Karla's Reviews > Ravishing the Heiress

Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas
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** spoiler alert ** WARNING: GIFs (since it seems to be a bugaboo for some with liking and feeds and whatnot)

It's been a couple days and yet I still don't know how to formulate my thoughts about this book.

Why?

Because I still feel like this:



"Oh, but you're just a hater!" you might say. And you'd be (partly) right. These new romances do have lots to live up to IMO. It's not (entirely) my fault they usually fall short. I admit I'm a harsh grader with the plethora of Regencies and Regencies-in-all-but-name Victorian-set tales of passion, angst and woe that are published by the megafuckington load.

But I'd never read Sherry Thomas before, and the description of her as being an author who writes outside the normal formulas piqued my interest.

That said, full disclosure, this was a Snarky Buddy Read from the very beginning (and check out my colleague-in-pain's review here). But the praise for Thomas did have me optimistic.



*blinks*

And, to be fair, the writing was a cut above what I've suffered in other books (hence the second star). But still, pretty turns of phrase here and there don't erase the experience of...wait, let me get my list....

1) Godawful bloody annoying schticky narrative framing (aka time leaps back and forth between chapters) that wrought absolute fucking havoc on the characterization in relation to the story's pacing.

2) Totally unrelated-to-the-story-at-hand but blatant-and-obnoxious-please-buy-my-next-book secondary character subplot bait.

3) A heroine who is not only a doormat, but is a doormat used by people who step in dog crap.

4) A hero who is an emotionally-stunted bounder, which is not a sin in itself, but who doesn't possess one ounce of charisma to offset some unbelievable doucheyness.

5) A total rush job climax and "resolution" that sucks donkey balls.

So as a half-assed stab at coherency, I'll digest one at a time.

#1: The Narrative Device
OK, this is from a purely self-centered perspective, but I don't have oodles of free time at a stretch where I can sit and read uninterrupted. It seems like lots of romance readers can consume a book in one sitting (or nearly so). You are "the other half" to me. I've got my nose pressed against the window of your lovely unencumbered afternoons (and your ability to stay up past 9pm). So when an author picks a gimmicky device like alternate timelines between chapters, it's not friendly to someone who has to put the book down every ten minutes and scrabble to remember just WTF is going on (and when) every time I come back to it. There, uninteresting bitchery over.

Now, as for how it trashed the characterization, the way Millie's and Fitz's relationship unfolded didn't survive the sharp breaks between chapters/chronologies. So much of it was stagnant and soggy that I had no idea what time period I was in. (And those wretched secondary characters didn't help matters.) Then, at the end, it shifted gears entirely and seemed totally fake and alien to all that had come before it. When things had to change in the H and h's attitudes towards each other, it was usually told and not shown because we had to rush off and see what Book 3's couple were up to.

#2: Stop It With the Series Crap, Srsly
A huge reason why this book sucked was the shoehorning of Couple from Book 1 and Couple from Book 3 into Book 2. For a book that apparently clocks in at under 300 pages, the amount of series bait filler that eats up time is unforgivable. What did Helena's and Hastings's scenes have to do with Millie and Fitz? He gives her porn to publish and she gets horny. They always clash, but he's in love with her! And she's chasing after a married man! Oooh, when does Book 3 come out? I can't wait!

Sorry, but no. When I see these word-count gobbling bits o' nothing my reaction is not one of wallet-grabbing anticipation.


(Visual approximation)

It's the book in my hands now I want to focus on, not what's being released months down the road.

And yeah, I know this trend ain't changing anytime soon, but it's no less annoying.

#3: Millie the Doormat of Dog Crap
OMG, srsly, I've never yearned so much for a feisty TSTL heroine in my life. At least they grab their destiny by the balls and try to do something, even if it's idiotic, impulsive, and doomed to failure. What does Millie do? She waits, she endures, she suffers, and she eventually gets the prize at the end (and what a prize *eyeroll*). What the hell is the moral of this story? Show an aptitude for advertising chocolate bars and a willingness to suffer repeated humiliation and you'll earn the love of your man?

