The Sharing Knife Vol.2: Legacy, by Lois McMaster Bujold

>> Friday, October 26, 2007

TITLE: The Sharing Knife Vol.2: Legacy
AUTHOR: Lois McMaster Bujold

PAGES: 377

SETTING: Lakewalker territory, mostly (i.e. made-up place!)
TYPE: Fantasy romance
SERIES: Comes after The Sharing Knife Vol. 1: Beguilement, and it's not so much a sequel, as the second half of a long book. I would definitely recommend reading Vol. 1 before you even think of picking up this one. In fact, better don't even read the summary below before reading Beguilement, because it will spoil it for you. Just go read the review of the first book, if you want to know if this whole story is for you.

REASON FOR READING: I loved Beguilement and I wanted to know how things turned out.

Fawn Bluefield, the clever young farmer girl, and Dag Redwing Hickory, the seasoned Lakewalker soldier-sorcerer, have been married all of two hours when they depart her family's farm for Dag's home at Hickory Lake Camp. Having gained a hesitant acceptance from Fawn's family for their unlikely marriage, the couple hopes to find a similar reception among Dag's Lakewalker kin. But their arrival is met with prejudice and suspicion, setting many in the camp against them, including Dag's own mother and brother. A faction of Hickory Lake Camp, denying the literal bond between Dag and Fawn, woven in blood in the Lakewalker magical way, even goes so far as to threaten permanent exile for Dag.

Before their fate as a couple is decided, however, Dag is called away by an unexpected-and viciously magical-malice attack on a neighboring hinterland threatening Lakewalkers and farmers both. What his patrol discovers there will not only change Dag and his new bride, but will call into question the uneasy relationship between their peoples-and may even offer a glimmer of hope for a less divided future.

Filled with heroic deeds, wondrous magic, and rich, all-too-human characters, The Sharing Knife: Legacy is at once a gripping adventure and a poignant romance from one of the most imaginative and thoughtful writers in fantasy today.
THE PLOT: In Beguilement, Fawn and Dag met when they had a terrifying encounter with a malice, which led to something unprecedented happening with a sharing knife. Since what happened clearly gave Fawn some rights over that sharing knife, it was considered (mostly by Dag, really) that she should go with him to consult a Lakewalker maker about what it all meant. In the time they spent together they fell in love, in spite of the high odds against them, and managed to get past Fawn's farmer family's objections.

Legacy covers the second half of their journey. It starts as they leave farmer territory, right after their wedding, and head into the Lakewalkers' land. And if you thought Fawn's family were hard cases about their relationship, you'll now realize that they were positively mellow compared to the Lakewalkers!

MY THOUGHTS: This is a book that almost fell through the cracks in my reviewing... I read it not long after it came out, in July, but then completely forgot to post about it. Well, the good thing about having this happen is that it gives me a good indication that it was a great book: it's now been over three months and I remember it perfectly!

In a sense, this second half feels a bit better integrated than the first one. In Beguilement, the two battles taking place (that against the malices and Fawn and Dag's struggle for acceptance of their relationship) seemed to be pretty independent. We had the first confrontation and the unique activation of the sharing knife, but then the whole malices thing faded into the background, with the focus moving wholly onto Fawn and Dag slowly falling in love and then having to convince the people around them that they were right for each other.

This last theme continues in the first part of Legacy, mixed up with a whole lot of fascinating Lakewalker politics and power-struggles, but then the malices plot pops up again and the two separate threads mix in a most satisfying way, one feeding the other. What finally happened with that sharing knife was perfect.

And both threads were just as good. I talked about what made Fawn and Dag such great characters in the first book, and expounded at length about why I thought they were so perfect for each other. That's still the case here, and this made the romance truly top-notch.

As for the world-building, with the malices and the Lakewalkers and their mission, and the tension between them and the farmers... in one word: fantastic! We learn quite a lot more here, including some clues on where the malices might come from, and some indications that this might be some kind of post-apocalyptic world (or was that just me getting strange ideas?), and it's all absorbing and fresh. The very idea of the malices is worth the price of admission, as it's quite brilliant.

