This was my 8th Heyer read and I'm sorry to say that it's my least favourite thus far.
In this case, I went into the book expecting to read Horatia andThis was my 8th Heyer read and I'm sorry to say that it's my least favourite thus far.
In this case, I went into the book expecting to read Horatia and Rule's story as they go from a marriage of convenience to a real marriage. Instead, you don't really get to see all that much of Horatia and Rule, especially in the first half of the book, as the story is mostly told through the conversations taking place between side characters.
Furthermore, as soon as the marriage has actually taken place, Horatia's delightful character presented in the first chapter morphs into a very unlikeable spoilt brat - she's spending huge amounts of her husband's money on frivolities, gambling away yet more of his money at the card tables, and if he so much as hints that he would appreciate she act in a particular manner, she obstinately does everything in her power to act in the opposite manner. She came across as a foolish child and I came to dislike her immensely. Rule didn't appeal to me much either; I never felt like we got to know the real him because he hid behind games and lazy smiles.
Even when you get to the second half and you start to see more of Horatia and Rule allowing you to start to understand the two of them a little more, things didn't pick up much. Horatia's suddenly in love with Rule, and I didn't understand why because no attention had been given to the growth of their relationship. Moreover, the second half of the story is dominated by Horatia's brother Pel and though he was an entertaining character, he was a bit lourd. I'd quite had enough of his antics by the end of it all.
Heyer's fabulous style was the only saving grace here, and it couldn't save everything. Oh well, it won't put me off trying again with another novel at a later date....more
* The story actually starts in the first book. All those things mentioned in the synopsisDNF at around the 25% point.
Here are some of the reasons why:
* The story actually starts in the first book. All those things mentioned in the synopsis? They happened in book 1.
* Everything is so damn melodramatic. Dominique doesn't seem to know if he's coming or going, and his mood swings happen so quickly and so often that they're impossible to keep up with.
* There is no character building. There's a lot of heat between the characters, but absolutely nothing to back it up so I raelly just didn't care and felt awkward reading about their interactions.
* The contradictions. -> Dominique orders Isabelle to get ready and come up on deck of the ship. When she does this and overhears a conversation about using a brothel, he gets annoyed that she evesdropped on him and his crew. Then he immediately sends her back below deck!
-> She hadn't even known he was in the same bed with her until his thrashing woke her Next page: His touch would have been intimate, had his gloves been removed before bed. But when she asked if he was going to remove them he sneered...
* The stupidity: -> The tears that Isabelle had been holding in burst. Unable to even see which direction the bed was in, she stood and cried like a small child. How can you not know where the bed is in a bedroom when you've been standing in there for a while?
-> Must she be such a prude? After all, hadn't his hands spent the better part of the night running up and down her curves? No, actually, he hadn't. According to the narrative he spent all of a few minutes - tops! - touching her, then slept on the other side of the room. That's a far, far cry from the better part of the night.
-> Isabelle hugs one servant, then kisses the cheek of another. This is supposed to be set in the regency period! Both of these actions took place within a very short time span after having met the servants. Members of the aristocracy were most definitely not so familiar with their servants.
I got to the point where I was starting to read the book, then finding other things to do instead of read any further. When I choose to fill in endless puzzels instead of read my book, I know it's time to admit defeat.
This book has all the hallmarks that make it a siren call for me. Fairy tale element: check Historical element: check Fantasy element: check
The backstorThis book has all the hallmarks that make it a siren call for me. Fairy tale element: check Historical element: check Fantasy element: check
The backstory to the events was great. I loved the idea that the Spanish Flu didn't just kill those who died, but transformed them into zombies. I loved the setting of a country reeling from the aftermath of war while also having to deal with the zombieism of loved ones. I liked how Ella was essentially the village slayer, despite her reservations about the role that has befallen her.
So, it was a good idea, but there were certain weaknesses in the presentation that let it down. For one, a lot of events taking place to advance the budding romance are very dependant on chance encounters. I can accept and believe a couple of these chance encounters, but not so many as are presented here.
On another note, the language use was a bit all over the place. The narrative was written in the past tense, but sometimes there were sentences presenting general ideas that were in the present tense:
Oh bugger, I saw my lovely hot bath being emptied into the yard. I would cry, but I was too worn out to muster up the tears.
There were sentences where the editing process had failed: The creature carried on its attack, no doubt wondering where I had went.
All in all, pretty good - one that would prompt me to try the author again - but not one that I'll reread every year....more
Another Beauty and the Beast retelling earning itself an automatic spot on my TBR.
The story follows the original BatB story so closely that it doesn'tAnother Beauty and the Beast retelling earning itself an automatic spot on my TBR.
The story follows the original BatB story so closely that it doesn't really allow itself any originality, which definitely did not work to its advantage. I didn't feel drawn in by it because I didn't feel it was really offering me anything new.
There were some good ideas to it all, like the story behind House, but throughout it all I found I was mostly frustrated to with Bryony because she was incapable of seeing what was right in front of her face, despite several characters making it pretty damn obvious at various points in the story. It was most irritating....more
Much as I thought my memories of the first book were vague after a couple of years, it turned out my memories of this one were even worse. I couldn’tMuch as I thought my memories of the first book were vague after a couple of years, it turned out my memories of this one were even worse. I couldn’t even remember which of the characters turned out to be the bad guy.
