**spoiler alert** Written in the first person from the point of view of Lestat and set in New Orleans, the story is slow paced, and not at all similar...more**spoiler alert** Written in the first person from the point of view of Lestat and set in New Orleans, the story is slow paced, and not at all similar to how I remember any of the previous Vampire Chronicles. From what I've read online, this could perhaps be the last Chronicle novel Rice writes. After re-immersing herself in the Catholic faith, she "announced in a Newsweek article that she would 'write only for the Lord.'" ((Quoted from the Wikipedia article on Anne Rice.)). However, there could also be another, more "literary" reason to why there would be no more Chronicles, however, I would leave that interpretation open to only those who have read the book, and see what I see (I don't want to give it away, just yet, you know?).
The story opens up with Lestat and Quinn in Quinn's house, surrounded by mortals. They've just excised Goblin (a ghost) from Blackwood Manor, and the vampire Merrick Mayfair has just gone up to the light, burned at the bier meant to take Goblin. The residence of Blackwood Manor have no idea that their master Quinn is of the undead, and for the entirety of the novel, never know that both Quinn and Lestat, who is a frequent visitor, are vampires.
Mona Mayfair, 20, love of Quinn's mortal life, comes to the Manor to die. She's been wasting away for the last two years, and there is no cure. Quinn desperately wants to save her with the Dark Trick, but as he's never done it, Lestat is very accommodating. He performs the Dark Trick on Mona, dubbing her Ophelia Immortal, and falls in love with her, as he does with all he's created. After her rebirth into immortality, she acts like the typical "I've been practically dead for two year, and now I'm better than ever" person, and flaunts her new found sexuality. Unfortunately, she's still trapped by her mortal wants.
Mona gave birth to Walking Baby, better known as a Taltos, which brought on her wasting disease. Her daughter was taken from her by Rowan Mayfair - witch, neurosurgeon, and head of the Mayfair family. The daughter is then taken from Rowan by an ancient Taltos, with the intent of recreating the race. Mona desperately wants to find her daughter, and has the delusional idea that having found her, they'd be one big happy abnormal family.
When Rowan sees Mona after the transformation, she realizes Mona is a Blood Child, although she doesn't recognize that both Lestat and Quinn are as well. Lestat forms a plan to "exchange secrets," that the vampires will own up to what they are, and Rowan will tell her story about why Mona's daughter can't be found.
After a long discussion where Mona acts like a brat, Lestat—who's fallen in love with Rowan by now—promises to find the Taltos, and bring back Mona's daughter. Lestat and Quinn extract a promise from Mona that she won't try to turn her daughter with the Dark Trick, because they don't know what the mix of bloods will do.
Lestat is really rather lazy, and his only form of looking for the Taltos is calling for Maharet to help him. She responds in an email telling him where the Taltos are, and berates him for not knowing how to use email. Mona emails Maharet back thanking her for the information, and they start emailing back and forth.
The rest of the novel progresses on as blandly as that, no real climax, no real fear of anything bad happening or anything like that. It's an intriguing story, but it isn't very exciting.
Being written from Lestat's point of view, it's difficult at first to get a grip on just how selfish Lestat is. He goes on about his clothing, his love for everyone, how he wishes to be a saint, and a lot about Saint Juan Diego, beatified by Pope John Paul II. Lestat manages to annoy and intrigue at the same time, and the first person lets the reader feel like Lestat is really telling the story in a very personal way.
While this book was alright, it definitely wasn't my favorite. I can see why some people have complained about, just as I understand why Rice wrote a response to the negative reviews ((Anne's response to negative Amazon reviews. I didn't read the negative reviews, but I tend to agree with what she's saying here. Also, the line at the end? Also leads me to believe there will be no more Chronicles. I can imagine why (and really, it's a better reason than what I thought. It's all Lestat's fault).)) that were posted on Amazon. If you've read the rest of the Chronicles, obviously, this is a read for you. If you've never read the Chronicles (seeing the movies do not count), this is not the book to start with. The new vampires, the Mayfair family, and the story of the Taltos is enough to overcome Lestat's storytelling style—and yes it is "his" style, as he tells the story.(less)
**spoiler alert** One of my favorite romance tropes is "young love." Where either the heroine has loved the hero since she was just old enough to unde...more**spoiler alert** One of my favorite romance tropes is "young love." Where either the heroine has loved the hero since she was just old enough to understand what love is, or both hero and heroine experience puppy love, put it aside to grow up, and then come back to it when they are mature and ready for it.
