Flow, Grip and Still by Kennedy Ryan
Bristol in Flow:
These two characters are engaging. It is amazing to me how in the span of a novella, Kennedy Ryan is able to completely flesh out their characters and make them complex with their unique personalities and candor when talking with each other. This is where for the first time we get to see Bristol’s ignorance as well as her desire to learn and understand. We get to see her vulnerability and difficulty with opening up to others. We get to see her anguish when it all comes falling down. Although, their time together is short, readers can feel the emotion running through them. What they are feeling, the anticipation, the longing, and the attraction, all slides through the reader with every choice of diction Ms. Kennedy selects. By the end of this novella, readers will be a hundred percent invested in this story, in these characters, and in their happily ever after. I know I need it, like I need air to breathe.
Bristol in Grip:
Bristol will break readers. They will want to scream at her, beat her, and throttle her, because they see what she is doing. They know the outcome of her choices, and, just like Grip, it shatters them. Readers, although so angry with her, feel nothing but compassion for this emotionally damaged woman. Knowing her background and her relationship with her family makes the reader fully understand the choices she makes, but it doesn’t make the pain hurt any less. It makes readers want her to wake up and see what she is doing, to see the irrevocable damage she could be causing. When she finally realizes what her actions have created, she is at a loss for the destruction she caused, and although she could be angry and lash out, she accepts responsibility for her actions. As much as Bristol’s choices destroy readers, they will rejoice when her walls crumble. Seeing her own up to what she feels and what she wants is one of the most rewarding parts of the book. What I love most about her though is that what she once thought is her weakness, her open heart and willingness to sacrifice everything, she finally recognizes as her strength, as the one thing that makes her perfectly suited for Grip and the many social issues that will weigh on their relationship. In addition to that, Bristol is the epitome of how society should be in regards to social issues. She doesn’t hide behind her ignorance. She embraces it, asks Grip to call her out on it, and wants to understand and be better. She doesn’t use her ignorance as an excuse, but educates herself in order to be a better person for not only herself but also Grip.
Bristol in Still:
Bristol has been one of my favorite heroines from the beginning of this series. The way Kennedy Ryan is able to suffuse this vulnerable and broken girl with this fierce warrior of a woman astounds me, and the dichotomy of her character gives her a richness that is often lacking in heroines. Throughout STILL, though, readers get more of everything they love about her. She is still vulnerable and insecure at times, but these emotions are fleeting, and the confident strong woman who stands beside Grip appears quickly. In these moments, we get to see her love and passion for Grip, personally and professionally. With this novel, particularly, readers will absolutely connect with her. Her struggles, the strife, the unimaginable decisions she faces all serve to connect readers to her in a way I have, personally, never felt connected to a heroine. My heart broke for her and yearned for Grip and her to come together to make it better, and while they do, her courage and and fortitude and her unselfish choices make her among my top heroines of 2017. I dare say my favorite heroine of 2017!