Hey, hey, remember my review prior to this one? The one on Life After Joe and how much it could’ve been better? Well, Harper Fox, Joanna Chambers’ Humbug is the book you should read and compare to yours to see what you could’ve done better.
Unlike Life After Joe, Quin isn’t broken hearted and unable to move past his breakup with his ex. He’s career-driven and has a habit of getting obsessed with the things he does. Of course, he’s also an ass—a wanker and it’s something he doesn’t realize until his crush and colleague named Rob points it out. Both Rob and Aaron (from LAJ) share similar characteristics. They’re incredibly kind and accepting of their respective lover’s flaws. What makes Humbug work better than the other similar short story/novella is that Quin is better developed. He’s more solid and it helps that the story he belongs in isn’t rushed or filled with silly plot twists.
Of course, I’m pretty disappointed that Humbug isn’t a full-fledged novel. It has a lot of potential—a lot more room for angst, hurt and comfort. Rob could’ve changed jobs and Quin could’ve tried his best to win Rob back, going to and fro in order to convince Rob that he wasn’t wrong in trying to defend Quin’s reputation. Quin could’ve continued being stubborn and grow bitter. He could’ve shut himself off of the people who he thought didn’t hate him, telling himself that he didn’t need people like them in his life, only for Rob to break down the walls he rapidly built up. I know running away isn’t a smart choice but imagine the drama. Imagine the suspense as we readers hold our breath while our eyes rapid scan through the pages, praying for Rob to hold onto the belief of Quin’s genuine warmth beneath the thick layers of ice…! Ah, it would’ve been cliché but you can’t deny that it’ll be a feel trip, no?
Anyway, Humbug definitely made me cry more than LAJ did. It’s more realistic as well and I do enjoy the A Christmas Carol feel it has to it. Of course, on a shallower note, the cover is gorgeous as well.