How Does It Feel? by Jeneane O'Riley
Typically, BookTok reads really come in clutch. This one, however, felt more like a flop than an addictive page-turner. Did it have great moments? Yes, absolutely. Was it overly violent and without any subtle allusions or clear underlying themes? Also, yes. I found many problems with this book the first and most noticeable being that the writing style was variable. At points, there was some very descriptive, beautiful prose, and then on the next page not so much. Some characters suffered by their lack of exposition and by the climax, I was ready to dismiss the whole thing entirely. The only thing that really saved this book for me was the last 50 pages where O'Riley spins things up into a nice hook for the next book.
"How Does It Feel?" (also... I really think this book needs a better title) centers around a young scientist living in a small town researching the anomaly of the luna moth population nearby. Callie, the main character, is clever, educated, and standoffish. Throughout the book, her characterization really kept me going. She had drive, depth, and a ruthlessness that I liked.
When her love interest enters the story, however, everything turns a little... non-consensual. This book can be utterly graphic and brutal at times. From intense gore, torture, and sex, this book is not for the light reader. While I saw that coming with this book, as it was recommended as a villain-centric read, I was not anticipating the complete lack of concern for consent that this book had, which frankly, turned me off from the main romance.
While a lot of my issues were redeemed in the third act, I still wouldn't openly recommend this book, at least without a hefty list of trigger warnings and caveats. Overall, it was an exciting but unsatisfying read with a good hook for a sequel. The main character kept me interested in her journey, and while the love interest bordered on creepy, it all got better with a glass of wine. A quick fae read? Sure, go forth and enjoy, but be warned that this book has issues abound.