Covet, by JR Ward

>> Friday, October 19, 2012

TITLE: Covet

PAGES: 496

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Urban Fantasy / Romance
SERIES: Book 1 in the Fallen Angels series

Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about-his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charge with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that-until fate intervenes in the form of a tough- talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart-and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years, even if lately it's become more guilty than pleasure. Still, I knew that at some point, I was going to read Ward's new series, vampire-free, but set in the same universe.

The series will apparently be linked by the character of Jim Heron. Jim dies early in the book, and for unexplained reasons, he's chosen to play a crucial role in the fight between Good and Evil (yup, capital G and E, it's that sort of portentous premise). Jim is to become a fallen angel and go back to Earth, with the mission to save seven souls, each of which is in danger of becoming damned through a particular deadly sin. If he succeeds, Good wins, if he doesn't, Evil does.

His first mission is to save Vin di Pietro, a man whose besetting sin is avarice. Vin grew up with nothing, and now his business is purely intended to make as much money as humanly possible. He can never have enough and needs to have nothing but the best surrounding him (which gives Ward the excuse to name-check boatloads of brand names... as if she needed an excuse). One of those "things" is the perfect woman, and he is about to propose to the sophisticated Devina. He's got the ring, and everything, but for some reason, he just can't.

Jim, with somewhat fuzzy logic, decides that what he needs to do to save Vin is to make sure he marries Davina (why, I'm not sure, since right before Jim died, Davina cheated on Vin with him). But then he makes the mistake of taking Vin to one of those hardcore clubs Ward loves to write about so much. Vin meets one of the prostitutes who works there, Marie-Terese, and he can't help but become pretty much obsessed with her.

This is a very... well... JR Ward type of book. I kept wincing and rolling my eyes. Vin and Marie-Therese annoyed me. He's very over-the-top (as is the entire book) and faux-tortured, and she's a total martyr. Seriously, she keeps whining and carrying on about having to be a prostitute even though she hates it, when it's made clear in the book that she can actually get out of it by accepting an offer of help that has absolutely no strings attached. Their romance isn't particularly interesting, when they get together.

But still, I kept turning the pages. Jim was by far the most interesting character, and there is quite a lot of him (as usual with JRW, there is loads of stuff here in addition to the romance). And the whole plot had the sort of cracky feel that I'm used to with this author.

It's the sort of book that you inhale, but that doesn't bear much thinking about. For instance, after finishing the book and escaping its crackiness, the premise didn't seem to me to be well-thought out at all. Like, is she really going to do Sloth? That doesn't sound like a very romance hero-type characteristic! Or, the impression I got is that the soul-saving is a 4 out of 7 deal. So, will Jim fail in some cases? That would mean a book's hero is going to be damned! But if he doesn't, where is the tension going to come from in books 5 to 7? Or are there only going to be 4? Gah, I don't know! There's also another issue, which is that I bet all seven souls that Jim is going to have to save are going to be American. Even though it shouldn't, this annoys me, as it seems to imply that in this world, only Americans matter.

MY GRADE: Eh, well. Even with all that, I still mostly enjoyed this, so I have to go with a B-.


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