Such a great story! This plot line was basically simple and perfect, with the characters seeming very deep and 'real.' The heroine of the story was ofSuch a great story! This plot line was basically simple and perfect, with the characters seeming very deep and 'real.' The heroine of the story was of a different sort of character, at least for me. Helen is an ex-mistress with two children who flees London in an attempt to escape her 'provider.' Normally I don't read romances that feature heroines that mistresses. And while this is typically a theme concept that I avoid, I did find Helen to be a very admirable and inspiring character.
I truly enjoyed the hero Alistair, as well. Truly this novel is a "modern" spin on the classic beauty-and-the-beast tale, and Hoyt did a marvelous job making this story feel realistic and touching.
In truth, this book is entirely character driven, which is perfectly fine since this story was done so well. I never became bored or irritable with this book, and was so enthralled with what was happening between the hero and heroine, for I loved the romantic pacing Hoyt constructed between Alistair and Helen. Overall, a great book with a very enjoyable story containing lovable characters and a very happy ending!
Frankly, this is a damned good story. It's as simple, and as uncomplicated as that point-blank statement. Lisa Kleypas managed to capture a remarkableFrankly, this is a damned good story. It's as simple, and as uncomplicated as that point-blank statement. Lisa Kleypas managed to capture a remarkable emotionally driven plot that stayed engagingly entertaining, and, most importantly, believable.
I think what most drew me to the story of Kev and Win was the fact that their classic star-crossed lovers theme held within it an even more dramatic flare; Win's illness. There are many tropes throughout this book, from childhood bonds, to childhood love, branching all the way into the self-tortured hero. And, yet, what is so amazing about all the above tropes was that, rather than taking away from the story, each dramatic point aided in elevating the story, rather than bogging it down with unnecessary plot points.
To say that I was in love with Win, and Kev, as characters would be a massive understatement. These two people are such a physical presence in the story that I never doubted their reality at all. Throughout the story, even when one of the two leads were doing something marginally unnecessary, or being too stubborn for their own good, I believed their actions. At no time did I imagine their motivation to be faulty, or thin. In truth, I think Kleypas forced me to care as much for the individuals as for their couple.
The plot, too, was interesting in its own right, since it was, unquestionably, emotionally driven. These are often my favored types of story lines, but they're the most dangerous, too. It seems easier for authors to advance a plot from point A to point B, moving the characters around the board in an efficient fashion, allowing drama to occur where it will. In emotionally driven plots, it's much easier for the story line to become stagnant and thin. At no such point did Seduce Me At Sunrise EVER attain that feeling. I was amazed, almost, as the level of tension and conflict that, while in some ways staying true to form from the onset of the novel, likewise managed to morph throughout the chapters.
Kleypas did a wonderful job at meshing the highly tense emotions of the story with the seemingly shocking outward conflict that did emerge at the end of the book. This, along with the beautiful romanticism and compatibility between not just the leads, Win and Kev, but among the entire Hathaway family. I'm very intensely interested in seeing the subsequent cast in their own books, most especially Leo and the governess Miss Marks. Call it cliche, but c'mon, who doesn't love a cliche?
"I'm not good enough for you. But no one is. And most men, good or bad, have limits to what they would do, even for someone they love. I have none. No God, no moral code, no faith in anything. Except you. You're my religion. I would do anything you asked. I would fight, steal, kill for you." - Kev
"I love you. I love every part of you, every thought and word...the entire complex, fascinating bundle of all the things you are. I want you with ten different kinds of need at once. I love all the seasons of you, the way you are now, the thought of how much more beautiful you'll be in the decades to come. I love you for being the answer to every question my heart could ask." - Kev...more
So, this book? Yeah, it's like that. Except more. Like, ginormously exceeding the outer limits of awesomely awesomeness and exploding hardcore into th
So, this book? Yeah, it's like that. Except more. Like, ginormously exceeding the outer limits of awesomely awesomeness and exploding hardcore into the I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT BUTTER excitement. Except, of course, with more book, and less butter. There is so much wonderful I'm-so-thrilled-this-novel-exists-just-please-let-me-fangasm-a-moment that I'm kind of a bit Helen Keller right now. As is, to be honest, my brain is sort of just...
