Sunday, January 29, 2017

Nothing Less by Anna Todd | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

Where Anna Todd's Nothing More soared in comparison to her After series--Nothing Less, well, didn't. Her writing has really improved in the years since she began posting to Wattpad, and it is more obvious everyday, but the entire conclusion to Landon Gibson's story fell flat for me. Nothing Less picks up right where Nothing More left off but there just wasn't as much heart in it compared to the first of the duo.

Nearly everything that made Nothing More standout just didn't feel developed in this one and that was, ultimately, disappointing for me. I am not one to take many new adult novels in the genre serious--but one of the things that strikes me about Todd's writing is that with all her books, her prose grows stronger. Anna is known for growing as a writing and exploring different tones. But with Nothing Less, I felt like she'd backtracked on her "each novel gets better" progress and it just wasn't doing it for me. I almost didn't complete it.

But here's the thing: I think fans of the series, and the series that spawned it, will appreciate it for what it is. A fluffy, smutty, humorous love story with the importance of friendship and respect of one's self sprinkled in. After has never been my cup of tea, per se, but it's always been relatively entertaining for me. I think that, another reason why this installment just wasn't my favourite, was it felt a little separated from what she'd already established in her work.


Landon felt entirely different from who we know, at times and perhaps this is because a majority of our sight of him had been through his best friend, Tessa's, eyes, and even Hardin. But even in a side-by-side comparison to the previous installment, Landon felt less like Landon and more like an-out-of-touch version of himself. I didn't dig it, but it's not necessarily a bad thing and is probably more of a personal preference or just me being picky.

A pro: Landon's story is far more healthy than that of After. I don't need to say it but kind of just wanted to throw that out there. If you liked only him from the original series--or his friendship with Tessa--you'll probably enjoy this much, much more. Something about Landon is like a bit of a moral compass compared to everyone in After and that balance is expanded in his own pair of books. And it also showcases his flaws; a more human side of him instead of the perfect BFF trope.

I thought his dynamic with Dakota, and their past, was tiring but interesting. I wasn't entirely invested in it nor was I invested in his relationship with Nora beyond their obvious sexual chemistry. Naturally, I was rooting for Nora and Landon to get together--and stay together--and knew what to expect due to the last bits of After. I did feel like Nora and Landon's chemistry was on a different level--and more gradual--than that of Tessa and Hardin, but at the same time it felt oddly familiar and reminiscent of their sex-scenes.

That's one of my biggest bones to pick with the format of scenes--the way the plots unfold don't feel unique or intriguing. It just felt like something recycled or put together from previous books. I wasn't into it, but I wasn't not into it. I'm not making sense, but, there you have it.

Overall, Nothing Less is a decent enough conclusion to Landon's story and I'm sure in her next book, Anna Todd will get herself back on track. But as far as this one goes, it wasn't particularly stunning or fast paced and dragged on. It could have been better but it also could have been worse.

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