Early Book Review: Under His Influence by Justine Elyot

Under His Influence by Justine Elyot is a novel schedule for release in e-book format on January 30 2012. Anna Rice is an innocent, vulnerable, romantic. After making an embarrassing mistake about which co-worker was asking her out for drinks Anna meets John Stone. The mysterious and enigmatic man sweeps her off her feet. He is rich, charming, and addictive. Mimi Leblanc is Anna's protective best friend, who is more than a little concerned about the whirl wind romance, and the heart of her friend. She does some investigating into John, and gets in over her head. Just who is John Stone, and what are his plans?

I am having trouble categorizing Under His Influence. Some might call it erotic suspense, or perhaps it is science fiction, or straight romance. I am just not sure. I feel like this book could have been divided into two full length novels, and each would have been better that the whole. Anna is not my favorite character; she feels more like a victim than someone that will find love from the very beginning of the book. She falls head over heels in love in mere moments. Mimi is much more pragmatic, and though might come off as hard-hearted, might just be the best character in the book. John is mysterious, and readers will have their suspicions as to just who, or what, he might be within the first chapter or so. Liam is a side character that seems to change dramatically throughout the book, for no plausible or discernible reason. The sex scenes are steamy, and a little over the top on occasion. The irritable attraction to John is important, but sometimes overstated.

I did not hate the book, and I am sorry that it might sound that way. I think I am just disappointed because the premise and characters could have just gone so much farther or deeper. The book could have been a toe curling erotic novel, or a thrilling science fiction story, but I felt like Under His Influence never really made its way to be either. It was interesting, and sometimes overwhelming. If you like science fiction and erotic, then you might enjoy Under His Influence. I picked it up, and briefly put it down before picking it back up to finish it. The story was interesting but I felt that in the desire to pack so much into one novel, there was something wonderful lost along the way.
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