...right now. So! Basically, this book is everything right in the universe of writing. Like, everything. A historical romance novel with a hero who's simultaneously Scottish, and bat-shit crazy? A heroine with a tortured past who is a well rounded strong female character without embodying the definition of "bitch?" So much yes! The amount of realistic detail encapsulated by Beth and Ian allowed these two to feel like exceptionally real people, which makes my Fan Girl go all kinds of happy and crap.
Any half-assed monkey can sit at a keyboard and handbang words into Microsoft Word (hell, Stephanie Meyer proved that one), but it takes a true level of talent to construct not only characters that pull at the heartstrings like a 'roided out Nicholas Sparks, but to also make a pretty thin plot seem thick. Overall, if I had one criticism against The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, it would be how truly narrow the story line is...but surprise, I don't have that critique! (Bet you weren't expecting that one, huh?) Yes, the entire book is kind of one big build up to a nice satisfying plot-point-surprise, this is true. Strangely, I've seen many authors fall on their keyboards while trying to use this writing device, and it was a disaster. However, the reason this works so well here is because Ashley puts much effort into making the reader both care about the character tensions and internal conflict of the lead couple, all while padding the novel with enough back-story and exposition to make the reader INVESTED!
(And yes, even Batman approves because HELL YEAH!) What amazes me like-whoa, even further, is the fact that Ashley is so not afraid to just GO THERE with her book. This novel definitely touches on some pretty heavy topics, and does so both believably and respectfully, both from the viewpoint of the modern eyes, and the historical ones. We've got everything from two distinct cases of homosexuality in the Victorian era to some pretty taboo sexual fetishes, back to prostitution and insanity. That's, of course, not even noting the issues of murder and illegitimacy.
Yep! So, with all that going on, plus believably unique characters, plus wonderfully descriptive writing, plus perfectly balanced exposition with current-book-events, plus tropes and topics not seen in many novels, let alone genre specific ones...the summation I arrive at is SO MUCH WIN! I literally struggle to find a legitmate crique with the writing, pacing, and quality of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. And, okay, while it may be true that the plot kind of does this upon the start of the book...
...it's quick initial pace still allows for a genuinely enjoyable story, and slows down appropriately after the story-ball gets a'rolling. The book has so much going on in it, not the least of which is a hero who makes panties immediately fall off, and a heroine who every woman secretly wishes they were IRL. The level of thought and talent that went into this book blows my mind with so much whoa-damn that, at the end of the day, when it's all said, done, and finalized, I'm just left with the sentiments of the following GIF...
Hmm-mm. It's like that. Read this book, peeps; your brain needs it....more
Update: (June 29th, 2012) So, after waffling back and forth as to whether or not I should finish this book, I decided to let some fellow Goodreads' reUpdate: (June 29th, 2012) So, after waffling back and forth as to whether or not I should finish this book, I decided to let some fellow Goodreads' reviews sway me. Turns out, there were indeed a handful of people who felt as I did; they couldn't get into the characters. So, sorry to say, Mrs. Chase, I'm gonna have to say DNF to Mr. Impossible.
Original Review: So, leaving off on page 55, I have to say this book is an odd one. While it in now way sucked enough to qualify for a DNF slating, I have to admit the characters bored me. For some reason, despite having excellent parameters to work within, neither the hero or heroine held any interest for me. So, for now, this book will simply have to wait for a second chance. ...more
A book that can take you from interest, to ecstasy, to boredom, back to holy-shock-wowness has some serious props going for it, in my not so humble opA book that can take you from interest, to ecstasy, to boredom, back to holy-shock-wowness has some serious props going for it, in my not so humble opinion. Having never read Kathryn Smith before, I can definitely say I've been missing out.
When Seducing A Duke was probably one of the most dynamic books I've read in approximately sixteen billion years. Such reality isn't so difficult to pull off in a paranormal, or even contemporary romance, but in historical? Yeah, that's rare like a virgin whore.
Smith had my interest initially predominately because, within this novel, she utilized some of my favorite book tropes. Specifically, unrequited love. But, while tropes pick the books that are read, they don't determine book quality. Luckily, in this case, they so did, because this book wowed me extensively. From the first few chapters, I was immediately fascinated how Smith utilized not so atypical story points in a very atypical manner. This is especially poignant during the first developing story aspects in the beginning pages.