All this said, I enjoyed this second half of the story a little bit less than the first. I think the reason is that I was left with a hopeful feeling after Beguilement, but not so much after Legacy. Don't get me wrong, I'd definitely call the ending a HEA, but while I felt the farmers might get over their prejudices in time (in a looooong time), too many Lakewalkers were unpleasantly blinded by them and would be always unable to accept Dag's choices. My grumpy "why the hell would he want to live with these people?" question was answered wonderfully in the great ending, but I couldn't help but be a bit sad.

MY GRADE: A B+. There will apparently be more books in this series, and I'm looking forward to them.


It's York now, and yes, more and more books!

>> Wednesday, October 24, 2007

1 ) This week, the photos are from York, and what a beautiful city it is!

2 ) Also, I got yet more books from the library, though I did return a few, too! And this week it was only 4 novels. I did get a couple of guidebooks in preparation for next weekend's expedition, but that doesn't count, does it?


My top 100 ballot

>> Friday, October 19, 2007

In the end, after worrying I might not have time to do my ballot, I did vote in the AAR Top 100 Romances Poll.

My ballot is just an update of the one I submitted in October 2004, but it still took me a long time to do, because it wasn't just a matter of adding new keepers to the list. I had to figure out where to put them and I had to completely change the order of the books already there, because my tastes have changed quite a bit in the last 3 years. I think the whole ranking ans sorting took about 4 times as long as the actual choosing of books. *sigh*

Anyway, here's my list. If you want to know more about a particular title, I think I've reviewed most of these, and you can find links to those reviews here.

1. Lord of Scoundrels - Loretta Chase
2. Gaudy Night - Dorothy L Sayers
3. Born in Fire - Nora Roberts
4. Archangel, by Sharon Shinn
5. Daughter of the Game - Tracy Grant
6. Shining Through - Susan Isaacs
7. Beauty Like the Night - Liz Carlyle
8. Heart of Deception - Taylor Chase
9. Busman's Honeymoon - Dorothy L Sayers
10. Winter Garden - Adele Ashworth
11. Naked in Death - JD Robb
12. To Have and to Hold - Patricia Gaffney
13. In the Midnight Rain - Ruth Wind
14. My False Heart - Liz Carlyle
15. For My Lady's Heart - Laura Kinsale
16. Ravished - Amanda Quick
17. Bet Me - Jennifer Crusie
18. Heart of Fire - Linda Howard
19. The Notorious Rake, by Mary Balogh
20. Demon Angel, by Meljean Brook
21. Anyone But You - Jennifer Crusie
22. The Bridal Season - Connie Brockway
23. Midsummer Moon - Laura Kinsale
24. Bliss, by Judy Cuevas
25. Mistress - Amanda Quick
26. Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh
27. Dance, by Judy Cuevas
28. Uncommon Vows, by Mary Jo Putney
29. Trust Me - Jayne Ann Krentz
30. Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh
31. As You Desire - Connie Brockway
32. Shadowheart, by Laura Kinsale
33. The Viscount Who Loved Me - Julia Quinn
34. Fever Dreams - Laura Leone
35. Over the Edge - Suzanne Brockmann
36. Midnight Bayou - Nora Roberts
37. Family Man - Jayne Ann Krentz
38. Breathing Room - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
39. All Night Long - Michelle Jerott
40. Crocodile in the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters
41. Welcome to Temptation - Jennifer Crusie
42. It Had to Be You - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
43. Heartthrob - Suzanne Brockmann
44. Hidden Riches - Nora Roberts
45. The Last Rogue - Deborah Simmons
46. Breathless - Laura Lee Guhrke
47. Lady Gallant, by Suzanne Robinson
48. Rapture in Death - JD Robb
49. One Summer - Karen Robards
50. Thunder and Roses - Mary Jo Putney
51. The Phoenix Code - Catherine Asaro
52. Trojan Gold - Elizabeth Peters
53. A Woman Scorned - Liz Carlyle
54. The Iron Rose - Marsha Canham
55. The Famous Heroine - Mary Balogh
56. Tell Me No Lies, by Elizabeth Lowell
57. Lord Perfect, by Loretta Chase
58. One Perfect Rose - Mary Jo Putney
59. The Gentleman Thief - Deborah Simmons
60. Witness in Death - JD Robb
61. By Arrangement - Madeline Hunter
62. A Summer to Remember - Mary Balogh
63. This Heart of Mine - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
64. A Great Catch - Michelle Jerott
65. The Shadowy Horses - Susanna Kearsley
66. One Good Turn - Carla Kelly
67. Paradise - Judith McNaught
68. Games of Command, by Linnea Sinclair
69. Mystic and Rider, by Sharon Shinn
70. Then Came You - Lisa Kleypas
71. Birthright - Nora Roberts
72. Lord of the Storm, by Justine Davis
73. See Jane Score, by Rachel Gibson
74. Fallen From Grace, by Laura Leone
75. To Love and To Cherish, by Patricia Gaffney
76. Mr. Impossible, by Loretta Chase
77. The Fire Rose, by Mercedes Lackey
78. Lover Awakened, by J.R. Ward
79. Match Me If You Can, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
80. High Noon, by Nora Roberts
81. Suddenly You - Lisa Kleypas
82. Two Little Lies, by Liz Carlyle
83. The Fairy Godmother, by Mercedes Lackey
84. Caressed by Ice, by Nalini Singh
85. More Than a Mistress, by Mary Balogh
86. Demon Moon, by Meljean Brook
87. The Sharing Knife Vol. 1 - Beguilement
88. The Silver Rose, by Susan Carroll
89. Bitten, by Kelley Armstrong
90. The Last Hellion, by Loretta Chase
91. Woman on the Run, by Lisa Marie Rice
92. The Raven Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt
93. Always to Remember, by Lorraine Heath
94. Spending, by Mary Gordon
95. Night Owl (from Hot Blooded anthology) - Emma Holly
96. The Devil You Know - Liz Carlyle
97. Lord of the Fading Lands, by CL Wilson
98. The Rules of Seduction, by Madeline Hunter
99. Something Shady, by Pamela Morsi
100. Love's Prisoner (from Secrets Vol 6 anthology) - MaryJanice Davidson


