty mouth made me blush a few times, and I LOVED every minute of it. He also said some of the toothachingly sweetest things as well. He was sugar and spice, to the 100th degree! Halle’s characters always seem to have at least something naughty going on with them, along with a killer sarcastic sense of humor, and it makes me love them even more for it.
“Have I told you how fucking hot you look tonight?” His warm breath tickles me.
“No. Do go on, though.”
“Your dress is amazing.” He’s right about that. It’s strapless red satin to my knees, with a corset waist that sucks me in and makes my breasts look ridiculous. “You look like a Disney Princess.”
“A Disney Princess?”
“Yeah,” he whispers roughly. “One of those princesses who look like they might give you a BJ if you play your cards right but in the end she probably won’t.”
The build up of tension between Linden and Steph, and even the inevitable struggle with expanding on their relationship and what it would mean for their friendship was a fantastic journey. It’s always scary to take that leap from being friends to something more, because either way, things between you two will never be the same.
I also found the relationships between the three friends, Linden, Steph, and James so realistic and completely relatable. I think every woman in her time has had at least one guy friend that had hoped for something more between you two, even when the feelings were not reciprocated. It almost never ends well. Especially when those unrequited feelings grow bitter with time.
These 3 amigos were a time bomb just waiting to explode, and I couldn’t help being wrapped up in this faintly familiar, and totally enchanting story. The inevitable combustion between these friends cut deep though. I was honestly kind of shocked at how Linden ended up handling everything. Even though he’s kind of a child in terms of maturity in relationships, it still knocked me on my ass when he screwed the pooch. I knew a rift was coming, but I was not expecting it to that extent. I had hoped for a little more from Linden after everything we had seen, and I think that’s where my rating went to just below perfection.
I highly recommend this book, especially for anyone looking for a smart, relatable, ADULT contemporary romance. Way to knock this out of the park Halle!!!