Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Atria Books via NetGalley
Goodreads rating: 4.52 out of 5.00 (pre-release 1, 500+ ratings)
Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.
In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.
Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.
Review by Chantelle
** May contain spoilers for Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)**
A massive thank you to Atria Books for sending me an advanced copy through NetGalley!
In no way did this affect my opinion of the book.
It's safe to say that I was really looking forward to this, I'm such a huge fan of Beautiful Disaster that I still rave and recommend it to everyone that even hints that they like to read. I had a few misgivings when I heard that instead of a sequel, McGuire would be releasing Travis' POV but I got over that pretty quick when I realised that it would be a great opportunity to read more about how they fell for each other, and a bit more about Travis as a person independent of Abby. I had so many questions; what was his life like? what's the story behind his tattoos? (and I know a lot of other people asked) when did he buy the ring? But most of all, I wanted to revisit that intensity, that addictive passion and that angst that made Beautiful Disaster so memorable.
I was so eager for more Travis and more Abby that I don't think I had fully accepted that this was Travis' POV and so a retelling of Beautiful Disaster. As someone who has read Beautiful Disaster so many times that the "good" bits are practically memorized, it was disappointing to realise that in this long awaited sequel, not only were 80% of the situations the same, but also, the dialogue. The fact that all the funny moments, all the angsty moments and all the intense moments in this sequel were simply repeated verbatim from Beautiful Disaster diminished their appeal. I didn't feel all those moments as acutely as I did the first time, and because of that, I found Walking Disaster, to my shock and surprise, quite bland. I waited a year and a half for this, I mean...
I know I know, you're probably screaming at me, Chantelle of course those moments have to be the same! It's Travis' POV and therefore, it should be able to stand alone from Abby's POV. However, I'm telling you right now that it can't. Basic things such as Travis' appearance aren't even included in this definite 'follow-up', it's clumsy, you wouldn't even know that he had tattoos until he gets the one saying pidgeon so it seriously begs the question why there is so little new material.
Back to my misgivings, I know I shouldn't be skeptical about a female author writing a male voice. I mean, look at John Green, his narrative of 16 year old Hazel Lancaster from TFiOS won him the title of New York Time's Best Novel of the Year. However, when they decide to make the tagline for Walking Disaster, "Find out what men REALLY think"... both the eyebrows and the expectations go up. It took awhile for me to get used to Travis' voice which felt a bit forced at the beginning, but eventually I didn't mind it. There were moments though, in particular when Travis refers to the girls he "bagged" before Abby where I couldn't help but question the authenticity of the male voice. Is it just me, or does a guy calling girls a "prostitute Barbie, or a football-player-slash-transvestite-whore" seem a little suss...
I'm sorry about the rant, but there is just one last thing, and I've left the biggest until last. Abby. Oh gosh. Told from Travis' POV, not only did I find her needlessly frustrating, but I didn't even find her likeable. I think the real tagline should be, "How women REALLY come across". In my review for Beautiful Disaster, I remember gushing about admiring "her game"... and now all I can think of is how lucky she is to have narrowly dodged being a spinster with many, many cats. And because of this, I realised that Travis' character isn't an overprotective alpha male at all, he's just incredibly insecure which is why he fights, and fights desperately. However, none of what happens in Walking Disaster makes sense if the reader doesn't believe that Abby is worth fighting for. In this respect, this sequel has disillusioned the very thing that made Beautiful Disaster one of my favourite books... which SUCKS.
However, all said and done, there were still redeeming factors. The ending in particular was quite well done for which I am grateful. The second half, which was quite rushed in Beautiful Disaster, is given much more attention, and so is a lot more coherent and engaging from Travis' POV. Walking Disaster is a must-read for any McGuire fan, mostly because there is a really cute, adorable epilogue. I want to reiterate that Walking Disaster wasn't terrible; those repeated moments are still great, enjoyable moments. I'm just not the hand-tingling, gut-wrenching, blubbering mess that I thought that I would be after finishing this sequel.