A Lady of His Own, book 3 in the Bastion Club series by Stephanie Laurens, showcases Charles St. Austell and his wayward childhood love Penelope. I adored this book. The premise is that Charles is back from being a wartime spy (a very very common vocation for Laurens' heroes) and finds Penelope walking the corridors of his house late at night; she, however, doesn't know he's back and has run to his house because hers is being inhabited by the cousin who inherited her brother's title.
The actual plot doesn't particularly matter to me, though it is interesting and involves spying and treason and that sort of juicy side story. No, for me, this whole book is about the misunderstandings of two people who were very young and very much in love but had a terrible time of being psychic and knowing what the other was thinking and wanting.
Penelope has been in love with Charles for as long as she can remember. At 16, she convinces him to have her way with her, mere days before he leaves for the service. The basic crux of their problem is that Charles thinks that the sex was so bad and hurt Penelope so much that she obviously hated him afterwards. From Penelope's point of view, the sex wasn't mindblowing, but was compleatly worthwhile, but she has no chance alone with Charles after the sex but before he leaves.
Cut to 10 years later where they are both still harboring feelings for the other but are positive that the other hates them. To me, this is brilliant. I love watching two people who love each other figure out that the other loves them. It is my absolute favorite part of romance novels. This book does it in spades, and I adored both the characters. They were believable, and I never once wanted to throw the book across the room ((Which is becoming harder and harder to do these days with ebooks instead of paperback.)) because of character stupidity ((Another favorite pastime; berating fictional characters for their obvious stupidity when regarding communication.)).
This book has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf, if only for the following lines:
He held her gaze, thinking for a moment longer, then replied, his voice so low she wasn't sure she heard so much as felt his words.
"Whatever you wish, however you wish. I'm yours. Take me."
Love me. Charles bit back the words––not yet, not now. He might be caught, but he wasn't sure she was.
That moment––when Charles releases his silent plea––that's the reason I read romance. I have found the love of my life. I've had that moment. Before I found Erik, I was searching for that moment, and reading romance gave it to me in all it's infinite glory. The moment you realize that it really is love and not lust, not friendship, not every other relationship you've ever had. I love that feeling, and I get it from living vicariously through fictional people.(less)
**spoiler alert** I really wish Stephanie Laurens hadn't started with the ridiculous nicknames for the Cynster men. At least there's only six who get...more**spoiler alert** I really wish Stephanie Laurens hadn't started with the ridiculous nicknames for the Cynster men. At least there's only six who get called by something other than their name or title, but sometimes I feel like it is six men too many.
A Rake's Vow is book two in the Cynster series.
There is a lot of thoughts that you just have to avoid. Like, how completely possible is it that Vane Cynster is totally at ease with the land and house of his Godmother ((my thoughts on romance novel godmothers is enough for an entirely different post)), that Patience Debbington has spent massive amounts of time with her aunt (the same woman), and the two have never actually met before that fateful evening in the garden at Lady --'s house.
This book has quite more plot and suspense than the one that follows it in the series (Scandal's Bride), and is much more a who-done-it for the majority of if.
Of course, Patience Debington is cut from the same cloth as the rest of the Cynster brides. She is fiercely loyal to her younger brother, and wants him to make the best connections. She helps her aunt manage a menagerie of guests, and is seen as the superior in the circles she runs in.
One thing that sets her apart from other Cynster brides is that she actually listens to Vane when he asks her to do (or to not do) something. When she runs out at night early on to try to catch the "ghost," she recognizes that she let her emotions get ahead of her sensibilities in her need to clear her brother's name.
The one thing that is pretty trite, though, is how Vane comes by his name. He's not vane; he is like a weather vane, always able to see which way "the wind is blowing." I think they mean for this to be a compliment, that he's able to see to the heart of things. But of course, it allows Laurens to have Patience think that Vane is a vane man, a elegant gentleman who must be guarded against as she refuses to lose her heart to a man who doesn't love her back, the way her mother did.
Of course, in the course of solving the 'whodunit," Patience realizes that giving her heart to Vane is putting it into safe keeping, not putting it into danger.
I very much enjoyed this book. I thought this one was much better done than Scandal's Bride.(less)
**spoiler alert** Sometimes, I read a book and all I can think is "man, that guy is a complete jerk." That's what I thought the entire time I read Cap...more**spoiler alert** Sometimes, I read a book and all I can think is "man, that guy is a complete jerk." That's what I thought the entire time I read Captain Jack's Woman by Stephanie Laurens.
This book is supposed to set up the Bastion Club series novels; it's considered a prequel to the other eight books. And as far as I can tell, Jack is the jerkiest of all the heroes in the series.
For a quick plot synopsis: Kit Cranmer finally finds herself back in the country after having escaped from her conniving aunts and uncles--people so terrible that they manage to make both Kit and her Grandfather think that the other had decided that Kit leaving was the best idea. And a family so headstrong and stubborn that grandfather and granddaughter don't speak for 6 years, even though their relationship is supposed to be ridiculously strong ((t always is, that grandfather-granddaughter bond in romance novels.) So Kit at long last finds herself at home but she needs excitement. She is bored out of her mind. And accidentally takes over a smuggling crew that thinks she's a man. Which then gets taken over by Captain Jack's crew; he, by the way, is ridiculously relieved to find out she's a woman:
Kit's identity was only one of his problems and certainly the easier to solve. His odd reaction to the boy was a worry. Why had it happened? It had been decades since any sight had affected him so dramatically. But, for whatever incomprehensible reason, the slim, black-garbed figure of Young Kit had acted as a powerful aphrodisiac, sending his body into a state of readiness. He'd been as horny as Champion on the trail of the black mare! (p. 55)
That's right--Jack's body knows Kit is a woman immediately, even though his head doesn't.
And then Jack becomes more and more possessive of Kit, wanting her to change and be a more, well, lady-like-lady. He thinks to take her as a mistress when he believes she's illegitimate. When she finds out she's a proper lady, he slightly regrets taking her virginity, but is more than happy to make her his wife--so long as all she does is become exactly the type of boring woman he despises.
I think we're to think that over time Jack becomes more mellow, that he realizes that he can't have his cake and eat it too. He fell in love with Kit because she was wild, he can't expect to tame her and have her be the same. Also, we're supposed to believe that he finally comes to his senses that he doesn't want the lady-like -ladies. After all, that is why he escaped the ton; the match-making mamas and their simpering daughters just didn't cut it for him. However, it really is Kit that has to make all the sacrifices in the end. She can't go riding on her horse alone. She can't help him with anything that she did before. Jack only promises to tell her what he's doing in an effort to keep her from "helping" behind his back.
It's an odd sort of relationship, and Jack is never really redeemed for being a jerk. He is just unveiled as a lord, and thus all his jerkiness is just fine.
This story actually had a plot and drama, so it had that going for it. I just always wish the heroes weren't such jerks. (less)
**spoiler alert** This book is set up in Scotland, and there’s a lot of talk about the lowlands and the Lady of the —. Which introduces a weird thing...more**spoiler alert** This book is set up in Scotland, and there’s a lot of talk about the lowlands and the Lady of the —. Which introduces a weird thing for a Laurens novel, especially a Cynster novel: the supernatural. Our heroine, Catrona, is portrayed as the most recent woman in a line of women who protect the valley from outsiders, keep it safe and healthy. There’s something vaguely witchy about her mysticism (though Scandal aka Richard calls her a witch quite often, usually as a term of endearment), but over all, other than an intimate understanding of herbs and a need to pray to the Lady, she’s quite normal for a heroine. She’s feisty, bent on getting her own way, outspoken, and as often portrayed, without a real family of her own.
So, there’s a supernatural element, and it’s not fully developed even though it’s supposed to be key to who she is.
The real issue with this book is there really is no suspense. Scandal meets Catrona and immediately falls in lust with her. Catrona’s guardian died before the novel starts, and leaves an unbreakable will (honestly? really) that states that if Scandal won’t marry her, the guardian’s heirs get absolutely nothing and the inheritance goes to the church. Oh, and Catrona isn’t a heir, so her and Scandal not getting married doesn’t affect either of the two actual parties involved.
