Julianna's Reviews > Prince of Dreams

Prince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas
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's review
Feb 16, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: read-2007, historical-romance
Recommended for: Lisa Kleypas Fans

Prince of Dreams started off with an excellent, engaging story that was hard to put down, but like it's predecessor in the Stokehurst series, Midnight Angel, it tends to loose steam during the second half. The book is arranged in four sections, and the first two sections are full of the deep, dark emotions that have become a Lisa Kleypas trademark. Prince Nikolas is quite possibly the darkest hero that Ms. Kleypas has written and that I have read, yet I found him to be thoroughly fascinating. He was not unlike Emma's wounded animals in his unpredictability, one moment being manipulative and cruel, the next tender and gentle. The reason I was able to like Nikki in spite of his dark nature is that I felt the author gives the reader sufficient insight into his psyche to understand what truly makes him tick, and he certainly had good reasons for behaving the way that he did. I was also able to give him some measure of respect, because unlike dark heroes in some other books, he never tried to force himself on Emma sexually nor did he ever physically abuse her in any way. Unlike some readers, I wasn't overly disturbed by Nikki's interest in Emma from the time she was only 13. If taken in historical context, one has to realize that girls were sometimes betrothed and/or married at a young age. Also, Nikki had minimal contact with Emma over her teen years, never outside the supervision of her parents, and he never acted on his interest until Emma was a grown woman old enough to make her own decisions.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Emma during the first half of the book, as she was still every bit the free-spirited young girl that we had met in Midnight Angel, only grown up now with a few new eccentricities that made her all the more delightful. She still harbors the same insecurities about her height and appearance which I found very relatable in the previous book. As an animal lover, I really enjoyed her menagerie and her involvement with stopping animal cruelty. I really enjoyed watching Nikolas and Emma find solace in their shared friendship and then trying to relate to each other in the context of marriage, when Nikki was so resistant to accepting or giving love. It was also nice to watch Emma mature and realize the meaning of true love.

I felt the problem with the story came about with the time travel aspect in section three, and then when Nikki returned to his own time in section four, the whole dynamic of the story changed. The time travel section was a nice little love story on it's own, but I never felt like Ms. Kleypas gave the reader any reason for Nikolas allowing himself to fall in love with the past Emma other than the legend fulfilling itself or perhaps him being alone in a different time and place with no familiar faces other than hers for comfort. It seemed like this whole section was simply a plot device for returning Nikolas to Russia, since he was in permanent exile and unable visit his home country any other way. Once Nikki returned to his own time, I felt the story fell rather flat. He was no longer the fascinating, complex character he had been during the first half, having been magically transformed into a “prince of dreams”, doting on Emma and openly declaring his love. There was also a complete role reversal as Emma became the cynical, jaded and distrusting one. Though understandable considering Nikki's past behavior, this side of her faded rather quickly, again with little explanation. The ending had a few interesting developments and some mild excitement, but it wasn't really enough to make up for the previous weaknesses I've mentioned. I simply have a preference for watching characters work through their dark pasts or any other difficulties they might face without the use of “magic” plot devices.

While Prince of Dreams was an improvement over its prequel, Midnight Angel, as with that book I still would not recommend it to first-time Lisa Kleypas readers. Try one of Ms. Kleypas's other books first and save this one until you've become a fan like me. It is also much better when the prequel is read first, since Nikolas and Emma played pivotal roles in that story, and while Luke and Tasia from Midnight Angel did not play a huge part in Prince of Dreams, they were still seen several times. For a book with a similar storyline including a dark, brooding hero who suffered childhood abuse, try Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. The two books reminded me a great deal of each other, but Lord of Scoundrels was done much better in my opinion.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 16, 2008 – Shelved
February 16, 2008 – Shelved as: read-2007
March 29, 2008 – Shelved as: historical-romance

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Kathrynn (new)

Kathrynn Wow, there is a discussion with this book and I was surprised that it leads people right to the historical group, under Lisa Kleypas topic.


Julianna That's cool. I have been following that topic and have commented on this and other LK books there.

Tori This so closely mirrored my thoughts on this book that I could have written it myself. Great review!

Julianna Thanks, Tori. One of the reasons I enjoy writing reviews so much is being able to connect with other readers.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Very well done review, Julie. I think this book was a big risk for Kleypas. Nikolas is not a sympathetic hero at all. All in all, I enjoyed it, although I'm not a big fan of the time travel device.

Julianna Thanks, Danielle. Nikolas was a pretty messed up guy, but LK somehow managed to make me understand him even though he did some bad things. It's rare for me to actually like such an unlovable character, but IMHO that's a testament to LK's writing talent. She's very good at exploring the human psyche, which is what usually makes me like a story the most. I'm normally a big fan of time travel stories, but that part of this book just didn't work well for me.

Lisa Kay Great review, Julie. Very insightful and you gave great advice on reading LK.

Julianna Thanks, Lisa Kay. I'm so glad when my reviews are helpful.:-)

Erika Very helpful, indeed :)
I'm gonna give it a try.

Julianna I'm glad I could give you some insights, Erika. I hope you like it.

message 11: by Maritza (new) - added it

Maritza great review, I agree that the book was great until it got to the time travel. I saw no need for it, it made me do the one thing I forbid my self to do which Is to skim ahead of the book to see when the time travel would end. to my disappointment it was alot.....

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