Wow, I love the cover on this one. It just looks so epic and bad-ass. Like, "WE JUST BURNED DOWN A HOUSE AND NOW WE ARE GOING TO KISS WHILE THE HOUSEWow, I love the cover on this one. It just looks so epic and bad-ass. Like, "WE JUST BURNED DOWN A HOUSE AND NOW WE ARE GOING TO KISS WHILE THE HOUSE BURNS DOWN BECAUSE WE ARE GODS."
It's probably not about two gods of fire getting it on in a burning house but I'm still game. *_*...more
After reading Maire Claremont's THE DARK LADY, I needed a palate cleanser to wash down the angst. I looked at my virtual to-read pile and selected THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD by Meredith Duran because the title promised sexy times and the cheeky lady on the cover promised saucy adventures. Well, I was right about the sexy times, but wrong about the saucy adventures - this book turned out to be just as dark and angsty as THE DARK LADY, if not more so. I was tricked, gosh darn it! Tricked!
Dastardly tricks aside, however, I really enjoyed reading THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD, in no small part because it revolves around a dark revenge plot that appears inspired by THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Liam and Anna were engaged to be married. On paper, it was a union of convenience - he is an impoverished earl, and she is a rich countess heiress who wants to keep her freedom and her properties. However, they had an understanding and affection for one another that transcended what they were bringing to the table. Or at least, that's what Anna thought...until he ditches her on their honeymoon.
As it turns out, Liam was held captive and tortured in unspeakably cruel ways for reasons that become clear as the plot unravels. Scarred and stricken with PTSD, he is no longer the naive and untouched rake his wife fell in love with, and he's rather cruel to her in his efforts to push her aside and keep from opening up to her in his feverish attempts to destroy the person who would have destroyed him, if he hadn't been able to fight his way out of hell and return back to England.
Once I realized what kind of story I was reading (note: not a light-hearted frothy wallpaper historical), I quickly got on board. I love me a good tortured hero, and Liam was exceptionally well done. Sometimes I roll my eyes at "tortured heroes" in romance novels, because their misery is entirely manufactured and completely idiotic, i.e. "I'm just too manly to have feelings, dammit! How do I tell her that she's not like other women?" This was not like that at all, and while Big Misunderstandings often have me wanting to jump ship, it actually worked here because Liam was suffering and slow to trust and Anna was stubborn and prideful.
If you're a romance reader, you're probably nodding along impatiently and thinking to yourself, "Yes, that's all well and good, but what about the chemistry? What about the sexy times?" As a romance reader myself, I salute you. Also, you won't be disappointed. The sexy times aren't only steamy, they're a little kinky, as well (and the heroine's WTF IS GOING ON reaction was priceless).
A lot of historical romances coming out these days feel interchangeable but Meredith Duran has a signature style that I really enjoy and is quickly becoming a fast favorite with me. The stories I've read from her pack an emotional wallop and she's not afraid to take the narrative down a few dark alleys to keep things interesting.
Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!
Wow, I really wasn't a fan of this one at all and that bums me out, because I was fully expecting to love TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE. Since my feelings about this are so complicated and the subject matter is so delicate, I'm going to list out my thoughts in bullet points. (Bullet points are so much easier!)
1. I loved what this book was trying to do, and even if it didn't quite succeed, the publication of books like THE HATE U GIVE and TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE not only gives the Black Lives Matter movement more exposure, it puts books featuring kids of color into the hands of actual kids of color with stories that they can relate to (whether in a good or bad way). That's nothing to sneeze at, and I can appreciate the value of books like TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE even if I don't enjoy them.
2. Comparisons to THE HATE U GIVE are going to be inevitable. They are very similar stories: two high school kids of color who feel a lot of pressure to "act white" in order to be successful, who live in a low-income/racially diverse area with lots of criminal/gang activity, whose lives are torn apart by police brutality spurred on by racial discrimination that ends up starting a local movement. I don't think the similarity is a bad thing, because like I said before, Black Lives Matter is a movement representing real victims of police brutality, and those narratives are important. But it's my opinion that THE HATE U GIVE is a much better book, and handles the subject matter better.
3. The characters in here feel very undeveloped. I didn't get much of a sense of who Tyler was, whereas the main character in THUG all but leaped from the pages. I would have liked to have gotten a better sense of his character, because that might have made me like him more. He just felt very bland and passive to me, and I couldn't figure out if that was meant to be intentional or not. His choices, particularly the one at the end involving his future, didn't make sense and seemed to be fueled for the sake of keeping the story moving. All of his friends are very one-note, and his sort-of love interest, when she appears, kind of just feels like the generic manic pixie dreamgirl type.
4. All the white people in this book are assholes. This kind of ties into the third bullet point - all the bad people in this book, like the cops and the mean principal and the well-meaning, but white guilt apologist "I-have-a-diversity-checklist-in-my-back-pocket-and-that-checklist-says-I-must-be-nice-to-you-for-diversity-related-reasons" MIT representative are just hilarious stereotypes of white people being shitty in various shitty ways. That cop, man. What the actual fresh hell was he doing. What a psychopath. I couldn't help but compare the cop scenes in here with the cop scene in THUG, where the cop did what he did because his racism surfaced during a snap decision he made because he was afraid. Here, it was just like the cop decided he was going to be all, "Yaaaaay! Power abuse is fun!" Ditto the principal, with his constant attempts to sabotage poor Tyler. I was just waiting for that dude to start twirling his mustache and tying people to train tracks. Subtle this was not.
I'm glad I was approved for an advance reader copy of this book and I'm sorry I didn't like this more. I see that at least some of my friends on Goodreads really enjoyed this book, so maybe you will, too.
Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!