The Heart Principle was not the cute romance book that I was expecting. While reading this book, I started to question the themes and the tones, and I was wondering what exactly the author was going for. I had a feeling it was a very personal book to Hoang, and after reading the author’s note at the end which confirmed by suspicions, I feel a bit bad only rating this three stars.
It’s just this book was not what I wanted or expected. The romance felt like it was taking a back seat here in order for the main characters to sort through their issues. I’m not even a hardcore reader of romance books, and I don’t sign up for loads of smut, but I was still expecting the focus to be on the characters’ relationship rather than on their trauma.
This book felt very dark, and I would say go into it knowing it’s not a fluffy light read. It covers topics such as anxiety, depression, burnout, cancer, death of a loved one… the list goes on. I think if I had gone into this knowing that it was such a book, I would have been a little prepared and I would have enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy such a book, anyway) a lot more.
I think this kind of story, which is really half-memoir, would have been better told as a standalone book rather than a continuation of the Kiss Quotient trilogy. I have no doubt that the author tackled such topics well and that this was all true to her. I’m impressed that Hoang was brave enough to share this story. I just don’t think this trilogy was the correct place to tell it. (In my personal opinion, of course. If it helped the author to tell it this way then it’s definitely not the wrong place to do it.)