Finally another taboo treat from K. Webster!! After the whole controversy surrounding The Wild ( which I devoured and loved, BTW), I was worried about not being able to get hands on such taboo treats from her, but I was truly very happy when she pulled through and gave us Hale. Wild was all about father-daughter incest in the wilderness while Hale is a brother-sister incest story in the city of Minnesota.
I don't want to go about comparing the two, but there are few points that I wish to highlight. Wild was actually wild with lot of dark, crazy and even non-consensual sex in it, but though Hale is also an unconventional taboo incest story, it is not that DARK and though complicated, it has a sweeter and lighter tone to it and for the kind of relation portrayed here, it totally works.
This story is about Rylie and Hudson. The tragedy of losing their parents is what really marks the beginning of their relation - comforting touches having a subtle yet girl sexual edge to them and do it begins BUT the truth is - Rylie would have already had feelings for her brother since years - this she describes to be her sickness wherein Hale develops such feelings only when he starts to console his sister and being there for her in her times of grief. But once Hale starts to reciprocate her advances and starts to feel similarly, she sums it up as he caught her sickness too. Though it's a nice way of logically seeing such a relationship, I wish there was more digging into Rule's head that made her develop such feelings for her brother in the first place. I am not saying it's absolutely necessary ( her feelings are palpable and believable) but it's been mentioned in the book that she had diagnosed with bipolar and repression, so more clarity on whether her actual illness had anything to do with fostering such feelings towards her brother would bring about more clarity.
I loved Hudson's internal struggle between doing the right thing ( what the society and law states) and just letting himself free to fall for and fuck his sister. These emotions bring so conflicting, really tore the guy apart and my heart completely broke for him. I felt sad and sorry for Rylie too. After the loss of her parents, her brother was her only hope and her only only, so her reaching out to him and urging him to take set out on this path with her was also understandable.
I also loved how K Webster has woven this heart-breaking, twisted, complicated and yet beautiful love story. Despite being brother and sister, I happily rooted for them as a couple! I totally loved them together. There chemistry was scorching HOT and those sex scenes were just AmmmmmaZZZZinggggggg. Even towards the end, there was quite a bit of drama but despite everything, it all tied up well and felt realistic! There were quite a few side characters but I didn't really connect much with them and though they did server their purpose, I couldn't pass a clear judgement on any of them. But nevertheless over an interesting, different and sweet read!!!
4.5 taboo stars