Title: The Triad Trial
Author Name & Publisher: Lauren E. Mitchell (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 18, 2015 – 166 pgs
Jamie and Mez are in love—with each other, and also maybe a little bit with their housemate, Beth. When one housemate dies and the last leaves with no warning, the tentative relationship between the three begins to shift.
But life and love are easier behind the safety of four walls than beyond them, and hostile coworkers and an interfering, but well-meaning succubus may be more than the triad can handle. It’s a good thing they never actually expected this to be easy.
This was a difficult book for me to review, because I liked the storyline, and the characters, but there were several choices the author made that baffled me. First, there’s the point of view. I spent many years avoiding books written in first person. I don’t know why, really. Just knew that when I cracked open a book, no matter how much I wanted to read it, when I hit that first sentence (or however long it took to get to it) and saw that “I,” I immediately put the book down. It was jarring for me. Nowadays, I’ve learned to enjoy more and more books written this way, but that comes with caveats. Obviously, this book is written in first person, otherwise I wouldn’t have waxed so irritating about it. My problem here is that the pov shifts from person to person. There are four “main” characters in the book that we hear the story from. The author does a very good job of labeling, in the chapter headings, who is narrating for that chapter. But I don’t understand why there’s a shift in the first place. It would be an excellent literary device if each character had their own distinct voice. But really, this sounds like the same narrator from a different viewpoint. The pov switch was different, but could have been done in a way that was much more captivating.
The next thing I wasn’t sure about was Audrey’s character. I don’t understand why she was made a paranormal. It didn’t really add much to the story, because the only people who knew what she was were the other paranormals she dated, and herself. It may have explained her motivations for the things she did in the story, but it never really affected the story. So I feel that this was either a misfire, or a missed opportunity. And I’m not even sure all the deaths were integral to the story the author was telling. It seemed just to spread the focus more, making the book more a meandering journey, like Mitchell was trying to incorporate too many elements at the same time.
The last thing that made me think hard about my rating was actually the lack of sex in the story. I’m not saying that I needed blow-by-blow descriptions of sex scenes. But truthfully, I couldn’t tell when they moved their relationships into sexual ones. That’s a pretty core plot point when you’re talking about a polyamorous relationship. The whole start of sex between Beth and the two in the established relationship, Mez and Jamie, whether singly or all of them together, was very ambiguous, and it made it difficult to understand where relationship strains were happening in regards to attention and jealousy. I feel that this again was something skipped over by the author.
All in all, I enjoyed the story. I just feel it could have been better if it were more focused on how the three principles integrated their lives and feelings together into a working whole.