>> Wednesday, May 23, 2012
London, 1881I had great hopes for this one. The plot sounded good: our heroine, Miranda Ellis marries a mysterious masked man she doesn't know anything about, under pressure from her father. Soon after the wedding, her husband, Lord Archer becomes an unofficial suspect in a gruesome murder. We readers, however, know that Archer is a good guy, and that he forced the wedding because he's been fascinated by Miranda since a memorable encounter on the London streets some years earlier. There's a hint of the paranormal as well, since both Miranda and Archer have got powers, and neither one wants the other to know. Sounds exciting, and the beginning was nicely atmospheric (if a little bit self-conscious about it).
Once the flames are ignited...
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.
They will burn for eternity...
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it. I couldn't get a handle on the characters and why they did what they did. In the sections I read, Callihan kind of took the worst of both worlds with the mystery of the gothic. She was clearly holding stuff back, especially about Archer's history and his powers, and this worked to distance me from him and make me lose interest. And at the same time, since we get his point of view, we know perfectly well he's a good guy, and that he has no evil designs on Miranda.
There were also a couple of WTF moments, like Miranda just going "oh, ok, I'll marry this weird guy I know nothting about", without any angst that I could detect. She really did have other options, and I just didn't get why she completely dismissed the possibility of getting her sisters' help. All very transparently there to drive the plot forward in the direction the author wanted it to go.
Anyway, the whole thing dragged too much for me to care to find out what was going on. It took me three weeks to read a quarter of it. I kept reading a few pages, and then putting it down and reading other books. In the end, I refused to put in any more time.
MY GRADE: A DNF.