🌟 I read this for the Yule Bingo Challenge, for the category of Moaning Myrtle: tearjerker. For more info on this challenge, click here. 🌟
***WARNING - SPOILERS ***
Tarryn Fisher is a relatively new find for me. The first book of hers I read was MUD VEIN and I really enjoyed the suspense angle, even if it felt over-ambitious and pretentious at times. Then I read MARROW, which was close to perfect: a gritty thriller with a flawed, morally grey antiheroine done in the vein of Gillian Flynn.
ATHEISTS WHO KNEEL AND PRAY, on the other hand, is a typical new adult novel. The hero and heroine are both trash people. The heroine, Yara, is a British knockout who chooses to be under-employed despite her degree, and moves from city to city because she doesn't want to commit (it scares her). Mommy issues.
The hero, David, is an aspiring musician who also doesn't want to commit. Women inspire is music, and when he meets Yara, he immediately falls for her and jokingly-but-not-really proposes marriage. Then he stalks her, claiming that she's his muse.
"P*ssy is very inspiring, Yara" (99).
I really can't stand heroes like this. Travis Maddox is probably the most famous one, but this hero archetype goes all the way back to the alphaholes of the 70s: macho dudes who wouldn't take "no" for an answer, got into brawls to prove their manliness, and slept around like it was freaking Pornageddon™ until they fell in love with that one magical hoohah to rule them all.
"I was angry that other men had touched you before me. I was trying not to lose my shit" (61).
He didn't seem to care if I was having a good time either, because he was having a good time, and he assumed I was lively enough to join him (83).
What a creep.
Their relationship ends up on the rocks when an ambitious groupie named Petra appears on the scene. Petra used to sell beanies beside a bar that David and Yara frequented, and once she cast her eye on him, began showing up at all his concerts and events, even being so bold as to ask Yara about how she landed him (like, you know, she's looking for tips on how to do the same).
David and Yara end up getting married but Yara ditches him immediately after the wedding - because she can't stand commitment. He looks for her, and she finds out that in her absence David shacked up with and got engaged with Petra - even though they're still technically married. And Yara's moved in with a guy named Ethan who doesn't even know she's still married to another man. While these two jerk around their new relationships, they fight with each other, dancing around the idea of divorce while struggling to fight their continued attraction to one another.
This was some serious emotionally-manipulative BS.
Don't get me wrong, the author's other 2 books that I mentioned are emotional too, but this was some Molly McAdams trash people-level sh*t. I can't stand cheating plots, especially when the cheating is casually lobbed in their to regale the readers with drama. It's so lazy; it's the soap opera equivalent of an amnesia or dream plot. It's what you do when you can't think of anything else.
This book's saving grace is decent characterizations of trash people (beyond that 2D Molly McAdams trash people-level sh*t); beautiful descriptions of what it's like to live in a city (less savory aspects and all); on-point descriptions of artists and how pretentious and needy and pompous they can be; and beautiful writing. Apart from that, I wasn't really a fan. I liked Tarryn Fisher's previous works because they were different and stood out from typical run-of-the-mill NA garbage.
But this... this is that garbage. :/
3 out of 5 stars