Review: Ultimatum by K.M. Walton

Review: Ultimatum by K.M. Walton Ultimatum by K.M. Walton
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7th 2017
Pages: 320
Source:Copy provided from author for review
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A gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must decide what's more important: family or their differences.

Oscar is misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he's been disrespected and bullied by his family, and he seeks refuge in his art. Vance is a popular athlete and wishes his brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother's death without Oscar getting all emotional. Vance just wants to throw himself into partying, to live.

But when their father's alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two boys must come face-to-face with their demons-and each other-if they are going to survive an uncertain future.


First, a big Happy Book Birthday to Ultimatum!! I love when I can post a review of a book I like on its birthday, and today is that day, so yay! 🎉🎊🎉🎊

Holy emotional rollercoaster, friends. I really wasn’t sure what to expect going in- just that it was about brothers, and was probably going to mess with my feels. And it was, and it did, but it was also so much more. The story alternates not only between the brothers’ POVs, but between past and present. Oscar narrates what is currently happening in the hospice with their dad, while Vance tells us about the events from three years ago until recent times.

So at first, I wanted to throw Vance in front of a moving train. Or something equally horrific, feel free to use your imagination. He was awful, and if he was awful, he father was infinitely worse. After the death of their mother, Vance and his dad basically did nothing to make Oscar feel human, let alone welcome in the family. And let’s just get this out of the way: Their dad is a real piece of crap through most of the book. He has alcohol problems, but that doesn’t excuse his behavior or excuse how clearly he failed his sons. It was, frankly, hard to read, because you just wanted to swoop in and rescue them both.

But as the book unfolds, there are just so, so many layers to both boys’ stories. I don’t want to say too much, but the level of character development and growth that happens in just the span of this novel is incredible. And yes, it is heartbreaking, watching these two young men become orphans, as we, the reader, are as helpless as they are to stop it.

I think one of the best parts of the book is how the author breaks up those gut-wrenching hospice scenes with the flashback chapters. Had she not done that, I think the emotional toll would have been overwhelming, and honestly taken away from the characters’ story. But the way it was done was so perfect, it allowed the reader to cope with the depressing present while really getting the full story behind the boys’ relationships and personalities.

Bottom Line: Ultimatum was thought provoking, emotional, and both heart breaking and uplifting at once. It showed the fragility of life, the importance of family, and the presence of hope all around us.

What do you think about books that really pull at your heartstrings? Do you read a book knowing full well it is bound to make you cry?

(I totally do. It’s cathartic!)

Posted March 7, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 15 Comments

15 responses to “Review: Ultimatum by K.M. Walton

  1. Sam

    Ooooh, I really wanted to read this. I just need to make sure I am in the right headspace for heavy/sad books. I do tend towards lighter, dare I say, fluffy books, because I can run blue. However, if all is right with the world, I can read a sad one, and come out ok on the other side. =)
    Love your review!

  2. I hadn’t heard of this, Shannon, but it sounds fantastic. I love books that have great character development and this certainly seems like it has awesome character development. It does sound super heartbreaking though, so I’ll have to brace myself. I’ll try to find this at the library!
    Great review, Shannon!

  3. I am lucky enough to get ARC approved on Netgalley, but I still haven’t got to it! Your review really makes me even more excited, it sounds similar with I’ll Give You the Sun, and I love reading about complex family relationships 🙂

  4. I wasn’t sure if I’d like this or if it would feel manipulative but after reading your review I’m totally game. The structure with flashbacks reminds me of GOODBYE DAYS (read that if you haven’t because omg) which I loved. It’s nice to have that pause in the tension. Great review! You’ve sold me.

  5. I really want to read this now! It sounds INCREDIBLE, but utterly heartbreaking too. I’m still recovering from the ordeal The Serpent King put me through but I’d like to get to this someday! Great review! 🙂

  6. Wow. This sounds like a seriously emotional, tough read. Thankfully, I’m usually all “bring on the heartache!” (Glutton for punishment, much? Why yes, yes I am.) My heart already hurts for Oscar and I want to hug him.

  7. I neeeeed this. Brother stories are mY FAVOURITE and I’m so annoyed I got disapproved for the ARC.😭😂 But anyway I shall just need to put this on my buy list even if I secretly don’t like the cover. haha. SO CONSIDER ME SOLD, YOU WONDERFUL REVIEWING QUEEN.

  8. Man to lose their mom and then have to lose the dad too… I can see where it would be a wrenching read! So glad this worked and the author was able to work in the character development with the modern day stuff.

  9. I LOVE books with great characters and character growth, so I think this would be a good one for me. I do really love emotional reads – I don’t always cry, but regardless, I love those realistic books!

  10. Sigh. I knew this would happen. I click on a review you posted about a book I have never heard of to see what you think and now I am forced to add it to my TBR. My TBR hates you, but I will probably thank you once I read and love this book. 🙂

  11. The cover totally put me off, but this review has made sure it’s on my TBR – the real one, the one I will actually get to complete in my lifetime 🙂 I love books with complex layers and brothers. Book brothers are the best. Great review as always

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