Oxford and more books

>> Thursday, October 18, 2007

1 ) I just posted photos from my visit to Oxford. There were so many of them that I ended up doing 3 parts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

2 ) More books from the library. I keep telling myself to read the ones I've already got first, but I can't resist!

Don't know if the titles are big enough to see... that's The Roman's Virgin Mistress, by Michelle Styles (and what an awful title that is!), The Rogue's Return, by Margaret Moore and Ransom Bride, by Anne Herries


The Dumont Bride, by Terri Brisbin

>> Wednesday, October 17, 2007

TITLE: The Dumont Bride (excerpt)
AUTHOR: Terri Brisbin

PAGES: 299
PUBLISHER: Mills & Boon Historicals

SETTING: Late 12th century England.
TYPE: Straight romance
SERIES: First in a trilogy: followed by The Norman's Bride and The Countess Bride.

REASON FOR READING: Lots and lots of Mills & Boon Historicals in the library here, and since I really liked Brisbin's The King's Mistress, she was one of the first authors I grabbed.

Christian Dumont Had Been To Hell To Pay For The Sins of His Father...

Now a royal command to wed would restore all he had lost--but at what price? For though marriage to landed, beauteous Emalie Montgomerie seemed to present no hardship, his countess harbored a secret dangerous enough to destroy them both!

Though she held her honor unblemished in her heart, Emalie Montgomerie knew that coming unchaste to her bridal bed was a sin unforgiveable in a noblewoman. Still, the desire flaring in Christian’s eyes offered her hope. . .but would the prideful Dumont ever accept another man’s babe as his own?
THE PLOT: When Lady Emalie Montgomerie's father dies suddenly, she becomes vulnerable to Prince John's depredations. He's determined to gain power over Emalie's holdings by forcing her to marry a man in his control, and before long, Emalie has been compromised against her will. In the nick of time, however, she's saved from having to marry the man by Queen Eleanor's intervention, who arranges a marriage with a man called Christian Dumont.

