Mara's Reviews > The Devil's Own

The Devil's Own by Sandra Brown
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's review
Dec 07, 2011

bookshelves: goodreads-giveaway, romance, why-must-you-frustrate-me-so, this-hero-suuuuux, this-heroine-be-cray
Read in February, 2012 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** DISCLAIMER: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and Ms. Brown was kind enough to send me a couple of her other books along with this one. This is one of her early books (written more than 20 yrs ago), and as such is not a good example of her writing and should only be read by her most ardent fans, or people who inhale old category romances.

I have no idea how to rate this book. Some of the issues I had with it:

1. The name of the country. A lot of authors use invented names for their story settings, and some use existing names fictionally. There is no country named Montenegro in South America (though Wikipedia says that there is such an area in Columbia), but there is a country in Europe called Montenegro. Since I am very familiar with this actual Montenegro, I found myself thrown out of the story at various moments. This, however, was not that bad on my scale of issues, unlike the others.

2. That dated romantic ideal. Make no mistake, this is an oldskool romance. It was first published under a different name in 1987, and it shows. The man is debauched, and the woman is a virgin. He thinks she is a prostitute, she thinks he is a mercenary. She would do anything to save the lives of nine orphans, which is why she kidnaps him and then tries to hire him to get them through the jungle full of guerrilla fighters. Only, he is not a soldier, but a Pulitzer-winning photographer. Hijinks ensue.

Except, I hate a lot of tropes the author uses here. I hate "punishing kisses" and men who can't respect boundaries. I hate "damaged" heroes, when that is used as an excuse for the hero being a jackhole. I hate men who get frustrated and then take their frustration out on other people, especially when we're talking about the hero harassing the heroine just because he wants to sex her up, yet can't. Dude, you're 35 years old, and you haven't learned to control yourself? Gimme a break. So what if she told you that she was a nun. It was one of her smarter moves, since you're a horny jackhole who didn't respect her, before and after. Hero [to the heroine]: "And just for the record, you made a much more convincing whore than you did a nun." Uh, sure, pal, whatever you say. slap him

Which gets us to the heroine. I have no words of praise for her, either. She combines doormat with TSTL. She falls for the hero, even though he is an ass. I was annoyed by her reasons for trying to help others. Ugh. Talk about daddy issues. What irritates me the most, though, is that once-popular idea to which most of the characters subscribe, that if you have sex with someone (once!), you are a loose woman. Thank God those good ol' times are behind us.

3. The writing. There were a lot of words unnecessarily lifted from a thesaurus, and purple prose. I'll list some examples:
In sublime surrender, he buried his face in her neck and let the exquisite seizures wash over him. He abdicated control to the natural forces of his own body and filled the woman he had wanted for what seemed like a lifetime with the hot, potent issue of his loins.

* * *

Jenny was bouncing a truculent Trent on her thighs.

* * *

Anger was the only way to effectively douse the flames in his loins.

* * *

His mouth came down hard on hers. Her lips parted. His tongue made one sweet, piercing stab into her mouth. The suddenness of it, the masculine claim it symbolized, made her weak. Her hands clutched the front of his tank top and her head fell back. His whiskers scraped her face, but she didn't mind. His tongue, as smooth as velvet and as nimble as a candle's flame, mated with hers and provocatively stroked the inside of her mouth.

An emptiness deep inside Kerry yawned wide, wider, yearning to be filled. Her breasts felt full, as with milk. [etc.]
*Kanye shrug*
To be fair, some parts of the book were interesting, and those were the parts where there was no awkward romance, but pure survival. I know Ms. Brown later turned to writing suspense, so I feel confident that her later, more recent books will make me happier.

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