Dark Touch by Aimee L. Slater | Rating: ★★★☆☆
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
Dark Touch is a success in many ways: tackling abuse realistic and holding on to the aftermath it has on the victim, expressing a heart and soul that goes so deeply you almost forget it’s fiction. Aimee L. Slater has a certain sense of honesty in her prose that leads us to a dark and poetic experience and it’s what will ultimately make this release stand out in its genre. Another unique quality to it, is our lead Tully’s ability to transfer what she’s feeling by a simple touch–it adds a supernatural element to it but ultimately it’s not explained enough that you kind of can’t help but wish it had been left out.
That being said, Tully in particular is a great lead. Her voice as a narrator is something that provides us with chills and honesty. She’s easy to relate to and she could very much so be anyone. Although her story–the loss of her mother and then struggles of her home-life with an abusive, alcoholic father–is indeed fictional, it’s an all too real glimpse into many’s life. I physically hurt when I read what she has been subject to go through in the years, and it’s impossible to not want the best for her.
Tully is very broken in a lot of ways due to her upbringing and her past, and seeing all the nods to it and the effects it’s had on her is brutally honest and will surely shatter readers. Especially in the pages leading up to the climax and her own self sabotage. The more we learn about Tully, the more we love and root for her to find some sense of peace and establish a new life for herself.
I don’t appreciate how people treat Tully like she is nothing more than a creature from the swamp–it’s awful and you know instantly why she feels the way she does about herself. This tone shows once again how cruel people and life can be and it makes her all the more sympathetic to the audience. I think it should be said, too, how strong she is and that what she has endured will have left a mark but we get the feeling she’s going to fight the darkness and that’s honestly a wonderful thing.
As for everything else, Dark Touch is not only a story of recovery and living in the shadows of abuse and depression, it’s also a love story. There were a lot of flaws in the way that the romance was brought about (I’m not really sure where it came from) and it frustrated me, but at the same time I appreciate it deeply.
When Tully meets Chris, it’s heartbreaking to see her internal struggle even well after she warms to him. She thinks so lowly of herself that she can’t help but wonder what he could see in her and this goes beyond all else. Chris is kind and gentle and loving and seems to fall head over heels for her the second they meet and the feeling is mutual. Because Tully has never been treated as well, so much like a human, she has a lot of conflict when it comes down to their emotions.
Nonetheless, they grow together. Chris doesn’t make huge strides to fix her but he does lend her support and genuine love and affection that she so needed. Although their romance started off instantaneously, I will give Aimee a hand for portraying it in the way she did. It was supportive and heartbreaking and full of so much emotion that, as they grow, you come to love them as individuals and a couple.
Chris and Tully are opposites but they just work together. Which is exactly what scares Tully and why she does what she does towards the end of the novel. I liked how things ended and were resolved though, and that the story ends on a happier note. Dark Touch captures the essence of life wonderfully in those final chapters and explores the dynamic between Tully and her counselor, and in the climax of it all we get a lot of closure and a promise of change.
It ends with resolution and romance, Chris and Tully working things out after both nearly lose each other, and it also ends with a promise that Tully is going to work away from her past and that gives us a huge sense of possibility.
Overall, it had its flaws but was still a solid release that will leave readers with tears in their eyes and love in their hearts. Tully isn’t a character I’ll forget any time soon.