Karla's Reviews > Barbary Bounty
by Melissa Masters
bookshelves: historical-romance, pirates-and-buccaneers, bodice-ripper, gross-out-moment, author-is-a-guy, adventure, not-as-advertised, cannibalism, dead-tree
But in retrospect, I was too harsh on an author who gave off all kinds of "I'm a guy and flying blind here!" red flags and -- to be a blatant sexist for a sec -- couldn't possibly know his way around the genre. So in the intervening year I like to think I've progressed from evangelical BR mode to more of a Cafeteria Catholic mindset. LOL
So, what to make of Barbary Bounty?
Well, it's crap.
It's not fun wheeeeee crap like Passion's Sweet Sacrifice, with the heroine getting a clitoral tickle from French interrogators and had me laughing my ass off through most of the whole thing. Barbary Bounty is kinda more a romance that got mixed in with a splatter flick and a Chuck Norris movie. Lots of "Holy shit!" and "Oh gross!" and "The author really loves his action scenes" moments with this one, and I found it very entertaining in its own way.
"Melissa Masters" (if that is indeed her real name, and I'm 100% sure it isn't though I have no definite proof) still couldn't figure out whether to write a romance or have a bunch of people running around doing actiony stuff with heads being shot off. It's what baffled me in the first book, but this time I was prepared and able to enjoy it for what it was.
The story is supposedly a sequel to Barbary Bride. The heroine, Trent (yes, you read that right), is the daughter of Lady Trevor (yes, you read that right) and El-Kifer from Book 1. The hero, Hall Fargo, is actually a Barbary chief whose father was killed by El-Kifer and now he's on the warpath of vengeance. He hooks up with the evil Count Flaubert from Book 1 and Flaubert's new ebil lady love Evita (who is also Fargo's mistress), and they concoct a scheme to abduct Trent and hold her for ransom to lure El-Kifer out into the open so they can rip his head off and shit down his neck.
Despite being the "heroine", Trent really doesn't do much in the story, although her relationship with her slave maid Melba (also a mistress of Fargo) does have some believable ups and downs in the early part of the book. Trent also gets a disgusting "OMG, what did I eat??" surprise just like her mama did in Book 1. The author obviously wanted to go back to the hits.
Partway through the plot, though, Lady Trevor and El-Kifer get more face time and emotional action, and Trent and Fargo are pretty much forgotten. The entire story was scattershot (just like Book 1) as people run around doing things, and there are plenty of people running around doing lots of things. The first several chapters are packed full of characters that could probably have been scaled back a bit so that it wasn't a Cast of Thousands.
What confused me most is that the story kept switching back and forth from New Orleans and Northern Africa with the same characters is both places within days or at the same time. I might be wrong about that because the pacing and chronology was so hectic, but it sure gave that impression. But it still made more sense than the plot in Barbary Bride. That one had some plot tied up in shipping corridors and monopolies. This one is much simpler to follow. In fact, it could have the tagline:
El-Kifer's back...and this time it's personal.
I've gone on and on about boring stuff in a really boring way because, really, the book itself holds the goodies, so I'll give you a few choice excerpts. If these don't turn you off, then this is the book for you.
The Sex (and there's really not much of it compared to Book 1)
His triumphant manhood filled her as she flung herself upward to meet his thrust, limbs thrashing feverishly. Then she was swallowed by a boiling sppasm of pleasure that sucked her higher and higher until she cried out wildly at the peak of ecstasy, then fell back drained.
"God damn you..." she repeated, voice choked by the feral stench of blood and lust. "God damn you to hell."
While silently, Trent cursed the whore's body that had betrayed her secret shame.
The Violence & Gross-Out Stuff (where the author really shines)
1. Although her hands were bound behind her back, her feet dangled free -- straddling a smooth, cone-shaped pole jammed between her legs. Greasy strings of viscera spewed from the ragged gash in her belly like a tattered apron, while gore covered her body from groin to ankle.
2. Shortly before dawn, the rats returned, by the score, scuttling across the smoldering ruins in search of food. Drooling with fear Evita watched the squealing beasts swarm over the Turk's bloated corpse, their sharp fangs tearing away his skin. Within minutes they'd gouged a ragged crater in his belly and were burrowing inside his rib cage like a mass of furry maggots.
I'd desperately love to know who "Melissa Masters" really is. I suspect that he was some poor schlub chained to his desk and cranked out pulpy horror novels until he decided to get a bit of a pay raise and write something for the romance market. Except some habits are hard to shake, much to my delight.
||0.0%||"I think the author is yanking my chain, having the heroines in "her" two Barbary books called Trevor and Trent. Srsly?" 3 comments|
||12.0%||"I think I'm going to hate this heroine. :D" 3 comments|
||22.0%||"Oh crap, MORE characters? How many am I going to have to keep track of??? :-\" 3 comments|
||30.0%||"The author is really doing a good job of making me want to see this bitchface heroine go through a world of hurt. Bring on the rapetastic mayhem." 1 comment|
||35.0%||"Only a few pages later the heroine had a growing-up moment that was done well. So she gets a reprieve from my bitchy reader vindictiveness. :P"|
""God damn you..." she repeated, voice choked by the feral stench of blood and lust. "God damn you to hell."
And no, the damn dirty
||52.0%||"The author just devoted 36 pages to the villainess' backstory. She is now officially more interesting than the heroine." 5 comments|
"Oh boy, here we go again...
"The giant warrior's naked flesh quivered like a hairy mound of pudding as he lurched toward the couch and began pawing at Trent's body."
Again with the pudding imagery! :D" 3 comments
||67.0%||"Hahahahaha, impalement and unwitting drinking of blood! So gross!!! :D The first book had the heroine eating Cooked Boyfriend in ignorance. I'm keeping these 2 books for the sheer gross-out OTTness. :D" 1 comment|
""A moment later his skull exploded with vicious force, spraying gobs of brain matter and chipped bone everywhere."
Even if there's been no real romance in this thing, at least there's been awesome gross-out violence. :D" 3 comments
""The sharp crunch of broken bone lanced his arm, as the impact crushed Flaubert's nose. Part of his cheek collapsed as well, & one eye popped from its shattered socket like a pulpy red plum when his skull smacked the steel cage. His shrieks became a frothing babble as blood bubbled from the soggy red mass that had once been his face."
This book is fast becoming a 1980s Chuck Norris movie. :D" 4 comments
||98.0%||"As NON-ROMANCE as this "romance" is, the villain deaths are friggin' EPIC in the disgusting factor. :D"|