Let me just start by saying that All He’ll Ever Be is not one book but four books in one. The entire Merciless series is encased under this title.
The city is on the brink of a War. While the Cross Brothers won’t start it, you can be sure they will finish it but at a price. Carter Cross wants Aria Talvary as his war prize.
Carter’s character kind of felt flat to me. He had Aria kidnapped and kept her trapped in a literal cell until she could obey his every order. However, while he claimed to love Aria as a person and not a possession, his mentality doesn’t change from the time he first met her until the end of the book. It’s either his way or the high way. He also had a lot of repetitive dialog about how Aria will end up hating him in the end.
On the other hand, I liked Aria’s character development. When we meet Aria she was a weak girl trapped in a cage. Whether it be the cage of her father’s house or the cell Carter put her in. She is a victim plagued by a past that haunted her and the uncertainty of her future. But by the end of the series, she stood up, ready to kill to save her people, and was giving orders like a real boss bitch, even if it was a bit misguided.
However, some things made me not like All He’ll Every Be. I normally like dark romance, dominance, etc. However, the lack of initial consent in this book rubbed me the wrong way. At every step, this book just felt wrong to me and it didn’t get better. It didn’t feel like Aria and Carter built a connection or relationship. It all felt forced. One reviewer listed this book as a how-to manual for Stockholm syndrome and I kind of agree. I really struggled to get through this one.
One interesting storyline that I wish got developed more surrounds Carter hearing Aria’s voice which in turn saves his life. I find that this is the basis of Carter’s love/hate for Aria yet the explanation is somewhat lacking.
I think I’d give All He’ll Every Be 2.5 stars. This book is another Beauty and the Beast retelling. I think my problem with this book stems from the fact that I recently read Secret Beauty by Amelia Wilde and love it. This version just didn’t hit all the boxes the same way.
The author chose bruschetta as the dish for this book. While there was no mention of Bruschetta at all in the book, the author thought it was something that Aria would make. So let’s make Bruschetta.