Title: Aidan’s Journey (The Serpentine: Book Two)
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 326 Pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Blurb: The star of the University of Virginia theater department, Aidan Emery is lusted after and admired for living out and proud. He uses his talent and good looks to his advantage and never sleeps with the same guy twice. But his glamorous patina has been carefully honed to hide the pain he carries inside.
Aidan wasn’t always such a player. He starts college naively romantic, hungry for the attention he can’t get from his workaholic father and mentally ill mother. Unfortunately, that leaves him ripe pickings for predatory professor Rodney Montgomery. Rodney’s flattering regard seduces Aidan into a dysfunctional relationship that destroys his innocence.
Life looks up for Aidan when he finally breaks free of Rodney’s pull and moves to New York City to make it as an actor. Meeting sweet fellow actor Patrick Jaymes seems like the start of a fairy tale. But before Aidan can rebuild his life into happily ever after, family secrets rip him wide open, leaving him easy prey when Rodney decides he’s not willing to let Aidan go.
Review: Aidan’s Journey is the second book in the Serpentine Series, but it can be read as a standalone. The characters are featured in the first book as well, but you won’t lose any part of either story by reading them separately or out of order.
At the heart of it, Aidan’s Journey is truly a coming of age story, but it’s also a bit of a cautionary tale too. Aidan was a beautiful but lonely and even slightly awkward young man, entering college, when he meets Professor Rodney Montgomery. I hesitate to call Professor R a predator, but in actuality he’s very close to one. He’s a serial sex addict with a taste for barely legal young men and women. And, in Aidan’s case the taste lingers, and Rodney continually keeps Aidan wrapped in a pseudo-relationship.
Aidan grows through this relationship, but he also withdraws into himself and spirals into semi-destructive habits because of this ‘open’ relationship with Rodney. Rodney really is a sex addict in that he cannot remain monogamous, even to Aidan, after almost 2 years together. Aidan tries to leave him but is so wrapped up in the qualities that Rodney exhibits that he ignores the bad and hurtful things Rodney continues to do.
The relationship with Rodney and Aidan’s college years cover almost 75% of the book. Unfortunately, I struggled through this portion because I detested Rodney. I really liked Aidan, and his group of theater and film friends, and I wish they’d have been on-scene more than Rodney. I loved the dynamic of the relationship with Lucas, but again, Rodney still absorbed Aidan’s world and didn’t allow that to grow to its full potential.
There is a good story within the pages of Aidan’s Journey. It’s one that does happen, especially when, like Aidan, teens and young adults feel alone or separated from their families and peers. In Aidan’s case he had an absent, almost non-existent, father, and a mother battling mental illness. As Aidan grew through his college years, he finally realized he was important and he mattered enough to move beyond Rodney’s machinations.
I did ultimately enjoy the story that is Aidan’s Journey; this is just one of those books that is more backstory than fore-story. I like an even balance of past and current, or at least more of a focus on the two characters that are the main love interest. I recommend that you give this story a try and melt a little over Aidan.
You can buy Aidan’s Journey (The Serpentine: Book Two) here: