Tasmia's Reviews > Any Wicked Thing

Any Wicked Thing by Margaret Rowe
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The hero is dealing with some major trauma which I was not expecting from the breezy back blurb, and thus his coping methods - and the way they shape and torque the relationship between him and the heroine - took me aback. I find it hard to reconcile the implications of the hero's experience - hinted at in his conversation with his friends, and clearly shown in his behaviour - with the presentation of this story as escapist entertainment. Some of what happens in this book is conventionally erotic, and some bits of it play to standard romance tropes. But altogether I find there's a misfit between how we're supposed to take the story and what the story actually is. The only way in which Freddie "teaches" Sebastian that the past is not what it seems is that through their entanglement, Sebastian becomes better able to put his demons - those related to his experiences in captivity, not to do with Freddie at all - to rest. This book should come with a warning about heavy themes including non-con, torture, bondage, and dominance/submission. Perhaps I am too used to the benefit of trigger warnings for fanfic, but I think anyone would be better set to appreciate this book if they at least knew to expect something beyond the usual pabulum of historical romance. Two stars, because although the writing and detail are excellent, the story doesn't suit the genre it wants to belong to. 7 Jul/12

ETA/NTS: I realized why I couldn't give this book three stars - I can't say I liked it. It unsettled me. It's actually really well written, with humour and detail and sometimes shockingly beautiful prose. The story is intense, and the emotional depth of the leads' interaction is appreciable. So much about this book qualifies it as exceptionally good - but not enough to overcome the problems I had with it as described above. 7 Aug/12

Initial reaction: Intense. Really excellent prose. Somewhat uneven story and characters. Ultimately I don't find myself equipped to really review or even rate it. 2 Jul/12
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