Truly, I don't know how Millie's mind works beyond the pathetic eagerness of a Golden Retriever for every crumb of consideration Fitz drops in front of her nose.

And this is a small bitch, pure and simple, but why must these heroines have little or nothing else in their bookcases besides Jane Austen and the Brontes (you know it's Charlotte)? C'mon, authors, do a little research and have your heroines be a little bit less cliché in their reading.

#4: Fitz the Douchebag


Look, I know it sucks to not marry the girl you want, but Fitz was a whingeing emo teen well into adulthood. He made the conscious decision to throw Isabelle over for an heiress who could fund his weekend trips to Home Depot and tidy up his crumbling manse. He had little nothing about him in his favor. Even by the final clinch, I didn't think that Fitz loved Millie. The only things that seemed to push him towards her in the end was that Isabelle is a class snob and he's been in business long enough to lose his own snobbery towards merchants. Oh, and the dormouse Isabelle gave him died, so that severed an emotional tie of steel.

Sherry Thomas loves her emoz, and Fitz is a wallower who trashes rented rooms, drinks himself into a stupor on his honeymoon, and pines for his jilted honey for years.

Not sure why I'm supposed to be glad that this douche decides the wife he humiliated in public for 8 years by carrying on with multiple women is hot in the sack the first time and worth keeping. Millie's masochism at wanting to hear about his amours (while weeping and dying inside) made them the most pathetic, miserable and unsympathetic couple I've ever read.

#5: That Suckass Rush Job Ending
After all the angst and slow-as-molasses-if-not-entirely-absent plot, to get a last-minute climax and declaration of lurve leaped over annoying and landed into full-on obnoxiousness territory. Really, that's how you want to push the story over the finish line? A silly misunderstanding, a frantic search, and then final clinch? Really??

But I really shouldn't have been surprised by the WTFery since the hero and heroine's biggest relationship moments can be distilled down to this formula:

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Reading Progress

07/06/2012
4.0% "So this opens in 1889. Could we PLEASE have a heroine who reads somebody who's NOT Austen and Bronte? There WERE other popular female authors in England in the 19th century. Ack!" 14 comments
07/06/2012
21.0% "She couldn't smuggle a hamster into her bed, let alone a man.

Not even if they're one and the same? :P

" 1 comment
07/06/2012
35.0% "Oh wah wah waaaah.... You traded your honey for new carpets and drywall. Suck it up. Hero be such a whiny ass titty baby depressed romantic woobiekins." 23 comments
07/07/2012
44.0% "This ping-pong chronology between chapters is annoying when I set the book down mid-chapter and forget which puddle-of-wangst era I'm in."
07/07/2012
62.0% "I'd think by this point the thought of catching an STD from blatantly cheating hubby would have entered Millie's woebegone little mind, with the moment of marital consummation looming ever closer. But since he asked her opinion on beverage ads, I guess her self-esteem is riding pretty high." 2 comments
07/07/2012
74.0% "She'd never been on an aerial device before--never even read Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon.


Ah, if only it had been written by Austen or Bronte, our little heroine would have read it ASAP.

"
03/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 55) (55 new)


Rachel (BAVR) I won't comment on how many of my rage buttons this book would push. Instead, I must comment on the crazy-ass plot to abstain from sex with your own SPOUSE for 8 years. That means the heroine would be 24 by the time her damn husband has sex with her. WTF is this?


Karla Oooh, sounds like it would be a very special episode of Bad Ass Velociraptor Rachel. Wanna Buddy Read it?? :D


message 3: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac Hahaha. And here I was thinking "hey, at least it's not the same damn plot as always." >:)


Karla There's always something to hate in these romances, no matter the plot. :D


Rachel (BAVR) Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Oooh, sounds like it would be a very special episode of Bad Ass Velociraptor Rachel. Wanna Buddy Read it?? :D"

Damn it. You KNOW I can't back down from a challenge. BAVR loves this kind of stuff. :D

Sarah wrote: "Hahaha. And here I was thinking "hey, at least it's not the same damn plot as always." >:)"

I can always find something to bitch about. >:D It's the combination of the hero wangsting after another woman for a full 8 years all while abstaining from making the sexors with his goddamn wife that bugs me.