Christian Dumont has spent almost a year starving in a dungeon as punishment for his father's treason against King Richard. He believes he's about to be executed but is granted a last minute reprieve... as long as he agrees to do an unspecified favour for the King's mother. That favour ends up being marriage to a heiress and the addition of her extremely rich estate to his own holdings, which seems too good to be true. And he realizes it might be when it turns out his wife is pregnant, even though the marriage hasn't yet been consumated...

MY THOUGHTS: Well, this was disappointing. The set-up was interesting, and it could have been a really good book, but it felt like the characters were circling around the issues throughout most of the book, never really going at them head-on. The whole thing felt unfocused, especially in the first half.

Christian was an especially frustrating character. His history of having his honour questioned and denied through no fault of his own might have turned him into a more tolerant person, less ready to condemn others for a perceived lack of honour, but this just wasn't the case. The Christian of the first half was a total lout, and an unnecessarily cruel one, to boot. He arrives at Emalie's estate and immediately shunts her aside, even though it's obvious to anyone, even to him, that she's been running the holding on her own for some time and doing a fantastic job. Does he even consider the fact that his actions publicly humiliate her? He doesn't care. Does he consider that she might have some good ideas to add, given the success she's had already? No, he doesn't even think of it. So he's stupid as well as cruel.

And this is even before he discovers his wife is pregnant by another man, when he had no reason to believe anything bad of her. When he finds out about her "lack of honour", he goes insane, and I felt like strangling him. And Emalie doesn't help. She's so passive! She does try to explain to Christian that what happened was against her will, but he gets all outraged and goes "So you're crying rape now?" "Crying rape"?? Why should he doubt her? Idiot. And Emalie makes no more than a half-hearted protest. I mean, maybe he wouldn't have paid any attention, even if she'd protested more strongly (probably not, the stupid pig), but she doesn't even try.

I guess this was all necessary for Christian's later realizations about the nature of honour and what it means to lose it vs. being perceived to lose it, but it didn't make for a very sympathetic character. Plus, come on, man, it should have been obvious to you, considering what happened to you and your brother because of your father's actions!

And given his cruelty, I wasn't at all happy when the romancey stuff went into high gear. When Emalie started to get tingly feelings for her husband, I really didn't understand why she would feel that way.

MY GRADE: C- is really the best I can do. I'm giving it extra points for the atmosphere, which was good.


Innocent in Death, by JD Robb

>> Friday, October 12, 2007

TITLE: Innocent in Death

PAGES: 385
PUBLISHER: Piatkus (published by Berkley in the US)

SETTING: New York City in the year 2060
TYPE: Romantic suspense
SERIES: Latest in the In Death series (# 25, by my count)

REASON FOR READING: This is by far the best romance series ever, and I love every entry of it.

The phenomenal series set in a future New York City returns as NYPSD Lt. Eve Dallas hunts for the killer of a seemingly ordinary history teacher—and uncovers some extraordinary surprises. Craig Foster's death devastated his young wife, who'd sent him to work that day with a lovingly packed lunch. It shocked his colleagues at the private school, too, and as for the ten-year-old girls who found him in his classroom in a pool of bodily fluids—they may have been traumatized for life.

Eve soon determines that Foster's homemade lunch was tainted with deadly ricin, and that Mr. Foster's colleagues have some startling secrets of their own. It's Eve's job to sort it out—and discover why someone would have done this to a man who seemed so inoffensive, so pleasant . . . so innocent.

Now Magdalena Percell . . . there's someone Eve can picture as a murder victim. Possibly at Eve's own hands. The slinky blonde—an old flame of her billionaire husband, Roarke—has arrived in New York, and she's anything but innocent. Roarke seems blind to Magdalena's manipulation, and he insists that the occasional lunch or business meeting with her is nothing to worry about... and none of Eve's business. Eve's so unnerved by the situation that she finds it hard to focus on her case. Still, she'll have to put aside her feelings, for a while at least—because another man has just turned up dead.

Eve knows all too well that innocence can be a facade. Keeping that in mind may help her solve this case at last. But it may also tear apart her marriage.
THE PLOT: Eve is investigating the death of private school teacher Craig Foster, who was found poisoned at his desk. She's getting nowhere fast, finding no real reason why anyone should want to kill a nice, harmless man like Craig. Even when she finds some suspicious secrets in the school, things don't add up in her head.

It doesn't help that her relationship with Roarke suddenly feels under threat. Having hordes of women hitting on her husband has never fazed Eve in the past, but Magdelana Purcell isn't just any other woman: she's the only woman who actually dumped Roarke, rather than been dumped by him. She's obviously hellbent on creating trouble, and Roarke seems blind to it.

MY THOUGHTS: As always with these books, there's the case and there's the relationship stuff. They're well integrated, and everything, but still something I might evaluate separately. In this case, both were great.

I found myself genuinely interested in finding out why exactly someone might want to see Craig dead. The mystery is slowly and carefully developed, and the culprit doesn't come out of the blue at all. When you discover what happened, you look back and wonder why you didn't see it. Maybe for the same reason Eve wasn't seeing it, I guess, though I did consider it at one point and then thought "nah, she wouldn't". Anyway, fascinating and incredibly creepy.

But the Magdelana thing, oh, wow! In the first place, I loved the glimpse at the young Roarke, and I also loved the angst this whole thing created. It was great, great angst, too, because Nora managed to build it into something truly significant and important, something Eve was perfectly right to be upset about, but all without any real possibilities that Roarke would actually do anything, be even interested in doing anything with Magdelana. What's more, Eve knew perfectly well this was the case, but still, it felt right that she would be destroyed by the situation.

For I while I wanted to smack the boneheaded idiot for not realizing exactly what the incredibly obvious bitch was doing, but this lasted the exact right amount of time... long enough to get the full effect, not long enough to make it frustrating. It was all well solved, too, very satisfyingly, though was there really a need for her to hit him, too? ;-)

Oh, and another great thing was seeing the great support network of girlfriends Eve has created come into action. She's really come along way since book 1, hasn't she?

The only minus in the whole book? The name Magdelana. That drove out of my head. I suppose her parents might have spelled her name however they wanted, but something in me kept screaming "It's Magdalena, not Magdelana!!!!!" every single time.

MY GRADE: A very satisfying, solid B+.


Distant Voices, by Barbara Erskine

>> Monday, October 08, 2007

TITLE: Distant Voices
AUTHOR: Barbara Erskine

PAGES: 488
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins

TYPE: Anthology - varies

REASON FOR READING: There are tons and tons of Barbara Erskine books in charity shops here, and I enjoyed the two of hers that I've read.

In her second volume of short stories, which follows the hugely successful Encounters, Barbara Erskine has created a wide and vivid range of worlds and emotions, From love, romance, loneliness, grief, to betrayal, passion, adventure and compelling suspense.

A biographer investigating a tragic death hears voices from the past drawing her towards the truth... A nineteenth-century parson's daughter is caught tip in the excitement and romance of a smuggling intrigue... A young boy from a deprived background finds his own haven in the wastelands of the inner city... A young woman, struggling to choose between love or her career, finds help from an unexpected source...

Contemporary, historical, spooky, humorous, there are over thirty delightful stories, each one guaranteed to capture the reader's imagination, and all demonstrating Barbara Erskine's unique powers its a storyteller.
MY THOUGHTS: Of those 488 pages I've read only 34. Three short stories, and not one of them I thought was worth reading, so I just quit.

Let's see: the first story was about a journalist who's investigating an old mysterious death and sees some ghostly apparitions in the house where it happened. This one was probably the best of the three, but still very mediocre. Nothing really happens, and this is not compensated by great characterization or atmosphere, or anything like that. So the story just felt pointless. Why am I being told about this, why should I care?

Then the second was about a woman whose estranged husband, a high-powered businessman, comes back after years and tells her he's dropped out, become a poet and now wants her to represent him. Could have been ok, but it was very boring and again, pointless.