Aside from being unique in her structure of a story, Smith wowed me in a more subtle, yet very notable arena of her writing. While I adore romance novels, there are certain cliches I abhor. Specifically, the writing of men as being unlike males. Smith doesn't shy away from her male characters utilizing vulgarity (time appropriate) when among themselves, or during internal thought dialogues. A seemingly non-significant factor, perhaps, but its existence ties in seamlessly with the fact that Smith is very talented in creating realistic characters, both in their technical aspects as well as emotional.
When perusing my last status update pertaining to this novel, I noted, and recall, my sentiments being dissatisfied with the emotional on page writing of the hero, Grey. Such wasn't a lie, for as of page 252, it felt as though the story were collapsing in onto itself, along with his relateability. The plot was a bit dry by that point, the unrequited love of both Grey and Rose seeming a bit then-boring, and a tad pointless seeing as to where the story had developed. And then...magic.
Smith's ability to recreate a story mid-book had me in jaw-dropping awe. This author literally took one story line and bypassed it into another, with small tangible hints of such about-face peppered in the first half of her novel. While the plot had previously been at a 2-3-4 star teetering by that point, it eclipsed such by the impressive high-gear plot and character development. The story morphed from a simple romance tale to a commentary about life and love. About the decisions we make when we are young and dumb, about the realities of consequences, and the pressure we feel from those on the outside, looking in.
As noted before, Smith doesn't shy away from realities in her fiction, at least by this book's indication. Such was refreshing not just in the existence of male vulgarity, but in emotion itself. The heroine and hero are presented as sweetly perfect together, prior to marriage, though when the drama arrives on scene, real human emotion and response are put directly on page. Neither the hero nor heroine respond in Mr. and Mrs. Perfect ways, nor do they turn into Ass Hat #2 and 3, respectively. Walking the fine line of characters seeming realistic, though not negative, is an ability that few authors, I feel, harbor.
The characters, like the writing, became living, breathing entities. This was not done from page one, to final word, but rather as a developing journey. As their story evolved, so too did they. As their emotions and heartaches and experiences were related, so too did they feel and become more as people than as characters. This is impressive to say the least, talented to say the most. The evolution this story undergoes corresponds perfectly to such same as the characters, secondary as well as primary.
To say that I shall be continuing Kathryn Smith's novels is obvious. I merely count myself as being blessed to learn that When Seducing A Duke not only counts itself among a series, Victorian Soap Opera (apropos, no?), but finds itself as being book one. Add that to the fact Kathryn Smith apparently writes other romance genres, and perhaps it could be fair to say that I've found another favored author. Only time, and potential book quality, will tell.
Lastly, can I be the only one who found that Smith's decision to forgo the use of an epilogue was not only refreshing, but specifically as to this story, ideal?...more
You know, when books are this bad, there should be a contractual and moral obligation to glorify the societal act of book burning.
Pages Survived: 215
You know, when books are this bad, there should be a contractual and moral obligation to glorify the societal act of book burning. More Than a Mistress is a thing so bad, so atrociously rape-my-anal-glands awful that I'm convinced a spiked sledgehammer to the forehead wouldn't hurt nearly as much as this piece of garbage. Oh, that too real? Too mean spirited? Ha. Buckle up, kiddies, because there is so much book-hate to follow that you're gonna be craving a cyanide pill before the grand finale.
"Oh, get over yourself Jacqueline," as I'm sure you're absolutely thinking, "This book can't possibly be that unpleasant." And, you're right, it's not unpleasant, it's downright shittastic. Why? Oh, so many reasons! However, since it's basically the definition of Not Helpful to list "All Of The Book" as the problem with this story, I will attempt to narrow my book-rage to just six reasons. So, here it is; my exposé entitled The Half Herculean Reasons Why This Mary Balogh Book Sucks So Much Ass.
Reason Number 1: "Hark! Bullshit dialogue! Look, a tree!"
You know that spastic hyperactive idiot you see in every bad sitcom, the one that takes sugar intravenously and couldn't focus on a single topic even were you to take a baseball bat to his cranium? Well, that painful (haha, puns) analogy is basically the equivalent to every damned moment of dialogue in this novel. I swear this book has such an abhorrent lack of conversation topic-transitions between the verbal exchanges of the characters that I'm half convinced Mary Balogh thought, "Cohesive conversation? We don't need no stinkin' cohesive conversation!" and then proceeded to run into her corner to laugh maniacally.