Karla The navel-gazing spooge will be thick and deep in this one. I think I'll have a pair of these on hand:

[image error]


message 7: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac I can't wait to see your reviews after this one. >:)


message 8: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac I so love your things-are-doing-things shelf. :D


Karla This book had me yearning for Anne Stuart's lameass (yet crazy) last-minute plot shenanigans. Nothing happens. o__O


Rachel (BAVR) Woohoo! You're done AND you survived! *throws confetti*

Now I can write my review! >:D


Karla I'll struggle today with writing mine. I'm really at a loss. Will have to regroup and focus. :D


Rachel (BAVR) Just use lots of gifs. They take up TONS of space.


Karla I'll be doing a recon of tumblr, for sursies. :D


message 14: by Misfit (new)

Misfit Thanks for the gif warning, although it doesn't show on your review in the feeds. Let's see now that I've liked it if the images show up in the feeds of friends (which is what the latest bugaboo is about).


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* OMG..you are a riot! One of the main reasons I dont read many of the "newer" romances. But heck if you do I get the chance to read the funniest review to make my day! 5 stars for Karla's review! :D


Karla Thanks. And I just had to resize the last image because it was too big even though it showed up fine in preview. Arrgh. I wish the auto-resize feature hadn't gone away.


Karla Sandi, I want to read another Sherry Thomas book! Isn't that SICK? :D


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Sandi, I want to read another Sherry Thomas book! Isn't that SICK? :D"

You cant be serious? Oh well..another entertaining review for me :D


Karla We're hoping to have a Sherry Thomas Buddy Reading Square in the fall. The victims have all volunteered. :D


message 20: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Jul 09, 2012 11:36AM) (new) - added it

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "We're hoping to have a Sherry Thomas Buddy Reading Square in the fall. The victims have all volunteered. :D"

I take it...you wont "fan" her LOL!


message 21: by Misfit (new)

Misfit OK, Anna has *liked* the review and that shows up in my feeds with the first GIF only.


Karla I also checked the "contains spoilers" box. Maybe that'll collapse the whole thing. That's how it's showing up in my feed.


message 23: by Misfit (new)

Misfit Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "I also checked the "contains spoilers" box. Maybe that'll collapse the whole thing. That's how it's showing up in my feed."

I love that GIF by the way. It was the very brightly dressed woman spinning like a top at 5AM that was a bit much for my poor eyes. And the bare-assed men.

I wish GR would find some way to fix it. It's unfortunate some folks are getting NSFW stuff in their feeds just because their friends liked something. No one at GR has responded, so I'm guessing they don't care or don't have an answer.


message 24: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB Awesome review! Love the heroine name :)


Karla I could probably have saved myself some time and just had my review be that first GIF. Says about the same thing. :D And I think the naked butts have won this round.

Thanks, Melissa!


Rachel (BAVR) Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "We're hoping to have a Sherry Thomas Buddy Reading Square in the fall. The victims have all volunteered. :D"

"Volunteered" is a complicated word, Karla. I believe that SARAH invited BAVR, and you know I don't have any control over that bitch (BAVR, not Sarah). >:D Still, yeah, I'll be doing an ST Buddy Square in the fall because I'll never learn.

Fabulous review, BTW! You know I agree with everything, but I absolutely LOVE your final formula. It's so true!


Karla I hope you never control that bitch BAVR. She's way too entertaining. :D And thanks for sharing the pain with this one. It hit a new low for me in masochistic masturbatory angst (the characters, not me :P)


message 28: by Mara (new)

Mara This whole review was made of awesome, and those GIFs = WIN!!! The previous book sucked, but I was hoping that was a fluke, since everybody seems to love this author. Reading the next book would probably make me assplode, what with the "heroine" chasing some married douche...


message 29: by Karla (last edited Jul 09, 2012 03:08PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Karla Mara, I'll probably end up reading it despite all better judgment. Sherry Thomas is likely the newest addition to my "shitty authors I can't stop reading" list, alongside Anne Stuart and Johanna Lindsey. :P

ETA: Oh, and LORA LEIGH.


message 30: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac Rachel (BAVR) wrote: "I believe that SARAH invited BAVR, and you know I don't have any control over that bitch (BAVR, not Sarah). >:D "

Bwahahaha. Either way, that made my day. :D


Jennifer This was hilarious, of course, even whilst
skewering ST, who I do actually love... well I love two of her books. Hated the first of this series though, and the series baiting, ugh.

