Let me begin by saying, I love Stephanie Plum. Love her. I love Morelli, Ranger, Lula, Grandma Mazur, Connie, Vinnie, the Burg, and everything and everyone connected to Stephanie's weird, weird world. No, I don't consider these books to be "great literature," and yes, I do think they are formulaic in the extreme. But the formula still works for me, because...and this is a BIG because...it makes me laugh out loud. Every time. I'm always happy to buy the next book in the series, and Explosive Eighteen was no exception.
Having said that, I do think that this book seemed to have a little less meat on the bone than most of the earlier ones. And by the time the "Explosion" finally rolled around, it fell a bit flat to me. I wanted it to be...MORE...I guess, rocket launcher or no. But I still enjoyed every page.
My biggest complaint about the series is the same as many others have expressed...Stephanie needs to PICK ONE. And I know in my heart which one it needs to be, namely Joe Morelli. He has waited so patiently for her to grow up and realize he's meant to be with her, that I always end up feeling a bit sad for him. I can't believe she's still dithering around over this issue. NOT that I don't think Ranger is hot. He is. He's sexy, mysterious, and dangerous, too. What he is NOT is domesticated. Can you picture this tiger drying dishes or taking out the garbage? Would you WANT to picture that? Not I. He's perfect fantasy material, but husband? Not so much.
Morelli, on the other hand, is everything a woman could want in a husband, and Stephanie needs to wake up!
In the meantime, I am always uncomfortable with her fairly recent habit of bedhopping between the two men, as though she has no control over her hormones at all. Call me a granny, but I prefer my heroines to behave at least a bit more circumspectly. Of course, a circumspect Stephanie Plum is a bit of an oxy-moron, but still. I would feel better about Stephanie if she aimed higher in that regard. And apparently Stephanie
would feel better about herself, as well, judging from her thoughts and comments in this book. Even if the course of her relationship with Morelli (I hope) doesn't always run smoothly, I personally think she should refrain from jumping into bed (or the closet, as the case may be) with Ranger, no matter how alluring he might seem. Otherwise...well, can we say "Bimbo," boys & girls?
Overall, though, these are small complaints for a series of books that still, after all this time, makes me laugh so loudly & so often. And that Laugh Factor alone warrants the 4 stars I'm giving Explosive Eighteen.Bookin' It