I'm all for realistic conversation, ones that ebb and flow in both topic and tone, but please, for the love of tasty fat-free French fries, Ms. Balogh, please give your dear readers a transitional POV pause! Mr. Hero going from talking about his owie-injuries to bursting forth with his uncontrollable desire to put his man-meat inside Miss Heroine's hooha is just damned weird-awkward. "My leg hurts. I want to bang you," not only makes hero-dude sound six kinds of batshit crazy, but subsequent examples make dialogue choppy and unbelievable, which, yeah know, is a bad thing. Well, not unless you WANT to make your characters sound like drooling whackadoodles, and if so then by all means, proceed!
Reason Number 2: Pretty Words Do Not Always A Book Make
I love me some flowery prose. Like, c'mon, we romance readers cut our teeth on the divine words that are Jane Austen and Cecila Grant. But, let's put one hella distinctive point on this issue, shall we? Just because something is written pretty with nice words and elegant phrases does not mean that the book is subsequently good. Along with pretty vocabulary and sentence structure we needrequire damn well deserve emotional grounding and elemental connection with the characters and the story! I need to feel feels, dammit, and Ms. Balogh, you're holding out!
Reason Number 3: Characters are caricatures lacking characteristics!
Come one, come all, ladies, gentlemen and other! Learn how to kill a novel deader than a liquefied zombie! How, you might ask? Why, by zapping any and all personality, likability, believability, and understandable motivation from your book peeps! I kid you not one bad Adam Sandler joke that the book's leads, Jocelyn and Jane, are the flattest, most one-dimensional, most sodding bore-fests of wet rags I have ever read. 215 pages I spent with these two special kinds of special, and all I can tell you is that the hero is a dick-bag and the heroine is TSTL. When the hero's not prancing around being a colossal ass-hat to the heroine...
(view spoiler)[Colossal Ass-Hat Examples: Yelling at a female working-class stranger because you were the idiot who looked away from a pointed gun? Check. Acting like a whiny little bitch with mood swings that make PMS look pleasant? Check. Turning into a giant squid of anger, ranting at your mistress after you start recalling bad memories after your first bang-session because that's so obviously Jane's fault? Check. Having the "I hired you to be my whore but you're acting like my whore when I treat you like my whore and that pisses me off" attitude? Check. Like I said; elitist crotch knob. (hide spoiler)]
...the heroine's too busy being preoccupied with doing stupid shit for no reason.
(view spoiler)[Stupid Shit Examples: Running to stop a random duel between two random people you've never met in your entire random life? Check. Running away from your home and hearth to go incognito because you conked some rapey pompous fuck-nugget in the head with a book? Check. Falling in love with some guy after he is ostensibly pissed at you for being his mistress and has treated you like a walking vagina? Check. Like I said; Too Stupid To Live. (hide spoiler)]
Reason Number 4: Love is dead.
A science fiction without futuristic technology, or a horror story without frightening scenes? Impossible, right? So, what's a romance without romantic emotions? Just words on a page that are as pleasant as a dental drill to the eye-socket. In the 215 pages I slugged through, More Than A Mistress held not one damn romantic sentiment. When's the first time we see love rearing its little head? Oh, you mean after Jocelyn criticizes Jane for thinking about her future, beyond her role as his mistress? You mean after Jane acquiesces to Jocelyn's role of authority? THAT'S when love is A Thing these two start self-reflecting upon? Really? REALLY?!
And, what's more, if THAT wasn't enough to kill love deader than an irradiated pigeon, then let's broach for a hot minute the sex scenes. In truth I should say the "let's just write everything as vague as possible because it's not like the physical relationship element is a key ingredient between our hero and his love-interest mistress" scenes. Not just wrong, but HELLA wrong! I don't require porn-level gyrating detail, but damn, for so little effort that's given to the sex scenes in this book, Mary Balogh might as well have just faded to black and skipped the fucking things altogether! Betty Crocker's wardrobe change was more passionately smexy than those non-sex sex scenes!
Yep. That some hot smut right there, that is!
Reason Number 5: Hey, conflict, yooou-whoooo, oh conflict?!
