Fallen Foe by LJ Shen

Fallen Foe by LJ Shen was a book full of disappointments from writing to characters to the disconnect of the romance.

At first, I was excited to check this ARC of L.J. Shen’s book. I had heard good things about her writing and was eager to dive into the story. She often writes more darker bully romances and this one I thought would be maybe a bit lighter on the front. As I read through the first third of the novel my excitement slowly dissipated.

My disappointment came in the male lead character. He was not for me, he left much to be desired. He lacked any depth or complex character. His fixation on his ex-step sister caused so much drama and animosity. Making it difficult for the reader stay engaged with him or endear himself with the reader.

The novel follows Arsene and Winnie’s investigation into their partners’ infidelity and subsequent deaths. However, the timeline of their love story is unclear, leaving me questioning their relationship. 

I found it confusing when Winnie discovers a USB drive in her late husband’s safe, containing pictures of Arsene as a baby with his mother. How could she have known who they were, given that she never met Arsene’s mother and never saw him as a baby? The reason why her husband had the USB drive is never explained. 

As the story progresses, Arsène meets Winnie, who is portrayed as a likable character but, at times, can be overwhelming. It bothered me that Arsène would switch from being an emotionless robot to a suddenly romantic, poetry-reciting man. 

Furthermore, most of Winnie’s character development takes place because of Arsène, which perpetuates the damaging trope that a woman needs a man to heal her soul. 

Character has a backstory and a niche they fill with in the story. The problem with this books comes in the plot holes. Story point introduced but never explained or that lead to nowhere. The author does rely heavily on stereotypes which feel overused and did not bring anything new to the story. The book was an easy read and well edited, but this book was not for me.

Book Stats:
Rating 2/5
Series: Cruel Castaway
Interconnected Standalones
Tropes: Taboo, Billionaire, Dark Romance