Rea's Reviews > The Sting of The Scorpio

The Sting of The Scorpio by Monique Domovitch
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's review
Jan 16, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

Full review can be found here.

Before I start with the actual review, I’m going to point out one very important thing about me: I view fidelity in marriage as being of utmost importance. I do not tolerate infidelity and if you read my recent review of Secrets by Freya North, you’ll be aware that this affects my enjoyment of books as well. Now, I’m not religious, so this isn’t something I take from any religious text, it is simply part of my moral code. I could ramble on about how we, as humans, are not really meant to enter such long-term monogamous relationships scientifically speaking, but that’s neither here nor there right now. What is important is that a character incapable of fidelity never sits well with me.

Coming back to the book, I’ve mentioned this because Alex is simply incapable of keeping his dick in his pants. He resents being trapped by marriage, which is ironic as he’s the one who so doggedly pursued Brigitte in the first place, insisting that they marry. This leads to him having a string of affairs, which he doesn’t even bother to hide very well, while treating Brigitte like she’s below him. Scumbag. This extends to his treatment of her in all aspects of their life together, often speaking down to her.

Brigitte, meanwhile, does all she can to make Alex happy. She bends over backwards for this guy and it’s never enough. I kept hoping that she’d grow a backbone and stand up for herself. In the long run, that would probably have been more effective; it certainly worked the first time around in Paris! But she just put up with his antics, even when they spread to the treatment of her son.

Speaking of David, though he is mentioned fairly frequently, he doesn’t actually appear in the story until a third of the way in. I missed him during this time and would have liked to have watched him growing up and adapting to life in the USA.

There’s that old fable of the scorpion and the frog. I forget who supposedly told it, but the story goes along the lines of: the frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the water if the scorpion agrees not to sting him. The scorpion promises that he won’t but half way across, he stings the frog anyway. When asked why he did it, he says that he couldn’t help himself, it’s just in his nature.

Really, I suppose I could have guessed this from the title of the book. I think I was expecting Alex and Brigitte to work as a team against whoever was trying to ‘sabotage’ Alex’s work, and that would be the sting, but I was far off the mark. Kudos to the author for weaving this retelling of the tale, though!

Alex, a Scorpio, is the scorpion and Brigitte, a Frenchie, is the frog. At least, that’s how I saw it. I’m not actually sure whether Brigitte’s nationality was chosen on purpose, but I’m tempted to say it was. The whole thing was ingenious, anyway! Alex, as such, cannot help himself and stings everyone that he comes into contact with. Whereas in the first book, Alex was driven but still a relatable character that the reader could root for, in this book I steadily slipped further and further into a state of hatred for him. I’m fairly sure that I was meant to feel this way too, as Alex does not present any redeeming or sympathetic qualities. He destroys everything of importance that he touches and I was torn because as the reader, I no longer knew what I wanted for either of the characters. Alex had gone from being the hero to being the villain and I wasn’t sure how to readapt my focus on the character.

In less deft hands, I believe that this story would have repulsed me, but as it is, Monique Domovitch instilled a sort of morbid fascination in me. Even though I was repulsed by the events in the story, I was also so caught up in them that I had to know what would come next.

The one other thing that really surprised me was that Anne, who swore revenge on Alex at the end of Scorpio Rising, waited decades before actually acting on her promise. It was good reading when she did, though!

(N.B. Time moves quickly in this novel: months, even years, can pass in the jump of a paragraph.)
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