My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
This story is written entirely from Caleb’s emotional perspective. As the title suggests, this is not a re-telling of the first two stories, but a conclusion that offers sporadic flashbacks into Caleb’s dark past. While I didn’t necessarily dislike this addition, I found it extremely inconsistent with the overall tone of the story.
Epilogue opens with Caleb inviting us into his world—generously letting us step into his twisted and tortured mind. He speaks directly to the reader in a very personal manner, which I adored. Although I was happy to see that Caleb wasn’t spontaneously cured of his emotional demons, I must admit, it wasn’t at all what I expected.
I understand time has passed and both Caleb and Livvie have changed—but there were many moments where Caleb’s character felt too different from his original persona. Rather than appearing as a broken man evolving, he came across as two separate characters, and I couldn’t help getting tripped up by the blatant disconnect.
I also had mixed emotions over the way Caleb and Livvie were portrayed in a domestic, ‘normal’ setting. The fact that they were attempting their shot at normalcy was heartwarming, inspiring, and strange to witness all at the same time. Some things are just better left unsaid, and I feel the Dark Duet was too intense and exquisitely twisted to turn around and attempt a conventional aftermath where Caleb watches Harry Potter and plays Rock Band with quirky, upbeat friends. Not to say that I’d prefer seeing these characters bask in misery, but it didn’t feel genuine no matter how hard I willed it to.
That said, we do often see Caleb in a state of despair, fighting to extinguish his old ways–and he does achieve much redemption while doing so. Livvie struggles to let go of the pain he has caused her and remains a solid support system for Caleb.
“I was learning that happiness also presents new ways to suffer. Misery, I understand. Happiness is terrifying.”
I really liked the design of this story and how it was constructed to reveal Caleb writing his own book for us. This author has a unique and beautiful way with words and my favorite parts in this story were the glimpses of Livvie’s touching writing. The amazing Duet books will remain forever with me; they dared me to leap out of my comfort zone and I have found many more beautiful reads because of that!
All-in-all, this was a decent, somewhat uneventful, but tender epilogue that concluded a truly stunning series.
▪ Genre/Category: Dark Erotica
▪ Steam Caliber: Maximum steam
▪ Romance: Complicated, but evolving. Not entirely convincing.
▪ Characters: Showed tremendous growth; at times, characters felt too altered.
▪ Plot: While still battling their demons, Caleb and Livvie make a genuine attempt at a ‘normal’ relationship.
▪ Writing: Superb, dark, and intense. Author excels at engaging the reader.
▪ POV: 1st Person: Caleb’s epilogue
▪ Cliffhanger: None