Plier Book Review: Jane Washington's RH Gem

Plier Book Review: Jane Washington's RH Gem

 Plier Book Cover

Plier by Jane Washington definitely takes the prize of the best Reverse-Harem book of 2023.

Whenever I delve into a literary world crafted by Jane Washington, I am utterly ensnared. Her narratives wrap around me, a whirlwind of words that makes hours vanish as if by magic. Before I know it, I'm turning the final page, wishing there was more. Washington's prose is not just compelling—it's utterly bewitching, promising a riveting journey from the first sentence to the last.

Trigger Warnings: attempted rape, sexual assault, bullying (not by the MMCs), physical & emotional abuse, trauma, panic attacks

What to expect:
∘ New Adult
∘ Paranormal Romance
∘ Alternative Omega Verse
∘ Multiple POV
∘ Huge Reverse-Harem
∘ Dancer FMC
∘ Morally Grey/Bankrupt MMCs
∘ Loveable MMCs
∘ Delicious Banter
∘ Tension & Spice
∘ Secrets

Tropes:
∘ Strangers to Friends to Lovers
∘ Rejected Mates
∘ Slowburn
∘ Professor x Student
∘ "Who did this to you?"


Summary
Ironside is more than a regular academy. It’s also the biggest reality TV show in the world … and a very elaborate, very luxurious prison. Their hallowed halls are ruled by the powerful Betas and the middling Omegas, with the plentiful Deltas as their main targets, but this year, the officials are stirring things up.

Isobel Carter—the only rare Sigma to be accepted—is the first sign. But there are others. Many others. A sudden influx of precious Alphas will turn academy life, and Isobel’s life, upside down. She might be the lowest rung on the ladder, but in order to survive Ironside, where social media is king and consequences are deadly, she will need to make her mark.

She will need to climb.

This isn’t a game for the faint of heart, and those who rise should be prepared for a beautiful, brutal fall.

Beware the pretty posers, because this social media game just got dangerous.



Plot

In my literary explorations, I've seldom crossed paths with novels that blend the allure of reality TV with the fantastical, yet 'Plier' stands in a league of its own. It elevates the genre with a masterful infusion of the supernatural, dialing up the intrigue to new heights.

Isobel's tale is one of fleeing a personal hellscape, only to be ensnared by a new kind of torment. In the cutthroat arena of Ironside, anonymity is a luxury she can't afford, her very essence marking her as prey in a den of predators.

Her plight deepens with an unforeseen twist — an Alpha's friendly overture shatters her invisibility. Suddenly, she's thrust into the limelight, a curiosity to some and a mark for others, her presence igniting a game of power and the thrill of the hunt.



Worldbuilding
The book has an intricately crafted world with a well-defined rank system and a thorough description of the magic system. I found myself captivated by every intricate detail about the characters' powers and the rules of society. It was fascinating to read about, and I didn't want to overlook any aspect of it, which is why I highlighted every bit of information presented.

"It wasn’t that Sigmas were hated, necessarily. It’s just that they weren’t interesting. They all had the same power. Empathy. Isobel could take on people’s negative feelings, leaving them lighter and happier."


Characters

∘ Isobel
Isobel Carter is a Sigma, born to an Alpha father. Despite growing up in a somewhat luxurious life compared to others, she has endured years of abuse at the hands of the man who was supposed to be a parent to her and keep her safe.
Her tragic past didn't succeed in breaking her, and neither will these students who are set on making her years at the academy hell.
She's a survivor. She'll show no weakness. Not in front of the cameras and not in front of them.
Isobel is a sweet girl who's often showing concern for others' well-being, even though they're undeserving of her kindness. It's impossible not to become invested in her story and root for her. She's a strong character who has earned my admiration, and I couldn't help but shed a few tears whenever she faced the consequences of her powers or endured yet another attack. She hides her emotions beneath a frigid, stone-faced exterior.

“What was the point of an apartment in the sky, with doormen and porters and a private chef if she spent all her time hiding from weighty footfalls and lights flickering on in the middle of the night?”

"She was different. She had teeth. She bowed, just like the Sigmas were taught to— but she refused to break. She had just used him— an Alpha, a predator— to hide her tears from the cameras, to conceal her momentary weakness."

“Her mother always tried to smile with kindness, but no amount of empathy could hide a pain as long-standing as hers.”


"She was a Sigma. A never-ending vessel for pain, sorrow, fear, and anger, but as much as she could take it away from other people, she couldn’t ever seem to expunge it fully from herself."




∘ The Alphas
This was my first time reading a Reverse-Harem(why-choose) book where there are so many love interests and I have to admit that I'm impressed by Jane's ability to craft characters with distinct and diverse personalities. It was easy for me to tell them apart, which is an essential aspect for me when reading RH books.

"She seemed overwhelmed with three Alphas crowding up her closet of a room, but she needed to get used to that if she wanted to be friends with Theodore. They were a unit until they graduated. That was non-negotiable. Every one of them had to be protected, even if it was from themselves."


The Alphas haven't asked for her help, and she definitely hasn't asked for theirs. However, after she helps one of them, they start rushing to her aid, despite her refusal to accept it.
In fact, some of them go as far as taking it upon themselves to seek revenge on her behalf. There's nothing I enjoy more than when the MMC(s) take such actions.

" The grey storm was carefully restrained, his expression guarded.
“Who did this?” He waved the bloodied paper towel, a subtle warning in his tone. It didn’t really sound like it was for her.
“I don’t want to tell you,” she said quietly.
“That makes two of us.”


In addition, there is an underlying mystery surrounding these men, and I am eagerly anticipating the revelation of what they are hiding.
While observing their interactions and the development of their relationship with Isobel, I find their connection with each other particularly intriguing. They're all really supportive, they care for each other, have each other's backs, and it seems like there are no secrets between them. It adds another layer of complexity and intrigue to the story.

"Kilian wasn’t sunny like Theodore and Niko, moody like Moses and Oscar, stupid- smart like Gabriel and Elijah, or tough like Mikel and Kalen. Maybe he was like Cian, but Cian was wily and guarded his heart behind a ten-foot wall of mystery, which was guarded by a twenty-foot wall of charm. Kilian was softer than the rest of them. He was fucking sensitive, dammit."


‣ Some of my favorite Alphas so far are:
Overprotective and BFF material - Theodore
Sweet, soft-hearted and precious - Killian
Dark, mysterious, and kinda made me want to pee myself - Oscar
Damaged, shy, protect him at all cost - Moses
Charming and flirty - Cian
Granted, we don't know much about any of them yet, but I'm excited to learn more in the next books.


Romance
As I've come to anticipate from Jane's books, this series has all the makings of a slowburn romance, which happens to be my favorite trope. I love it when there is a buildup to the romance, especially when there are multiple love interests.

There are already subtle signs of deeper emotions and connections forming between Isobel and a few of the men, but the gradual development of romance allows me to fully invest in the characters and their stories. It gives dimension to the story by allowing us to see the progression of emotions and the complexities of each interaction.

With every page, I find myself eagerly awaiting the moments when these connections will deepen and evolve, all while relishing the deliciously slow pace that keeps me hooked. The anticipation is palpable, and I can't wait to see how these relationships develop in the upcoming books.

Conclusion
Fast-paced, filled with action, tension, angst, and laugh-out-loud moments, this book has been an entertaining read!
I eagerly anticipate uncovering the secrets and witnessing the further development of the characters' relationships in the series. While there are two more books out for the series, I am waiting till the series is finished to continue reading. I hate book hangovers.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.