Saturday, 17 May 2014
It was just impossible to get into this one. Everything about the book is two dimensional and cliché, and a badly formulated one for that matter. J. R. Ward also writes in clichés, but manages to often marry them to a fresh, unexpected point of view. I wish I could say the same for Kresley Cole. The characters are cliché, the story line is cliché, the sex is cliché (or disturbing). The heroine (see: the-gorgeous-limp-wristed-maiden with the mysterious lineage) is trapped in a hotel room by the brute, creepy hero who keeps pawing her at every given chance, because he is certain she is his life mate. Never mind what she wants or says, and she does say no loud and clear. Then, contrary to her own words, she jerks him off in the shower, while he is a total stranger who has just kidnapped her and she has never seen male genitalia in her life. Right you are. A six foot something hairy growling menace kidnaps me, I’ll jerk him off because I can’t resist his manly charms. Hello? Brain, are you there? Hellooo? Someone has to tell those women writers that if the rape fantasy was a horse, it has been flogged to death already, and they just keep flogging the carcass of the damn thing like there is no tomorrow. There are so many other possibilities they can explore. And as a general observation, after reading a few of the paranormal romance genre novels, I strongly believe women writers should stop using demeaning and stupid stereotypes, like the “no means yes” stereotype, regardless of the hero having an irresistible Scottish accent or not. What kind of message does this give? Press the lass enough and talk like you have a sock in your mouth and sooner or later you’ll score? Hmmm? I am actually grateful such books aren’t read by men, as they seem to verify and empower every negative stereotype on female behaviour I have come across, including the “read my mind and you’ll know what’s wrong with me, because I sure as hell won’t tell you. I’ll just sit here and pout” drill. Ladies, you can and should write better than this.
Back to the book. The characters… Another fantastic innovation. Oh, the distressed, mousy heroine, she is so weak, poor thing, with her baby fangs and everything. How cute it is to be a doormat and a spineless squeamish little porcelain beauty who is perpetually bossed around by others. Of course, halfway through the book she transforms into super woman, super heroine, super-you-name-it, because the mystery of her lineage is revealed. Duh. Then there is the mad male protagonist who has all the behavioural traits of a violent, overbearing spouse (regularly destroys furniture and clothes, does not understand the meaning of the word no, nearly strangles her, gives her baths against her will, uses her credit card without permission to buy whatever he wants including a car, blah, blah). Later on he becomes the perfect, loving, caring lover and of course, hold on tight, he is a king rightfully restored to his power. A huh. Of course he is. From that aspect, the book is a complete lunatic park with Valkyries who squeal and behave like school girls and various other unrelated, random occurrences and shenanigans. I do understand that the use of mythological beings is arbitrary to begin with, but Valkyries who talk and behave like 12-year-olds and love nail polish and pop-corn are something that made my hairs stand on end. If Wagner knew, he would probably rise from his grave and bring down the entire Norse pantheon armed to the teeth to deal with it.
The writing style and the plot crafting of the book are letdowns too. The style is unclear, confusing, halting, often falls short. I had to re-read whole paragraphs in some cases. Characters appear and disappear before the reader has any idea who they are or what they want. The story line is messy, often inexplicable, there is no chemistry between the protagonists, and I could not find anything believable about it. There is even the mother of all ‘plot twists’ we come across in romance books (see: another cliché, preferably narrated with a deep, ominous voice, hinting of impeding doom:) “I won’t tell you the truth about who I am, so inevitably there will be a huge and potentially lethal misunderstanding”. Whoa, now I can barely contain my excitement. I almost fell off my chair by the sheer force of unpredictability. I wonder what’s next? Let me guess, this will ONLY mean that the two protagonists will bond DEEPER when that is finally settled through TRIALS and AGONY because TRUE LOVE, YEAH BABY? Wow, just… wow. Never saw that coming. I swear.
I never managed to finish it. I flipped through and finally tossed it aside and gave it away via bookmooch.com. On a more positive note, I have been told that the third book of the series is much better. The brief excerpt from it does seem better, but I am not going to take the risk after the disappointment of the first.