Review: Riven by Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish is back with Riven, a music centered contemporary with two flawed men who enchant one another and readers. There’s an age gap balanced by respect and trust. There’s struggle to overcome dependency, and there’s a fight to find one’s own voice in a world that’s almost too loud.

Riven CoverTheo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever. Goodreads

I’ve been a huge fan of Parrish’s work since last December and I’m so glad to continue to read how she puts so much into her characters. Riven is a character driven book that explores being in the eyes of the public and hating it as well as being a recovered drug addict.

This book is sizzling, emotional, intense and quite frankly, a favorite you’ll want to yell about to all your friends.

Meet Theo Decker. He’s a Reluctant Rockstar who quite frankly does not care for people knowing stuff about him. He’s awkward, passionate and likes his privacy. Don’t be mistaken by the long hair and the grungy outfits, Theo just loves being comfortable. However, Theo must deal with the public’s scrutiny and his band mate’s indifference, despite his long-time yearning to be a part of a companionship that understood his motives and wishes. Never finding his voice off stage, he feels this need to let the other three people that make up Riven kind of talk over him. Until one night roaming New York in disguise (bad disguise or not, he tried,) puts him in the path of Caleb.

Caleb Blake Whitman is older and stays away from the public’s eye for a good reason. Dealing with drug addiction due to his past with touring and making music, Caleb’s only solution was to cut himself off from everything. Even if that meant leaving music, his source of joy, behind. In Riven, you should expect to join Caleb on his journey journey to accept his fear, his constant anxiety, and his unerring hope that he is deserving of love and companionship. Caleb is enchanted on sight by the long-haired singer songwriter and from that night onward, their lives are intertwined irrevocably.

I just needed to make sure I was acting rather than reacting. That I was making a choice instead of allowing the tides of other people’s feelings to pull me under. -Caleb

Caleb and Theo are given so much space to be attracted to one another, to build a friendship, to be collaborators, to fight, to be furious with one another, and above all to learn how to put themselves first in a relationship. Riven provides one of the healthiest portrayal of lust at first sight that allows the characters to be flawed and to work towards bettering themselves.

You’ll find yourself entrapped by Caleb’s music and his journey to self-love, like Theo. You’ll also find yourself invested in Theo gaining agency and his own voice, like Caleb.

Riven is a superb read with a rating of five stars for heart, music, incredible prose, and above all healing. Parrish excels in delivering a story wrapped neatly in chaos and love. You won’t be able to stop yourself from seeking out more of her work.

A sequel in the same universe, Rend, comes out in late November and revolves around Caleb’s best friend Rhys and his husband Matt.


Title: Riven

Series: Riven

Author: Roan Parrish

Release Date: May 29th, 2018

Rating: ★★★★★ / Five stars

Genre: Contemporary

Representation: Gay main characters

Tropes: Lust at first sight, musicians, celebrities, age gap, recluse kind of farmer

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