So, there's this girl and this rich guy wants her, and she's on the run in disguise but the rich guy shouldn't want her and she's now his mistress and stuff happens. Best synopsis, ever. Yeah, truly, that's not too far from the mark because when this damn novel isn't ignoring the whole, "Hey, there needs to be conflict!" rule of writing, it's forcing conflict down our throats so hard you think your esophagus is about to implode into chunky bits. Half the book is spent with Jocelyn all "Can't touch this" in regards to Jane, while the other half is him pissed that he's hired her as his shagging buddy. What the serious fuck, Mary Balogh, for real? I know, I know, you've got something about some family pissed at Jocelyn and some other such thing about Jane in hiding, but...yeah. All that was lost, shuffled around, and occasionally pulled out for the "Hey, this is our conflict!" showing. I am not impressed.
Reason Number 6: Unbelievable stuff is unbelievable, like whoa-damn.
Okay, so now that all the serious bullshit is expounded upon, ranted over, and downright browbeaten into one endlessly long boring review, I'm throwing my Number 6 down. I say that because your number sixth gripe is always the one that lets you know you've had it. That subsequent shit can get no more craptastic, that your tolerance for All Things Bad in book-verse has flown right out the damn window. What the hell am I talking about? Oh, c'mon, you KNOW! You know that when the littlest irksome inconsequential elements to character or plot, ones that normally would fly under your radar in other books, are now the size of frickin' Asia to your reader-brain. More Than A Mistress was "blessed" with two such moments. The first...
"No. I was born heir to my present title. I was born with an earl's title, Jane. My family all used it until I became Tresham at the age of seventeen. You really are the first to call me by my given name."
Oh, are you fucking kidding me?! You're telling me in all this dude's entire lifespan, not one humanoid ever called this little bastard by his real name? "Oh, look, Jane be special, she's the ONLY PERSON EVER to call Mr. Hero Dude by his name!" Not his parents, not his siblings, NOT EVEN A GOD FORSAKEN FRIEND?!
Yes, Oprah, I be mad. But, alas, that was not The Moment. No, no, dear reader. My DNF-ing book-throwing, brain-'sploding moment of book stoppage did not come from that unbelievable bullshit. Rather, it was over the second instance of Unbelievable Shit is Unbelievable and that, very simply, was the fact that apparently Mr. Hero Ass-Face is not just a freakishly-gifted, master-talent level pianist. No, he's also a portrait artist! Yeah. Apparently it's not enough to be divinely gifted in just one intensely complex artistic arena, Hero-Face must be so gifted in TWO areas of intensely complex artistic arenas AND OH MY GOD SO MUCH RAGE! This was literally my tipping point, the moment where my brain just went, "Nope. Done." My bullshit tolerance had broke, I was checking out of Hotel California, and the book was flying spine-first into the nearest wall.
Dear reader, are you craving that cyanide pill yet? No? Then give me the damn thing so I can end my misery. To say I hated this book is putting it politely, to say that it was a waste of my time is putting it bluntly, and to say that it was Twilight-level bad is...well, okay, admittedly that would be a lie. At least I believed that Jane was an idiot, and Jocelyn was a douche, and that the book was set in Regency England. But, it was bad, nails-on-a-chalkboard, Lunesta-replacement GitMo bad. In the recommendation entry for this book, I literally put, "Your worst enemy." Is that a bit extreme? Probably. Do I care? Not even a little.
If ever an author was, is, and did write a novel about a marriage-of-convenience could, this is the book to study. The trope of hero-in-pursuit and maIf ever an author was, is, and did write a novel about a marriage-of-convenience could, this is the book to study. The trope of hero-in-pursuit and marriage-of-convenience, and even tortured-hero, are all familiar elements of romance novels on the market. They're popular, they're entertaining, yes, but I doubt few accomplish telling those tropes within a story as well as Kleypas did in Tempt Me At Twilight.
The characters of the book were the very definition of excellent. Harry and Poppy were two people that were completely engaging, both within the context of the story, and for the reader, myself, personally. From the initial opening sequence, to the very end of the story, I felt myself drawn into the lives, and personalities, of the leading hero and heroine. Harry is a remarkably fascinating tortured hero. I say this, frankly, because this is a common, overused trope, in many respects, and it can work splendidly, or not at all. With Harry Ruttledge, his brokenness as a man was very much a part of his characterization, and yet done in such a way that was subtle and understated.
So, too, was the creation of Poppy. In her, there is a degree of both strength, and contentment, of spice, and milk. In some ways, too, I feel that while her character was often more of a "background" personality, this kept the book from becoming exceptionally melodramatic. This melodrama could have easily been the case if Poppy's personality were anything other than what it was, most especially in the face of the book's plot and story structure.
