What Kylie Scott excels at is creating compelling characters that own their stories. Play is no different.
When Anne meets her teenage crush, rock band drummer Mal, she makes crazy eyes. I think I did pretty much the same thing as soon as I delved into this story. Mal is thoroughly convincing as a slightly crazy, fan-spoiled, irresponsible flirt of a man. Scott would be risking making her leading man a conceited, unpleasant hero if she hadn’t given him a soft (not in a cliché way) core and a wild sense of humor.
A propos of humor, the novel is chock-full of laugh-out-loud scenes that make the atmosphere around Anne and Mal electric with sexual tension and palpable lust. Mal’s comical side also accentuates the darker issues that Mal faces, making the novel all the more attractive because of how compelling and intricate a character Mal turns out to be despite the initial impression of him being shallow.
The dialogue is witty and truly engages the reader because every line spoken between the characters adds to their personalities or forwards the plot. The pacing is relentless, also on account of the clever rejoinders flying to and from between Mal and Anne. The fast pace also mimics Mal’s hyperactive personality and the rushed lifestyle of a rock band. It seems like Ms Scott doesn’t leave anything to coincidences; every word in this novel has a specific purpose. This makes the narrative fast-paced, compelling and utterly enjoyable.
Although Mal is so over-the-top that one would expect the shy heroine to be completely overlooked next to him, Anne is still a character that manages to hold her own. She grows throughout the story, and we follow her journey as she begins to get to know herself. Towards the end of the story, she proves she is a woman with a backbone when she makes a choice that is painful, but right. Anne becoming the strong character who learns to fight for what’s hers makes the relationship between her and Mal so much more realistic and consequently more fascinating.
Scott’s Play is far from just another hot romance. It’s a novel with a strong plot, compelling characters and a very real attraction between them. What happens to Anne is bound to happen to every reader – you will fall for Mal.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.