Thursday, March 9

K. M. Walton - Ultimatum

"It's what we're programmed to do. We don't know how to find common ground, Vance."
He rests his forehead on the glass. "Maybe we should start trying sometime soon."

A gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must decide what's more important: family or their differences.

Oscar is misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he's been disrespected and bullied by his family, and he seeks refuge in his art. Vance is a popular athlete and wishes his brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother's death without Oscar getting all emotional. Vance just wants to throw himself into partying, to live.

But when their father's alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two boys must come face-to-face with their demons-and each other-if they are going to survive an uncertain future.

Ultimatum was both a lovely surprise and a terrible disappointment - one of those books that I can't exactly find a fault in, but it failed to resonate with me on a serious level even though I was super-duper excited for this grand, heartbreaking journey. 

My most important - and maybe only big - problem was how awful the family dynamics were. Obviously, families like this exist - heck, this is nowhere near the worst of how some kids have to grow up - and I knew what I was getting myself into, yet I never expected the complicated love/hate feelings the boys were feeling towards their father. But maybe that's just me being a stone cold, emotionless person? 

Anyhow, I got used to their complex feelings, but more than that, I accepted their feelings and decisions, despite not completely understanding them. As an outsider, that's the most I could do.

At this point, you might think what I called my biggest problem just a few sentences earlier became invalid. Unfortunately, no. On the contrary, I was highly bothered by a couple of scenes/parts that concentrated on the family's relationships. 

Just to mention a quick example that's not a spoiler: I felt like any kind of forgiveness* given to the father was pointless and, quite frankly, unrealistic. I'm sure this will appeal to many people, because it's not as if it was terribly done - the author really knows what she's doing - but not to me. I just... I found myself unable to connect to this narrative, because I do not agree with the notion that you can treat your kid(s) in a shitty as fuck way and yet still have a get out of jail free card, because you ultimately cared about them. Not that you apologized OR showed that EVER. Nuh-huh. Not cool. 

Another thing I didn't agree with was bringing up incredibly serious issues - physical abuse, for one - and then never acknowledging them. Domestic abuse - be that physical or mental - is NOT something one can bring up for the shock value and then leave behind without properly addressing it when it's not necessary anymore. 

As a romance lover, I'm usually fine with a romantic subplot being craned into most stories, not this time, though. I didn't see any point in adding a love interest for Oscar, who, to be honest, was close to breaking down, especially when the girl wasn't even well-crafted either. Yikes, not every YA needs romance. 

There's, however, a lot to applaud K. M. Walton for. The writing was good, the characters complex and the story well-thought out. Furthermore, the alternating point of views were exceptionally done, to say the least. Jumping from present to past can be freakishly tiring for the readers, especially with such an emotional novel, but in Ultimatum the time jumps were perfect. Oscar, the more emotional of the two brothers, got the present, while Vance, the one who changed and evolved more than his little brother, led us through the more important happenings of the past two years.

Overall, Ultimatum, while not exactly reaching my expectations, was still not a bad book by any means, so don't let me make you turn away from reading this. This was a well-done story about two brothers who are forced to finally address their differences. Albeit me feeling like the wrap up was a bit fairytale-esque and unrealistic, it's surely one emotional roller coaster of a novel. 

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 3/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 2/5
Enjoy factor: 3/5


*Had to change the word redemption to forgiveness, because it seems I don't even know what redemption actually means. Gah, the PAIN of not being a native English speaker, but still thinking I know EVERYTHING, so why check?? This should teach me a lesson for the future, but hahaha, do you even know me?  I'll likely do something similar soon enough. 


  1. I'm sorry this wasn't exactly a home run for you! I definitely agree that domestic abuse should not be used as a plot device and it's very disheartening when people do use it like that. I think some of the characters in this would really make me upset!

    1. Gah, I'm so disappointed this was a let down! IKR? I wish actual physical abuse wasn't brought up when the author failed to address that issue later on.

  2. Quote:
    "Yikes, not every YA needs romance."

    "Domestic abuse - be that physical or mental - is NOT something one can bring up for the shock value and then leave behind without properly addressing it when it's not necessary anymore."
    Unfortunately, this is still so common in YA these days. I hope the genre will ultimately evolve for the better, also thanks to reviews like yours.
    At least this book had a lot going for it in other departments. I'm sure that readers who like their HEA will get a lot of enjoyment out of it :).

    1. Oops, sorry for the gif not showing. I thought it would.

    2. I can understand where the redemption part is coming from. I had an alcoholic father. Luckily, I didn't have to live with him, but my first memory IS about him hitting my mom. But in the end, I can now talk to him, be friends with him. I forgave him. Because he quit. And that was enough. I mean, if that was the one thing he did in his life, that made it worth it and it is big enough...

    3. Haha, no problem about the gif, Roby, checked it out and love it! Glad you agree. :)
      I'm sure it'll be enjoyable to a lot of people, honestly! I actually nearly gave it four stars, as well, but the aspects I mentioned made me unable to. :(

    4. Gah, I think I used the wrong word there, because actual "redemption" never happened. The father didn't change, didn't apologize, at all, and THAT is what I minded there. There was one BIG good thing he wanted and did for the boys, but the terrible mental abuse especially Oscar received from him made me unable to appreciate that & forgive him like the boys did. THAT SAID, maybe others will be able to enjoy it more. :)

  3. I'm lucky enough to get an e-arc, but haven't read it yet. I really want to read it because it has the I'll give you the sun vibe, but I'm dissapointed to hear that this book fell into the same hole other books have: using important issues as plot points instead of addressing it correctly. I'm still going to give it a try though!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. I really hope you'll still enjoy it, Tasya! It was well-written with good enough characters, it just failed to give me all the feels, or address some of the issues properly. :)

  4. Eeep, I want to read this one! But I agree that it's dumb when books add in things like romance when it's not needed or well-written enough because it detracts from the rest of the story. Ugh. And that's sad that the abuse wasn't addressed properly. Although I still reeeally want to try it because brotherly stories are my fav.❤️💔

    1. The brothers' relationship WAS well-done, super-emotional and gah, just WONDERFUL at times, so I think it's totally worth it to read Ultimatum for that. :D


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