There is absolutely no doubt that Malcolm, by S. J. West is a popular book. After listening to it on audio book, I did a search on Google for other reviewers – something I probably should have done before my purchase. Although I don’t think it would have helped me.

Surprisingly, there are very few reviews, unless you go to Amazon, but the book is literally sold everywhere with 4-5 star reviews.

Book reviews for Malcolm on Audible are fantastic. Same goes for Amazon, except maybe for a few outliers. It was published on Amazon in 2014, so it’s been around awhile. Everything you can find indicates this is a good book and worth the time.

So why am I so damn disappointed???

Let’s backtrack a minute with a book description by the author

Book Review Malcolm s.j. westOn the night Anna was born, she was promptly sent away from the down-world to live in the cloud city of Cirrus. That very same night her future was decided for her when she became betrothed to Crown Prince Augustus Amador. For twenty-one years, she has lived as Lady Anna, future Empress of Cirrus and proud daughter of Andre Greco. Although Anna’s destiny seemed laid out for her, fate intervenes to reveal the true path she was always meant to take. With the unexpected arrival of Malcolm Devereaux into her world, Anna knows without a shadow of a doubt that she has finally been reunited with the missing piece of her soul. Chaos and turmoil soon turn Anna’s once docile life upside down, but she knows with Malcolm by her side she can accomplish the mission she was born to undertake. Not only must Anna fight against the princes of Hell, but she must also find a way to help Malcolm stop living in the past so they can have a chance at a future.

My Synopsis

Spoilers here…

The prologue opens with Malcolm Devereaux sending a newly born baby girl to live with his best friend Andre in the cloud city of Cirrus. The baby girl grows up to be Lady Anna, a spoiled girl who has lived a super-privileged life and will marry the Crown Prince Augustus Amador and become his beard (Yes, Auggie is gay). Anna has some weird superpowers, like inhuman strength and being able to detect a lie, and her father trains her in self-defense and swordplay.

Not a bad setup for a story overall.

On the eve of her marriage, Auggie gets his soul ripped out by a dark angel named Lewis and takes over his body and position. Anna gets accused of working with rebels (who are never really explained) and goes to jail. Foster father Andre makes a deal with Lewis to free Anna, but now he’s been imprisoned in a secret location so that Anna will do Lewis’ bidding.

Lewis appears at Anna’s house, where she sits alone because all of her servants have been taken to jail too. He orders an attack on Anna by an archangel who holds one of the seals that will open Hell. Lewis leaves, the archangel tries to kill her, but Anna prevails and kills the evil archangel. That earns her a little tattoo on her back as a symbol of Anna holding that seal. (She later finds out that she’ll have to kill all the seal holders to gain possession of them and present them to God.)colm with her own kiss. And that’s it… cliffhanger for the next in the series.

The distress of getting the tattoo burned onto her back brings Malcolm to her side. Anna immediately, in that very moment, decides that Malcolm is her soulmate. With no buildup, Anna doesn’t understand why he doesn’t feel the same way – he’s just denying what he knows to be true. It’s all VERY sudden.

Anna still has to marry the Crown Prince, even though it’s actually Lewis, so she goes through with it so that she can be the Empress. She then finds out that Lewis just wants to breed with Anna so that he can have a child, and apparently Anna is the only one strong enough to do it. On her wedding night, Malcolm breaks Anna out so that she doesn’t have to have sex with Lewis.

From there, it’s all about Lewis chasing them. New characters get introduced, including a little boy who has visions of Anna and Malcolm being a happy family. At one point she is visited by her biological father, Lucifer, and then later by God himself. Everyone tells poor Anna to not give up on Malcolm and to fight for her man. She just has to be patient and help Malcolm stop living in the past.

Finally, Malcolm gives in to Anna, just in time for Lewis to find them. By some weird twist of fate that seems to come completely out of the blue, Anna poisoned Malcolm with her own kiss. And that’s it… cliffhanger for the next in the series.

This book was SO disappointing…

Let me start by saying that this book had some great story ideas. There was a clever setting and the idea behind the plot was really good.

The problem that I had with the book was that none of those great ideas where fully developed. Characters were often just shadows of what they could have been, and the plot made wild leaps that robbed the reader of a great storyline.

Honestly, I could have lived with some of that, if it hadn’t been for three things:taken the time to fully develop the storyline.

  • 1

    The whole “Malcolm is my soulmate” thing happened in a single scene. There was no development whatsoever.

  • 2

    The “why won’t Malcolm admit that he loves me” happened immediately. Again, no scene development – just a giant leap.

  • 3

    Absolutely no sex in the novel at all. Who wants to read a romance without sex? Isn’t that the point?

So I get that the author was trying to make the whole idea of soulmates an immediately felt condition between Anna and Malcolm, but it just didn’t set well with me. If felt sudden and completely ungrounded. Honestly, in the beginning, it felt like Anna was just being a spoiled child, wanting him, and not understanding why she couldn’t have what she wanted.

It’s a real shame too, because the whole concept could have been great if the author had taken the time to fully develop the storyline.

Ultimately, I probably could have ignored all the flaws that I found in the story if there had been some good sex scenes in it. I’m not one to read novels just for the sex, but based on the cover and the romantic genre, I don’t think it was unreasonable to expect it. What made matters worse, there were several scenes where the author alluded to the potential of different characters having romantic (or even non-romantic) encounters. It was like a teaser for something that never materialized.

Then when we finally see Anna and Malcolm start to get swept up together, the author halts it and sets up a clunky cliffhanger.

Unfortunately, I’ll never know if these two characters get to do the deed and live out their fated fantasy lives. The cliffhanger just wasn’t good enough to get me to pick up the next in the series.