The first time around I remember not really appreciating the fact that so much time elapsed between the first and second books (three years) because that meant that everything that was set up in the first book was now outdated. For me, it meant that all the relationships between the characters were no longer valid because an awful lot can change in three years. The way that the book reads, it’s more like everything just had a pause button placed on it for three years (all relationships seem to pick up exactly where they left off at the end of Royal Street), which in all honesty isn’t really all that realistic.
That aside, this book is just as enjoyable as the previous one.
This time around the water of the Mississippi river is being poisoned, mere clans are threatening war, wizards have been murdered, and it’s up to DJ and Alex to investigate everything.
Jean Lafitte is now introduced as an ally and his character is allowed to shine. We see Jake still struggling with the aftermath of the events at the end of the previous book. Alex is still mysterious yet compelling. It’s at this point that DJ’s relationship with her best friend, Eugenie, is fleshed out more, and we’re introduced to her creepy boyfriend (who will play a bigger role from book 3 onwards). We also get to meet a few new characters; Rene in particular ends up being a lot of fun – especially when DJ casts a spell on him that seems to have more of an effect on her than on him.
The romance takes a bit more of a backseat here, but it’s still most definitely present. DJ’s still torn between Alex and Jake – Alex who’s off limits, and Jake who’s psychologically damaged – as well as indulging in a spot of flirting with Jean Lafitte whenever the opportunity arises. Alex decides to complicate things by making insinuations that leave DJ flustered and unable to place their relationship back in the locked box that she’d been keeping it in.
The story meanders about but it all ties up and leads to a thrilling final battle and a conclusion that has the reader ready to leap into book 3....more
It’s been a good three years and a couple of hundred books since I first read Royal Street. With the release of the fourth book in the series imminentIt’s been a good three years and a couple of hundred books since I first read Royal Street. With the release of the fourth book in the series imminent, at the start of April I decided it would be a good idea to refresh my memories of the previous books.
I still had vague memories of the events of the book, and, as I discovered when I started rereading, vague turned out to be an apt description because it turned out that I’d forgotten a lot of details.
The first time around I felt that the impact of Katrina was well presented, but not in a way that really made me also feel the pain of the locals. Being three years older and wiser, I felt the impact of this natural disaster a lot more this time around. As you’re reading the book it’s obvious that there’s a lot of love for New Orleans behind the story. Throughout it all you’re taken on a guided tour of the city. You can feel DJ’s horror at the devastation wreaked on the city in the wake of Katrina.
This said, though I reacted to the imagery more with the second reading, for me personally it still didn’t really hit me – not in that way where you feel like you’ve been left with a void in your chest. I think that’s because Katrina was at such a distance from me that it didn’t really have an effect on me in my daily life (beyond being required to prepare an oral report on the flooding of the city for class).
The story itself is well plotted, well presented, and engaging. I really enjoy the world of subtle forms of magic that is introduced to our own world. DJ often laments that she’s a Green Congress wizard, thus specialised in rituals that take time to complete, yet I find her rituals and the potions she prepares to be fascinating. Much more interesting than reading about someone flinging magic around left, right and centre.
There are a host of intriguing characters that come in various interesting forms: wizards, historical undead (humans kept alive by collective memory), shifters, werewolves/loup garous, voodoo gods to name a few. There are plenty of other forms of preternatural creatures that are still kept in the wings at this point. The magic systems are engaging, I particularly enjoyed them.
As an aside #1, at one point the DJ tells us that outsiders, including her British mentor, always pronounce New Orleans incorrectly (New Or-leens). I'm British and I've always pronounced the name New Or-le-ans. In fact, I don't think I've heard anyone other than American pronounce the name of the city as Or-leens.
As an aside #2, it’s mentioned that pirate Jean Lafitte is probably New Orleans’s most famous historical person with plenty of things named after him. Until I read this book I’d never heard of Jean Lafitte. I asked a few other Brits as well and they’d never heard of him either. The ultimate test will be asking my history buff of a grandfather. I’ll put it on my to-do list....more
Sometimes you read a book and in essence it's almost good book but it's missing that certain something that would have actually made it a good book. TSometimes you read a book and in essence it's almost good book but it's missing that certain something that would have actually made it a good book. This book was one of those books.
I wanted to like it. I purchased it as soon as I read the synopsis as this sort of story is usually right up my alley. And to be fair, the premise is very good and does really appeal to me. In particular, I liked the vastly different settings that are presented.
Despite a slow start I found the first half of the book fabulous. Clio comes across as a spoilt child at the very start of the book but, thankfully, quickly evolves to take a different view on life when she loses her family. However, at some point she develops a hero complex and that's when she lost me. There are times when characters need to recognise that they're going up against something that is more than they can chew, and that they're going to have to take their losses. Clio doesn't manage to achieve that revelation and instead keeps throwing herself up against odds that are stacked against her when she had the option of retreating and coming up with an actual plan.
