Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

beautiful oblivionReviewed by Joanna

Girl has to decide between long-distance love and hot, local bad boy. It’s a bit traumatic for all. Reader is frustrated with the narrator until the Very. Last. Three. Words. (Don’t skip ahead in the book; you’ll spoil it for yourself.)

This is the start of the Maddox Brothers series of books, but is associated with and part of the same world as Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. In fact, this novel parallel-runs BD and there are many scene overlaps. (Hats off to JM for precision time-lining.)

Cami is our POV. She’s a barmaid and part-time student and she’s pretty cool. She meets Trenton Maddox on her night off after her LD boyfriend stands her up. Trent wants her and she likes him, but as she’s not single, it’s straight to the dreaded friendzone for Trent.

Trent is the second youngest Maddox brother. We meet him in Beautiful Disaster. You don’t need to have read BD but to be honest, if you’re stuck for time; it’s by far the better book. So anyway, Trent is a tattoo artist and a bit of a stud, but damaged goods after losing a girlfriend to a car wreck. He dropped out of college and is living with his dad while he deals with it.

Soon, and for contrived reasons, Cami and Trent are working together at the tattoo parlor and going on non-dates with Olive, Trent’s neighbor’s kid, which is sweet if a bit unlikely. Cami eventually falls for Trent and has to decide between her two men. But there’s more than meets the eye with her LD guy, and the two men have something particular in common.

It’s a well written story with interesting side characters, and I liked seeing the other Maddoxes around and about. There’s Travis-time for those who love the hero from BD, BUT there is a big bit of news near the end that sort of ruined some of the magic of BD for me. Harsh, but on-character where it applies.

A big issue for me was how similar this book is to Beautiful Disaster in the format and formula. I’d like to have seen a different pattern for this couple. The whole thing about the Maddox brothers is ‘if a Maddox brother falls in love, he loves forever’. Well great, but can’t it work out well for at least one of them? Couldn’t the couple have found each other and overcome adversity together? I’ve read the whole series now and it’s the same all the way through.

I didn’t hate Cami like some other people seem to have, but I did find her predicament annoying. I liked her better after the Big Reveal, but I wanted her to pick a side sooner. She’s as guilty as practically all other JM characters in her lack of communication skills. I know, I know, if they had them there wouldn’t be any story or drama. Still, grrr.

Anyway, so there’s this big reveal ending – I hadn’t guessed and it slayed me. It was gasp-worthy great and it tied up so many things that bugged me through the novel. I had to go back and re-read key scenes to see just what the hell was really going on.

You may have to read BD and the epilogue of the companion book Walking Disaster to have the same impact.

Last point. Cami has three brothers and a cousin all with names beginning with C. I could just about get along with the Maddox brothers all having names beginning with a T, but another very similar family having the same ‘thing’ got me confused. I bookmarked the page with their names and descriptions but didn’t have to check back on it so it felt like a detail too far.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

Beautiful Oblivion
by Jamie McGuire
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books

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