Fundamentally, Tempt Me At Twilight is the telling of trust. The romance is powerful, yet quiet. It is a tangible reality within the book's story, but worked in such a way that while the reader realizes the plot is internal, it's outward affects on the characters still make the book very fluid and structured. This, combined with the excellent pacing of the book, I feel, allowed for a truly remarkably enjoyable story. At no point during the course of the book did I feel any dead-air, either with the story itself, or the characters reactions to their situations.
My last and final point; the ending. Okay, wow. I thought I was cued up for Catherine and Leo's story, but holy-crap, I'm even more energetic than I was before. Even though their is relatively little story-action of Catherine's backstory, I'm still enthralled with what's been revealed so far. I have the distinct feeling that Cat is far more damaged as a heroine than even I first estimated. ...more
Yeah, to put it simply, this book blew my ass straight out of the water, and onto some seriously hardcore land. I knew LiUmm...holy crap-on-a-cracker.
Yeah, to put it simply, this book blew my ass straight out of the water, and onto some seriously hardcore land. I knew Lisa Kleypas had talent, but ye gods, I didn't realize she could pack this hard of a wallop in a mass market paperback. And, with Married By Morning, she so did. Overall, the novel definitely goes to some unexpected emotional places, at least as far as the reader's expectations are concerned.
So, there's Leo, who's all...
And there Catherine, who's pretty much...
And that's pretty much the entire dynamic between both the hero and heroine, at least as far as the initial set-up is concerned. While the book definitely establishes a confrontational paradigm between these two, it absolutely evolves into a bigger story than the "I love you, I hate you, your hair is effing GORGEOUS" trope. While it's true Leo and Cat are polar opposites in many respects, their personalities mesh more as their story develops...or, rather, as Cat's story develops.
If there exist any "flaws" (and, yes, the air-quotes are a necessity) in this narrative, the plot is for real, no question Catherine-centric. The entire foundational conflict, the focus on character development, and the evolution of self-strength and contentment are absolutely dependent upon the heroine. While some argue this is standard of a romance, and, hey, their ass ain't lying, such trope is still far more specific in Married By Morning than any other Kleypas novel I've read, to date.
But! Plot, oh, hot diggity, plot! The characters are unquestionably there on page, and the story, while a linchpin on Catherine, is still very moving nonetheless. Cat's got a tragic past, Leo's got a tragic past, Cat's got some serious issues, Leo's got...well. Hmm. That's a question/debate/dude-what's-up for another time, I suppose. At the very least, there's a lot happening within the confines of the story, though admittedly it's entirely, completely internally driven. While there is some outward conflict approaching the climax of the novel, it doesn't feel like a dude forcing a door to open the wrong way. (See GIF for clarification of this bad forced-writing-joke.)
Back to topic!...The writing, as referenced above, is done exceptionally well, because the events match the character's motivations, the character's motivations match their personalities, and their personalities align swimmingly with the novel's final plot points and resolution. And, c'mon, the quotes were to die laugh-cry for, truly!
Deciding to humor her, Leo looked down at the list. "Marietta Newbury?" "Yes," Amelia said, "What's wrong with her?" "I don't like her teeth." "What about Isabella Charrington?" "I don't like her mother." "Lady Blossom Tremaine?" "I don't like her name." "Oh, for heaven's sake, Leo, that's not her fault." "I don't care. I can't have a wife named Blossom. Every night I would feel as if I were calling in one of the cows."
"Good God, are we back to that again?" Scowling, Leo finished his brandy and set the glass aside. "The last thing I want to do is sire brats." Cam lifted a brow, looking amused. "What's wrong with children?" "They're sticky. The interrupt. They cry when they don't have their way. If I want that kind of company, I have my friends."
"Fencing isn't really fighting. It's more like chess with the risk of puncture wounds." - Leo
And, then, of course, there were those oh-my-heart quotes...
"I'm sorry. Truly sorry. I...oh, what an inadequate thing to say." "It's all right," Leo said. "There are some experiences in life they haven't invented the right words for."
"The Rom would say you were a man who grieved too much. You trapped your beloved's soul in the in-between." "Either that, or I went mad." "Love is a form of madness, isn't it?"
