Review Of “The Band 4: The Air We Breathe” By Marguerite Nardone Gruen

Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here.

Marguerite is on holiday in London, finally free after 27 years of feeling like a hostage to her strict and overbearing parents. Also in London, and struggling with his thoughts of freedom, is Chase Martin―one fourth of the most successful band on the planet―who knows that freedom can only come at the expense of his band-mates.

They come from completely different worlds, but when those worlds collide―on a rainy night in a small coffee shop―nothing will ever be the same again. Before ever laying eyes on him, his pain and anxiety somehow reaches her, and she feels moved to alleviate it… to offer comfort, which he desperately needs. After years of performing with his band-mates, they are closer than brothers. They are a part of one another, and the compulsion he is feeling to separate from them, is tearing him apart.

The strange bond Marguerite and Chase discover goes beyond attraction or desire. It goes beyond love or lust or anything either of them have ever experienced. It is absolutely terrifying, but to walk away from its pull would be like choosing not to breathe. This is a story of love, loss and heart-break… of family and friendship. This is their story.

Once again, I feel the unfortunate need to warn you that I do not intend to be harsh. But it’s my job to review honestly, and I find myself having very few positive things to say about this story.

I do have to admit that this story was an incredibly easy read. Something that I had no trouble flying through in only a couple of days. Would I recommend it? To someone who’s looking for nothing but pure fluff, absolutely. But if you’re on the hunt for anything of substance, stay clear.

I was shocked when I found out how old the author is. She has been married for over 35 years, whereas I was picturing her in her late teens, early twenties at most. The author states that the idea came to her in a dream. In reality, it feels more like she’s playing out a fantasy.

The Band 4 bares a striking resemblance to a little British band called One Direction, which would have been more than tolerable if not for the painfully obvious references to other celebrities. Chase Martin, our male protagonist has a best friend who is also a musician. He writes the most beautiful love songs, has red hair, and is named Ed Mehan. And it gets better. Marguerite, our female protagonist who happens to have the same name as the author, becomes very good friends with a hockey player and his fashionista wife, whose names are David and Victoria Baker. Eventually, the two lovebirds even make friends with the famous actor George Dooley. Not to mention Marguerite and Chase’s love story is told all over MVTV.

I swear, I’m not making this up. And while it may say that any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental, I think we all know better than to believe that.

The novel feels like a laughably bad fanfiction. While we’ve all fantasized about what it would be if we fell in love with our favorite celebrities (don’t deny it), it’s just hard to get past the fact that I spent two days of my life reading about another woman’s fantasy. And might I say, not a very creative one at that.

The story is simply unrealistic in every sense. Marguerite and Chase are engaged and married within a couple of weeks of meeting each other. Only two days after meeting him, Marguerite buys furniture and dishware for his house, as he begs her to stay and never leave him. The dialogue is forced, awkward, and completely unbelievable. For example:

Drew said to Blake and Quinn, “Let’s go see what’s going on over at his house! Something is happening there, because he was actually happy to be going home! Not to mention the good mood he was in today.”

Did I mention that one of the characters becomes a Professor at Oxford University at the age of 26?

It’s also clear that the author lacks vocabulary and range. She describes everything as thrilling, and whenever one character feels an emotion, they all feel it. Together they all laugh, or they all smile, or they all cry. I’m a sensitive person, don’t get me wrong. But I haven’t cried half as much in my entire life as these characters do in this book. Truthfully, it evokes no emotion in the reader. They form no attachment to the characters because the characters are all the exact same. It’s impossible to distinguish one from the other,  and it’s just as impossible to care about the fact that you can’t.

The author has a nasty habit of switching from third to first person, along with switching tenses. Combined with the complete lack of character development and the laughably ridiculous plot, I have no choice than to give this book 1/5 stars. And even that feels generous. While I imagine the author would have very much enjoyed writing it, the audience cannot take such pleasure in reading it.

As always, keep in mind that this is just my opinion! You can check out others, and the book itself, at Online Book Club!

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress

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