70 % done.. And I'm through with Viridis. This book is just not working for me.
The thing is, this isn't even a bad book. I'm still giving this three stars because it shows so much promise, and it had the potential to be totally awesome. And it was. Until the romance started dominating the story.
I really liked the first part. We get introduced to a steampunkish Victorian London with lots of cool machines they call "tinkerings". Phoebe is the owner of the exclusive club Viridis and the inventor of the drink Viridis that "heightens the senses" (read: make you very horny). There is an investigation, a whodunit, etc. I liked it. There's also a little background storyline of the Cause that fights for the poor, which was pretty interesting.
Then, enter my big annoyance, the love interest Seth. We got of on the right foot actually, which is unusual for me. There was a history between him and Phoebe, which made it easier for me to believe their love. He seemed like a fine guy, nothing really special. I was fine with him and Phoebe hoovering a bit around each other, the little should-I-shouldn't-I game. It was quite amusing.
Phoebe is the standard strong heroine. She is very stubborn and doesn't trust anyone to be there for her. She doesn't trust that Seth will stay this time. And now, my dear readers, here comes the shocking part. Mr Seth has a brilliant idea. While they are in Phoebe's bedroom, they get in a fight. Phoebe is screaming at Seth, doing the strong heroine routine. Seth takes his belt, binds her hands to the headboard, and has sex with her. Even though Phoebe is still cursing him and screaming to let her go. Afterwards, when they're cuddling, their conversation goes like this.
Seth: "Can you forgive me for this?"
Phoebe: "I respect you for what you did. It was necessary to make me trust you."
Pardon my language. WHAT. THE. HELL. IS. THIS. SHIT.
I can't even...
No. Dear Ms Taylor. This is called rape. This is called sexual abuse. This is not romantic. This was not consensual. And a truly strong heroine would not "respect" this. She would kick that Seth in the balls the second he let her go.
But I read on, hoping it would get better. It didn't. If the mystery had been the main focus of the book, I would have gotten through. But it wasn't. There was added a completely unexpected (and unnecessary?) love triangle, and Phoebe was abused some more. She gets locked inside a room for a day, for instance. Only thing she does is slap the guy once and have a breakdown. If she really was that strong, she would NOT have accepted this. I'm a wussy, but no one ever can lock me inside a room for a whole day against my will without me giving them hell.
So I'm giving up. I would love to read a non-romance title from this author. Her world is nice, and the mystery is nice. The romance just wasn't for me.