"Sometimes you have to make a mistake to avoid making an even worse one." - Cam
"I have an extraordinary fondness for her memory. But it was a lifetime ago. And I can't ever go through that again. I love like a madman." - Leo
Out of context, these quotes assuredly don't hit home emotionally, hilariously or heart-renderingly, the way they do within the book, but, even still, they carry excellently well on their own. I was all-in with the story, the characters, even the friggin' Dodger The Ferret (not a pseudonym, by the by). The book is so deserving of it's awesomely-awesome four star ranking, and only the fact that I couldn't buy the level of I'm So Distraught Over My Past emotional reactions Cat kept having to what was, while bad, wasn't anus-rape unpleasant. (GIF not shown. You're welcome.)
So! Personal opinion-y opinions are pretentious enough to knock a star off, but, overall, in totality, this book...
So, this book is probably one of the best novels I've read in 2012. Yeah. Point, blank, and period, that fact is. While I may have not read too many pSo, this book is probably one of the best novels I've read in 2012. Yeah. Point, blank, and period, that fact is. While I may have not read too many parahistoricals in my time, the few I have attempted were often utter bombs. They were so crammed with bad plotting, or boringly unbelievable characters, or terrible pacing that such books were frequent Wall-Bangers. As bad as all the other parahistorical romances I've read were, that's how amazingly impressive the book Firelight was, and is, truly.
This novel is packed with some pretty make-it-or-break-it tropes: masked hero, tortured and impoverished heroine, and a who-dun-it back/foreground plot. The leading lady has mysterious powers, the leading man has equally mysterious abilities, there are numerous side characters who could have made the novel overly crowded, the list is endless. And, yet, the talent of Callihan was proven in this novel, because every single trope in the book worked, and worked well.
The reason for such shocking reality has to do with the sheer quality of the writing. The tone of the novel was so unique, a classic Gothic stylization that brought not only entertainment and individuality to the story, but allowed for the plot of the book to be far more believable and engaging, as a result. Callihan likewise used the element of suspense in such a powerfully stated way that, honestly, I doubt many authors on the market today would have enough lady-balls to even try.
In truth, big questions as to the hero's past, his current nature, and the fundamental mystery plot were left in limbo for much of the novel. This ballsy bravery took extreme gumption, and talent, to pull off, and I think it's reality in the book made for an even more entertaining read. This fact probably has to do with the excellent pacing of the book, I believe. The flow of the novel was very well executed, for unquestionably the plot and character interactions contain high angst and drama. Callihan allowed breaks, when necessary, and high drama points, when vital, to keep any one scene from being too mellow dramatic.
As good as the writing was, so, too, was the creation of the characters in Firelight. Not only was I utterly captivated by the circumstances surrounding both Archer and Miranda, but I was equally interested in all the secondary cast of characters, as well. I hated the father, I adored the sisters, I was begrudgingly empathetic for the hero's anti-friend, I abhorred the antagonist, and I was sympathetically emotional for the hero's friend. The above character diatribe list is truly significant when one considers the fact very little time was spent in the presence of any one side book cast member. To create such a passionate emotional response in me, the reader, with a limited number of words subsequent from the limited number of on-screen time takes some serious skills!
Lastly, I love how Callihan made certain that everything made sense in the book. This issue is true in many forms, from the character motivations of the hero and heroine's unexpected early marriage, to the book's reveal of the antagonist. Everything within the story made logical, believable sense, even in the issues that went unanswered, such as the paranormal aspects of Miranda's abilities. And, yet, all other parahistorical issues, from the mystical elements to other lesser characters.
Put simply, the novel Firelight was a genius mix paranormal and hsitorical, of internal and external conflict, of light and dark. I am so, so eager to try book two of the Darkest London series, and hope that Kristen Callihan is now going to be another of my go-to authors for excellent quality stories!...more
Anna: "Lady Anne Peckworth, previously spurned by two of our heroes from the Company of Rogues, gets her man in this book. It was a fun book--Lady AnnAnna: "Lady Anne Peckworth, previously spurned by two of our heroes from the Company of Rogues, gets her man in this book. It was a fun book--Lady Anne is a duke's daughter with a large dowry but has a handicap--a deformed foot from birth causes her to limp. She has no shortage of suitors, but has no feelings of attraction for them until she meets her brother's companion Race de Vere, a former Army officer of unknown connections and low birth. Hardly suitable for a duke's daughter but . . . as the quote goes, the heart has it reasons, of which reason knows nothing."...more