Of course that means that Scandal, by the end of the week, is ready to marry Catrona. She refuses to marry him–until she’s caught in her own trap of trying to have his baby (without his knowledge) because the Lady told her she would have his children, but Catrona feels that in no way would he make a suitable husband. (Point: Why was Scandal not intensely angry that Catrona would try to have his baby but never ever plan to tell him. Knowing his back story as “the scandal that never was” as a bastard who’s father’s wife took in as her own child, and the Cynsters being a large clannish family, why was he not pissed at this half-assed plan of hers? )
So they get married. And he makes hard promises to her to not interfere with life in the valley, because the Lady has always rules. They do the classic not paying any actual attention to what their actions say (as usually happens) also, the lack of a clear honest conversation) until Scandal thinks she wants him to leave for London, and when he leaves she realizes she needs him there. And then he comes back just at the moment there is a mysterious fire.
This is the first fourth of the book. Then he gets poisoned, she nurses him back to health, he doesn’t think she poisoned him and reassures her immediately upon recovery (what?!? that never happens!) His family is all there, she gets along famously with them, and rethinks her seclusion of the outside world, lets Scandal help her with the property and everything is peachy.
Where is the drama? They know who poisoned Scandal, when he’s well the go confront her and she apologizes because she read the signs from the Lady wrong (and because obviously it was meant to be) because she poisons him with enough to kill an elephant but he makes it through.
I believe the drama and suspense is supposed to come from Catrona’s other potential suitors. The men who own the nearby lands have been trying to get a hold of Catrona and her land since she inherited them. Her guardian has does a superb job of protecting Catrona to the point that she doesn’t even know he’s been doing it, and he felt that Scandal was the only one capable of protecting her once she was on her own.
There are two potential suitors/villains. One only pursues until he realizes Catrona is wed, and to an overbearing man at that. The other still thinks he can get at the land. He’s the one that starts the fire, and then attacks Scandal on the way back from confronting the poisoner. Scandal is never in any danger, and the threat drops in an instant.
In all, this book is a fun romp, but really drama free. There is no suspense, no worry that it isn’t going to work, nothing really to even push the story along. But it was enjoyable, and Scandal and Catrona will make numerous appearances in other Cynster novels. (less)
This is one of the first books that I've read and thought "I wouldn't give this to eleven year old me." Which is saying something be...more**spoiler alert**
This is one of the first books that I've read and thought "I wouldn't give this to eleven year old me." Which is saying something because at eleven I was reading hot and heavy Indian romances given to me my by aunts.
It's not that tone is too adult, or the writing is too much; not even the early images of a man being devoured by a goddess disguised as a hooker. I think it's because the ideas are too strong, almost, that you need the beginnings of a lifetime of experiences to fully understand and comprehend Shadow's almost sanguine acceptance of the whole situation, to not look at him and think "wtf dude, why don't you walk a different path." I could say today that I understand Shadow, that his motivations ring real and true, but at the same time, I think that the further down my life's path, I will understand him more. That I don't think elven year old me would fully understand what I was reading, though I would have devoured it then, and again and again on retreads (and for the record, my eleven year old will have the chance to pluck it off the shelf for themselves without interference from me about being age appropriate).
And now I just sound pretentious.
In any event, even though I've read other Gaiman, I really didn't know what I was getting into. The idea that America is a land that has no place for gods is one that rings true (though I did wonder where Jesus/Yaweh were for the final battle—were they too bright and figured out what Oden and Loki were doing and left them to it? Being the strongest of the gods that America has, they were oddly missing). I did enjoy it, I know it will read it again, and I know I will be chewing on it thoughtfully for awhile, which is one of the best things when a book gives you that.(less)
**spoiler alert** I like that Goodkind has returned to the world he knows so well (and that has so many stories to tell) (because Law of Nines was......more**spoiler alert** I like that Goodkind has returned to the world he knows so well (and that has so many stories to tell) (because Law of Nines was... interesting), but this book feels in it's info dump in it's entirety. There feels like there's no action, just Magda Serus going around and gathering "truth" from everyone. Most of the book is other characters filling in Magda to the full treachery of Lothan.
There is action towards the end when Magda realizes that she needs Merrit to turn her into a Confessor, and she takes up the Sword of Truth to attack the Lothan's guards who are dragging Merrit back into the Keep.
I don't know. On one hand, I did enjoy all of the background info. On the other, it didn't feel like a full story to me. It feels more like "hey, here let me wrap up all of this disparate info with a pretty bow so that you know how everything in Magda's time was concluded for the temporary peace that existed until Richard Cypher's generation 1000 years later".
I just feel like Goodkind had so much research information to share, and just dumped it all here.
But I would definitely read it again; it's just not up to par, in my opinion, with his older works. (less)