Clio spends much of the first half in a prison cell. This restricted setting really allowed the story to flourish and the relationships between characters to be nicely developed between main players in the story. When Clio gets out of her prison the story lost me. At times things felt very melodramatic and the love triangle in particular felt very forced. It added tension that the story didn't actually need - it had plenty of tension from other sources.
As a final point, a few times during the story the editing process failed to catch cases where it seemed like the author had started a sentence with one idea in mind and then ended it with another: Had Clio known looked upon this rubble... It's not necessarily a make or break thing, but it does come across as sloppy and, for me personally, I find that such mistakes rip me from the narrative....more
As a BatB retelling, this book earnt itself an automatic spot on my to read list. I was intrigued by it because here the role of the beast is reversedAs a BatB retelling, this book earnt itself an automatic spot on my to read list. I was intrigued by it because here the role of the beast is reversed. It took me a little while to get around to reading it, but when I did I found this book pretty hard going.
The main issue in the first part of the story is that we come into Holland's life after certain traumatic events have taken place, so the narrative is constantly referring to a version of Holland that the reader is only ever told about and never shown. This made it hard for me to accept the changes in her personality and I couldn't connect with her character very well.
At this point in the story I wasn't feeling particularly inspired by either Holland or Mick. Furthermore, I didn't really feel the relationship between her brother and his sister. It was very rushed and I didn't feel that was a connection between them before they were jumping each other's bones.
Once the story really gets going, the lore behind the curse placed on both families gets explored. The backstory behind it all was interesting, but there were some plot holes that made it seem like the author had started out with one idea then changed her mind part way through writing the story and switched to something else.
Even though the story had got more interesting by this point, I still had a hard time connecting with it. All of the characters felt more like caricatures rather than people. I didn't dislike the story, but it failed to really catch my attention either.
As a final point, at times the author would use a word out of context and it would jar me from the story. There are a few cases of this but the only one I can remember off the top of my head went something along the lines of: It was a phenomenon that she'd survived this long. A phenomenon is something that can be observed and studied. I don't think Holland surviving any length of time can really be described as a phenomenon....more
When I purchased the book I didn't realise that the author was the same as one I've read before. I've read her fantasy books (written under pen name EWhen I purchased the book I didn't realise that the author was the same as one I've read before. I've read her fantasy books (written under pen name Emily Gee) and really enjoyed them. Once I'd realised that I was really looking forward to reading one of her historical romances.
I didn't find this one as engaging as the fantasy books, but that could be because I don't usually find the historical romance genre as engaging as the fantasy genre in general.
However, I didn't find the major plot device in this story (her keeping truths from him) to be particularly intriguing. It's a tried and true plot device in romance and this story didn't bring anything new to it. Furthermore, I couldn't engage very well with a number of the characters. The protégée in particular was so ridiculous that every scene that she was in frustrated me.
On top of that, writing this review a little over a month after having read the book, I find that I can't recall the contents of the story very well, which is never a good sign after so little time has passed. In fact, I keep muddling up the events with those that took place in another historical romance that I read several weeks before I read this one.
Beauty and the Scarred Hero was an enjoyable distraction, but it's not one that will draw me back to it the way her fantasy stories do....more
This is a beautiful story, reminiscent of myths and legends of old, of interactions between gods and mortals. The characters are those of the Winner'sThis is a beautiful story, reminiscent of myths and legends of old, of interactions between gods and mortals. The characters are those of the Winner's trilogy, but the focus is on a take told by them rather than a tale about them.
The lyrical style pulls you in early on and keeps haunting you even after the last word.
I purchased this book because of the Cinderella aspect to it. I don't know what I really expected of it.
However, the story didn't work very well for mI purchased this book because of the Cinderella aspect to it. I don't know what I really expected of it.
However, the story didn't work very well for me simply because the setting was historical, but the romance read like a contemporary. No self-respecting woman in that day and age would have acted the way this heroine did, especially considering how little she knew about the hero at that point.
There were more issues with the story, but it's this one that really kept me from being able to enjoy what I was reading....more
I don’t usually read contemporary romance novels, but I’ve read Claire Gillian before and enjoyed her work. So when I saw that she had a new novel outI don’t usually read contemporary romance novels, but I’ve read Claire Gillian before and enjoyed her work. So when I saw that she had a new novel out, the temptation proved to be more than sufficient to get me to buy the book.
The concept of the job position that the two main characters are fulfilling in the story isn’t one that is familiar to me, and it took me a little while to get my head around it, but once the story actually switched the setting of the ship I was much more comfortable.
I really enjoyed the story. It’s not serious and more importantly it doesn’t take itself seriously. There are a few plot points that aren’t expanded upon as much as I would have liked (most notably, Mark’s reappearance, which just served to stir up trouble, was explained away in an offhand manner that didn’t fit with the feel of Paul’s way of working up till that point.)
The relationship between the characters is pretty heavy-handed as of the get go, but it’s still allowed to smoulder enough to not only keep the reader interested all the way through, but also get them invested in the outcome of all the revelations that still need to be made.
Boss Overboard cements my status as a fan of Claire Gillian… now I’m tempted to go back and reread The P.U.R.E.....more