**spoiler alert** I really WANTED to like this book more than I did. It uses the sci-fi as more than a poorly painted backdrop for the story; it's int**spoiler alert** I really WANTED to like this book more than I did. It uses the sci-fi as more than a poorly painted backdrop for the story; it's integral to the tale. The reason this book failed for me is that it built the surrounding non-romance story just enough for me to feel like there were giant holes that needed filling.
My problems: - The main relationship wasn't really built up over time. Instead, she runs into this guy! On her prison planet! Who it turns out she's secretly been in love with for a while! I really needed more establishment of their relationship before we got thrown into the "so in LUUUUURVE" part. - She's a starship captain, but she spends a lot of her time in dangerous situations being distracted by...luuuuurve. I would have liked to have seen her be competent AND smitten. - Speaking of which, we don't really find out how much she loved her ship until it was destroyed. Just laying in a couple more sentences about her ship-love earlier in the book would have given its destruction more emotional impact. (This was a recurring problem in other aspects of the book - things caused emotional upset without any groundwork being laid for them to do so.) - There was a lot of deliberately sci-fi made-up language in this. Why make up a word when there are perfectly good English-language words in existence to cover the topic? - The hero was a bit too emo for me (that one's just a matter of taste)
Despite my critiques above, I did find things to like about it. - The ex-husband wasn't a total jerk! (And I gather he gets his own book later, so yay!) - One character that seemed set up to be the bad guy totally wasn't. - Several twists came as genuine surprises to me.
I may try the next one, just to see if it does a better job than this. But all in all, I found this book frustrating - there were so many ways that it could have been a great book, I really wanted it to be much better than it was....more
**spoiler alert** I would really like to give this a 3.5. I'm rounding up.
Sherrilyn Kenyon is a hugely popular writer in the supernatural romance genr**spoiler alert** I would really like to give this a 3.5. I'm rounding up.
Sherrilyn Kenyon is a hugely popular writer in the supernatural romance genre. I've read a couple of the other authors on her level of popularity - Christine Feehan and J.R. Ward, for example. I could barely get through Feehan's work, and Ward, while cracktastically addictive, can be very frustrating (tissue-thin female characters, white vampires that speak badly outdated gangsta slang and listen to hip-hop, severe retconning). I expected that Kenyon would fall in between the two.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Kenyon may actually be the best of the three. The angst-ridden backstories of her male characters are truly horrifying, and appropriate to their historical setting. The world seems well-rounded and well thought out. The female characters have at least some depth to them. Our main male character, Zarek, is somewhat jealous, but not pathological in the "you've been within 100 feet of another male, I must RAAAAAGE!" way that put me off Feehan, so I give it a pass on that level. I was immediately engaged, and she's second only to Ward in her ability to end a chapter in a way that makes you say, "I have to read the next chapter to find out what's going to happen!"
On the downside, Kenyon does fall victim to the trope of the beautiful woman with golden hair and the magic hoo-ha who solves all the psychological ills of her lover with great sex, as well as the trope of, "Someone could come in and kill us at any moment! We should be watching the door, but let's take a break for a marathon sex session while our pursuer mysteriously leaves us alone!" (I wonder if heroes and villains in romance novels make a deal that the villain won't attack while the hero is shagging?)
I could see Kenyon telling the same story over and over again, but the preview chapter of the next book seemed very different. So I'll probably give that a shot!...more
**spoiler alert** I couldn't figure out for the life of me how Bishop was going to get Theran and Cassidy together, or how she was going to make Thera**spoiler alert** I couldn't figure out for the life of me how Bishop was going to get Theran and Cassidy together, or how she was going to make Theran likeable. And the answer was: she wasn't.
Another reviewer described this as "wish-fulfillment crack." Yes, that's exactly what it is. And it's WELL-DONE wish-fulfillment crack. It never gets boring, Bishop keeps the emotional hooks firmly latched in place, and she gives us enough scenes with our favorite recurring characters to also see how their lives are changing.
There are some issues with the core concepts of the books, for example that the nobility are free to do anything, including murder, without any legal consequences. There's also the fact that the Queens and other powerful people become such because of some innate quality - the concept of "the Blood." Bishop actually confronts some of these issues in this book and the next in ways that are positive.
(It may also be that, after having watched our venerable Congress act like a bunch of spiteful children for the past year, benevolent tyranny is starting to look pretty good in comparison to democracy.)
I liked that this showed us a great deal from the villain's point of view, and made us understand his position even if we didn't agree with it. Theran is probably the most complex villain the books have ever had. This book and the next one answer the question: what happens when a decent male bonds to a Queen who is a terrible, terrible person?
I liked Cassidy enormously and rooted for her to succeed.
Gray, who turns out to be the male hero, really set my teeth on edge at first. He had a level of hysteria which I know Bishop tends to do in her broken male heroes but which bugged the heck out of me. She did, however, do a great job of setting up the ways in which they would find each other and fix each other.
I send almost all of my books on after reading them. This and the follow-up are keepers. Sometimes when you're having a rough day a little wish-fulfillment crack is just what the doctor ordered....more
**spoiler alert** The basic trope of this book - man trapped in book meets woman who wants to release him from his curse - worked for me. But I found**spoiler alert** The basic trope of this book - man trapped in book meets woman who wants to release him from his curse - worked for me. But I found the execution lacking.
Every man in this book that's not Julian and not dead (the dead man in question being Grace's father) is a jerk. Even Grace's best friend's husband is a jerk! Just because Grace hasn't found the right man doesn't mean that all men suck, or should suck.
We never get a sense that Grace loves her job of being a therapist - or even likes it. And if she's a sex therapist, WTF is she doing with a dangerous stalker patient like Rodney Carmichael, even on a temporary basis? It made no sense.
And if you had a dangerous stalker patient who had broken into your house, wouldn't you think just for a minute - "Oh, I shouldn't go into an elevator ALONE while my DANGEROUS STALKER who KNOWS MY ROUTINE is FOLLOWING ME"?
And wouldn't you ALERT the front-desk staff as to who your dangerous stalker was? Wouldn't they pay attention and report if the stalker called?
For that matter, wouldn't a therapist realized that setting up a shrine to your parents in your house - leaving their room completely undisturbed and preserved - is not a sign of mental health?
The fantasy that the man who has Never Been Loved will be able to find happiness and healing as soon as he gets into the magic vayjay annoys the crap out of me. Too many women believe this in real life. Guess what? If he's that damaged, you can't fix him. He can only fix himself. And a decent therapist would know that.
Yes, I know it's fantasy. But these were things that were so far out there that they threw me out of the story....more
**spoiler alert** Though I didn't love it quite as much as the first novel, I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Henrietta and Miles seem very well-ma**spoiler alert** Though I didn't love it quite as much as the first novel, I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Henrietta and Miles seem very well-matched, and I liked that neither of them were over-achieving heroes. I would have liked a little more adventure to balance out the romance. There's a nice bit of set-up for the third book toward the end here....more
I may have been disappointed by this book because it was oversold to me as THE MOST GROUNDBREAKING WORK OF FANTASY EVAR. I think if it had been just pI may have been disappointed by this book because it was oversold to me as THE MOST GROUNDBREAKING WORK OF FANTASY EVAR. I think if it had been just positioned as an enjoyable retake on certain fantasy tropes I would have a more positive review. I found the characters somewhat two dimensional (and one verging into Mary Sue territory). The ending left me cold. I did like the magical system she drew up in the novel; it was clearly playing by a set of rules and I would have liked to have seen it expanded on further....more