So do snark read her again, but I beg you to leave my beloved His At Night alone. If only for loyalty to my night swimming namesake!


Karla Whoopsie, His At Night was the one I'd picked to read.

Break out your kevlar.

Although there's a chance that I'll like it. I'm keeping hope alive. :P Only I suspect that she sucks ass at endings, which is a huge peeve.


message 33: by Willow (new)

Willow Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Mara, I'll probably end up reading it despite all better judgment. Sherry Thomas is likely the newest addition to my "shitty authors I can't stop reading" list, alongside Anne Stuart and Johanna Li..."

LOLOL So do you have a name for your shitty author shelf?


Karla Yeah, "shitty authors I can't stop reading" Kinda says it all. :D

After the ST buddy read in the fall, I'll be able to make a decision about Ms. Thomas.


message 35: by Willow (last edited Jul 10, 2012 08:05AM) (new)

Willow Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Yeah, "shitty authors I can't stop reading" Kinda says it all. :D

After the ST buddy read in the fall, I'll be able to make a decision about Ms. Thomas."


LOL You pretty much said that didn't you? Duh! *blushes*

Nevermind...I'm going to go hide now.


message 36: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Walton Grant You realize, of course, that you simply haven't read the RIGHT Sherry Thomas book?



I'm a sucker for angst, but think I might share your ahem, distain for this one in the series.

And a heads up: the time-travel jumping she does seems to be her thing - I read Delicious twice before it made sense to me.


message 37: by Karla (last edited Jul 11, 2012 03:46AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Karla I KNEW you were going to say that. :D I'd be curious if this would be too much angst even for you.

As an experiment, I'll read one of her books by skipping chapters so it's in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. Then it might make sense.

She was so diligent about making sure that details pertinent to the secondary characters' personal lives were correct (in THIS era his sister's husband is still alive, and in THIS era she's already married to the Hero of Book 1, and back in THIS era, her husband just died, etc.) that I wanted to scream, "But...but WHO CARES?" I swear those details are just fan service for anyone who read Book 1 that is dying for a glimpse of their peep or misdirected OCD on the author's part.


message 38: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Walton Grant You know I'm going to read it, so I'll let you know what I think of it. I didn't mind the first one, but after having read Beast (ST says the first in the series is an homage to it) it pales in comparison.

swear those details are just fan service for anyone who read Book 1 that is dying for a glimpse of their peep

I think you are absolutely right on this point, and it's what I hate about all the freaking series that are out there. Grrrr....


Karla I haven't read the Ivory book (or any Ivory IIRC). I'll check that one out.


message 40: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Walton Grant I thought it was freaking fantastic - now, whether that helps you decide or not, I'm not sure. LOL.

Let me know what you think.


message 41: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac Tammy wrote: "I thought it was freaking fantastic - now, whether that helps you decide or not, I'm not sure. LOL.

Let me know what you think."


It says you're easier to satisfy in the HR department, therefore you don't spend nearly so much time wanting to throttle the characters & are thus a happier person. :D


Karla Tammy's a very happy HR reader. Me, I'm a bitter old crank. :D


message 43: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac A bitter old crank...with bunnehs. >:)


Karla Cranky bunnehs. :D


message 45: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac Can I live next door to you someday? I promise not to play my music so loud that it disturbs the bunnehs. :P


Karla They'll thump their hind feet to let you know when it's too loud. :D


message 47: by Sarah Mac (new)

Sarah Mac Awesome. My dogs live inside, so they won't have to worry about being chased around the yard. :D


message 48: by Vivi (new)

Vivi this review is so unbelievably accurate.


Rosver You just expressed all I wanted to say.


Mskychick Best. Review. Ever.
Not to mention I totally agree with ever word you said.


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