Kogiopsis's Reviews > Cordina's Crown Jewel

Cordina's Crown Jewel by Nora Roberts
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's review
Feb 10, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, not-for-the-sensitive, save-me-from-the-tropes
Read in February, 2011

Forgive me, literature, for I have slummed.

...but I guess I understand now.
I'm sitting here with a pile of books to my left taller than my laptop; on my right is a book I've been meaning to review and haven't made much progress. In that towering pile, though, I have Robin McKinley and Tom Clancy and Brandon Sanderson and Diana Wynne Jones; I have 'I Am Number Four' and 'Anna And The French Kiss' and yet, last night when I wanted something to read, I didn't reach for any of those... I went over to the auxilliary bookshelf, reached into the second row, and pulled out the third straight-up romance novel I've ever read.
And dammit, I liked it.
It's a little scary.
I still refuse to pay full-price for one of these, or even fifty cents at a book sale, but I'll sweep one up on $5-a-bag day, and I might even grab two or three. Why? Because this story had interesting characters, smart ones, and I enjoyed their connection rather more than I care to admit- except whoops, just did- and their inevitable conflict was strangely satisfying in and of itself.
Given my mood, this could have been a four-star read, but there is still one thing I want to rant about...

I'll call it 'Topper Man Syndrome' and no, it has nothing to do with the sexy tiemz.
Here is how it works: Your heroine has a certain characteristic. Sunny, from 'Times Change', was pretty damn good at Karate. Camilla, from this one, speaks French. This is something that shows intellect and/or determination and/or is just an interesting aspect to her character.
The hero also has this characteristic. What's-his-face out of Times Change had a higher degree black belt than Sunny; here, Del also speaks French. (Which turned out rather neatly as a Chekov's Gun, but it was kind of obvious.)
Why can't the heroine have something like that entirely to herself? Isn't there something sexy, for instance, about the idea of a woman who knows more martial arts than her lover? Or about the idea that she might use terms of endearment that he wouldn't understand and would have to ask her to translate? Or even, if I may get a little more risque, something like this?
The real thing that bothered me in this book was that Del turned out to be nobility. I almost threw the book against the wall. I did set it aside and treat my complacent cat (and eternal reading companion) to a hearty round of swearing and shouting. And yes, I understand that it had a plot purpose. BUT COME ON. It's so much better without that.

...it remains to be seen if this continues throughout other Roberts books. I will keep reading them to find out, though, albeit at a slow pace.
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