SEE ME - by Nicholas Sparks

Year Published: 2015 - by Sphere. Paperback.
Genres: Thriller/romance/contemporary/drama/adult fiction/mystery
Pages: 503.
Author: Nicholas Sparks.
Source: Borrowed from a friend.
Goodreads: See Me

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. At 28, he's focused only on walking a straight line -- getting his teaching degree, working out at the gym religiously, and avoiding all the places and people that proved so destructive in his earlier life. The last thing he's looking for is a serious relationship. But when Maria Sanchez crosses paths with him on a rainswept night in North Carolina, his plans are upended in a way that will rattle the foundations of his carefully structured life. As for Maria, the hardworking lawyer and daughter of Mexican immigrants, Colin will challenge every notion she's ever had about herself and her future, making her question what truly makes her happy.

Before the couple has a chance to envision what a life together might look like, however, menacing reminders of events in Maria's past begin to surface. And as the threat of violence begins to shadow her every step, she and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tentative bonds they have forged, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?

My Review:

With the exception of Safe Haven, I've never really liked Sparks' writing or his stories. And when I have enjoyed them - to an extent - it's been because of the thriller aspect. Personally, I'm not a fan of romance novels that are solely romance. I prefer romance when its mixed with thriller, and that's why my main reason for liking book is very subjective. And why, however, I also didn't like it that much...   

Let me say first off, that this is much more a thriller than it is a romance. I personally don't think fans of Sparks' previous novels will enjoy See Me as much as his past works.

Sparks' writing has definitely improved. In addition, I found this book exciting, suspenseful, and gripping. It was hard to put down, and it kept me reading.  But it was also very melodramatic at times, and I felt like Sparks was too in love with his hero to give much focus to the other characters; Maria included.  
I felt like it lacked a point; a focus. It started off with the focus being on Colin and Maria's romance, but then shifted into the thriller "subplot" at the expense of disregarding their romance entirely. I could not root for their relationship, I did not swoon over their "love", and I wasn't sure what Sparks was trying to say or to prove. The bad guys got justice in the end, but Colin and Maria's relationship fell flat despite Sparks' halfhearted efforts to get behind it. When the thriller element ended with the bad guys getting justice, Colin and Maria's romance felt like it was forgotten, and thus the story ended without conviction on either elements - considering the thriller plot was a bit predictable and Colin and Maria's romance was now entirely out of the limelight. When their love was focused on, I found it boring, bland, and totally absent of chemistry.
Which brings me to the characters:

Maria started off as an original, lovable, and relatable heroine: her character was shy, quirky, and prone to panic attacks and overreacting.  But as the story progressed, and Colin got further into the spotlight, I felt like her her character drooped back into your average, innocent, pretty-girl heroine - or perhaps damsel is more accurate. She lost her original quirkiness and originality.  
As for Colin, well he grew more and more stereotypical and basically became the hero in every sense so that it was offensive, and cost Maria her strength and independence. Of course, like most of Sparks' leads, he and Maria were these two gorgeous people; with Sparks' male leads, it's all about the muscles, and with the women, it's all about her "full red lips" and curvy figure. It was predictable, annoying and disappointing.  
But on the plus side, I LOVED the character of Evan. He gave much needed comic relief, however mild, and I fell in love with him. I wanted to have him, he was adorable.

I think this novel could have been a lot more rewarding if Colin had had more to tie him into the thriller plot. As it was, Maria was the only thing drawing him into it, and if he'd perhaps been involved in her past some way then he could have brought more conflict and more reason into his existence on the page - rather than just being Maria's hero and the guy who saves the day.
I also would have preferred more depth to Maria's character. As soon as Colin entered her life, she lost her independence.  If only she'd been allowed to contribute more to the climatic outcome/fight, the end result and the scene itself would have had more emotional resonance and satisfaction.

As a thriller, if you just look at the surface, then yes, See Me is gripping and exciting. But it fails its characters and its romance. 

I give See Me: 3 flowers


  1. Sad to hear it failed in character and Romance. To be honest though I stopped reading Nicholas Sparks awhile ago, the few books of his I've read had me sobbing so much it took me ages to finish reading because I couldn't see the page! Nice review!

    1. I know :( I was hoping to like it.
      Oh no shame! I totally get that, he has made me cry a couple of times too. And I've sobbed blindly over other books so I know how you feel!

  2. I've never read a book my Nicolas Sparks (but I watched many of his movies), so I guess this one is not the one to start with.
    Anyway, sad to hear you didn't enjoy it that much...

    1. Interesting to know :) And yes, I wouldn't start with this book. I do personally think it's one of his better novels, but - again, personally - that's not saying much. And by "better" I mean writing quality, which, for this book, was a higher standard.
      I know :(


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