Escape Room Tango [Romance Novel Review]

The key to love?

Location:  at home

Date Played: August 2022

Team size: 1; we recommend 1

Page Count: 282 pages

Price: $16.99 paperback; $4.99 ebook

Author: CC Bridges

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc

REA Reaction

There’s something fun about fictional characters who are a part of your own industry (or hobby)… and actually know a lot about it. Because escape rooms are less than a decade old, there isn’t a lot of fiction set in and around them.

Escape Room Tango scratches this itch. Because the main characters own escape rooms, their day-to-day revolves around designing and operating these games. It’s clear that the author has been engaged with the industry and this translates into the world of the characters.

Book cover for Escape Room Tango covered in red heart-shaped locks, text reads, "Can he crack the code to unlock her heart?"

Beyond the theming, I struggled to stay engaged with this story. I’m not a book critic, but I am an avid reader. I was just never fully sold on the characters’ emotional journeys or their motivations. But for readers of this website, that may not matter. This is a romance story set in a familiar and carefully crafted world of escape room ownership.

Who is this for?

  • Escape room fans
  • New Jerseyans… the novel was set practically in my backyard!

Why Read?

  • To experience a story set within your own community

Story

Two new escape room facilities open across the street from each other. The proprietors are all set to be rivals… but this is complicated by their mutual attraction. Can they be together and still each pursue their business goals?

Gameplay

Core “gameplay” revolved around reading. There wasn’t any opportunity to solve puzzles alongside the characters (nor did there need to be).

Analysis

➕ The author knows escape rooms. The portrayal of new single-facility proprietors a bit outside a major metropolitan area felt pretty on point. The book accurately represented the business of creating, owning, and operating small town escape rooms.

➕ I appreciated the additional business challenges that the villain character brought to the story. Although he was a somewhat cartoonishly evil bad guy, this plot line emphasized an issue that this industry has struggled with from day one: Are nearby businesses really competitors? It also shined a light on how internet reviewing impacts small businesses.

➖ I struggled to become invested in the characters. I didn’t care enough about what happened to them to devour this novel. They had depth and backstories, but I often couldn’t follow their motivations.

➖ I wanted more passion. The characters were enamored with each other, but I couldn’t feel what was driving this, so their passion felt a bit flat. I don’t have any authority to review the romance in a romance novel (it’s not a genre I read that often), but as a casual reader, I felt something was missing.

➕ There was a scene where our hero and heroine attended an escape room conference… where well-known bloggers gave a talk. This show felt very much like events we attended before we produced RECON, and that brought me joy.

➕The author created a mini “escape room” with Google Forms to promote the book. It took me less than a minute to solve the whole thing… but it’s fun promotional material for her audience.

Buy your copy of Escape Room Tango, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: CC Bridges provided an advanced reader copy for review.

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