And the third I hated. It was about a woman who's married to her childhood sweetheart, and basically tells about how he cheats on her and she almost does the same, but instead, decides to forgive him. For the third time, totally boring and pointless and horrible, with cardboard characters and a really screwed-up message. Ugh.

Anyone read this one? Are any of the following stories worth it?

MY GRADE: DNF for this one, and I think if no one tells me I should give such and such a story a try, it goes back to Oxfam.


I'm in paradise

>> Sunday, October 07, 2007

There are libraries here! Duh, of course, and we do have libraries in Uruguay, but these are great libraries, with books I actually want to read for pleasure, not just books to study from!

I didn't even look for "lighter" fiction (meaning non-classics) in the university library, but there is a branch of the Nottinghamshire library service about 10 minutes for me,and I joined a couple of days ago. And went completely insane immediately thereafter. I ended up lugging home a huge pile of books, and this was my take after I'd whittled down the initial pile I'd gathered, which was easily twice as big. I had to assure myself I can go back and get them later on, once I'm done with these.

This is just too cool! I can search the library, reserve books or request them from other branches, renew my books, all online. And I can borrow from any of the branches, so I can go to the Central Library in downtown Nottingham and go even more nuts.

The only thing that's not so great is that the romance books are shelved all over... there's only Mills & Boons in the "Romance" section, plus maybe a couple of books which happen to have naked-people covers, but the rest are in the strangest places. Crime and Mystery, Fantasy, Science Fiction... I even saw some Sherrilyn Kenyons shelved in Horror (and won't the typical reader looking for horror be shocked if he or she picks them up!). So I have to check *everything* to find books, but it's worth it.

Anyway, here's my haul:


Lover Unbound, by J.R. Ward

>> Thursday, October 04, 2007

TITLE: Lover Unbound (excerpt, buy ebook here)

PAGES: 528
PUBLISHER: Signet Eclipse

SETTING: Contemporary Caldwell, New York
TYPE: Vampire romance
SERIES: # 5 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series


In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will…

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous son of the Bloodletter possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father's war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time- until a destiny he didn't choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.
MY THOUGHTS: Yippee for the ebook coming out quickly after the release! I find myself unable to seriously review the BDB books, so just some disjointed impressions. And there will be many, many spoilers!!!, so be warned. Only go on if you've read the book already.

On the whole, I enjoyed most of the book, right until the end, which sucked. Even before that there were parts I thought were really, really lame, but I was still finding myself absorbed by what's going on in Ward's universe.

  • There's a central love story, as in all the books in the series, and it was one I liked -until the very end. Before the book started, I wondered how Ward was going to deal with two aspects: a) V's unorthodox sex life and b) the definite sexual vibe of his feelings for Butch. I hoped she wouldn't chicken out and that both these aspects wouldn't simply magically disappear and be denied.

    Well, she didn't chicken out, that's for sure, though I think some people might be disappointed because she doesn't portray BDSM as a lifestyle choice for V. It's simply the only way he can tolerate sex because of his horrific past, so it's something that's in a way "cured" by his love of Jane. I prefer not to take this as a wholesale condemnation of the BDSM lifestyle, just as the way *this particular character* is, and I have to confess I prefer it this way. I accept BDSM as a perfectly valid choice for whoever is into it, but it's not something that appeals to me, even in a story. So I was much more comfortable with the way things turned out here: there will always be some BDSM play between them, and V was able to use this as a way to exorcise his demons, but it won't be what their life will be about.

    Other than this, what we're told about V's past sex life is even more hard-core than I expected. Definitely no chickening out here, nor in the sexual nature of his attraction to Butch. Even Ward's most stubborn fans won't be able to deny it now (even if they were completely blind and were denying it after the very clear Lover Revealed). It's really out in the open, and V even tells Butch that's he's had sex with men in the past. The man is clearly not particularly into men or women, and his past sex life wasn't really about attraction to them, but about power. Once he finds people he cares about, he's into individual persons, whichever their sex. Butch is the first person he ever had real feelings for (Butch is not completely sure that it was love, though, even if V is) and then Jane.

    Anyway, I think this is probably the first mainstream romance where I've seen one of the protagonists "allowed" to be this way, and I celebrate the change. Just because of it, I hope this book does very, very well and that it will increase the probabilities that we might have m/m books put out by mainstream publishers.

  • Jane was probably Ward's strongest heroine to date (though, I know, that isn't saying all that much). I was a bit surprised by how quickly she just decides to give up her whole life, but eh, that would be part of the ending I hated. Before that, she took no shit from V at all, and I thought they were well-matched, even in the sexual plane. And I confess I thought that these two were seriously hot together, and in the end, really sweet. I was surprised to actually *like* the "mate, mate, mine" aspect of their romance.

  • The only thing I didn't like AT ALL about the V-Jane relationship was the ending. I'd go as far as to say I HATED it. As I read about her coming back from death I kept thinking "she's got to be kidding me". It was just incredibly lame and silly. It felt so easy and like such a cop-out. I mean, where's the cost? Jane is pretty much as she was, only now she won't die, and the SV lost a bunch of birds, which can be replaced, apparently. Oh, cry me a river.

    And for the first time, I can kind of see the argument of those who argue against the guaranteed HEA in romance novels, because as I was reading about Jane dying, I wasn't going "OMG, how sad, how awful, how horrible". No, I knew we had to get a HEA coming somehow, so I was just cooly thinking "Hmm, I wonder how she'll get around this?".

  • The other thing I thought was incredibly lame and silly was the language in the flashbacks and in the Chosen scenes. Again: Ms. Ward, you have got to be kidding me. Using the word "unto" doesn't make dialogue sound archaic, it just makes me laugh. The modern language wasn't that bad here, though every time I read the expression "for kicks and giggles" and one of the characters used the word "puss" for face, I wanted to punch something. These very words were used in her SSE release, The Billionaire Next Door, and they turned me off just as much there. I guess she must have been writing those two books at the same time.

  • The Primale plot: eh. Just reinforces my hate for the Scribe Virgin. All we saw of her in this book convinced me that on top of being a cruel bitch, she's also got incredibly bad judgment. I mean, chosing that crazy psycho to father her children? Is she insane? Aren't we told she can see into people and so on? And what about the Directrix? Yet another enormous error of judgment. And the Payne thing there at the end? Oh, my. The SV is even crueler than I'd thought. But this is an intriguing twist and I can't wait to see what's up with that (did I mention I'm addicted, still?).

  • I was creeped out by the Chosen and their lives (even more reasons why the SV must die!), and I think this is an area of the vampire universe that's ripe for a radical change. Maybe in the next book? I couldn't really tell from the excerpt if Phury's heroine will be Cormia. He seemed to be mostly irritated by her, even if he was turned on. We'll see.

  • Speaking of Phury, for some reason, even though I really dig virgin heroes (though, is he still a virgin now?), I'm not particularly desperate to read his book, probably because his obsession with Bella doesn't much resonate with me. Again, we'll see. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely going to read it, I'm just not going to suffer during the wait *g*

  • I was surprised by how there were pretty much no lessers here, other than a few fights and that traumatic scene near the end, which really felt out of the blue, given the lessers' previous absence. It's all explained by the fact that as the forelesser has died, I suppose. There's obviously going to be a quiet period as they regroup, so it makes sense, but still, I was surprised. It's a big difference with the other books that there are no scenes from the lessers' POV. I was actually interested in the lessers subplot in Lover Revealed, but I'm not going to complain that they weren't present here and that it was all about the Brotherhood. Is JRW listening to her fans to that extent?

  • I think my favourite parts of the book were the ones about John. He finally goes through his change here, and wow, John and Xhex? I could get really excited about that pairing. I loved that he turns down the sweet and submissive Chosen and is seriously turned on by the ball-buster Xhex. Even if I'd hated everything about the rest of the book, I'd continue reading the series just to see how this turns out.
MY GRADE: God, this is hard. Er... a C+?


Would you like to visit Sherwood Forest?

>> Wednesday, October 03, 2007

There you go, then.


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