Short, simple, predictable, cheesy—what you would expect from a romance about a romance writer written by a romance writer in 1990. Which I had to remind myself of every time I wanted to scowl at the prose and cheesy/poor word choices. The story reads like it’s full of holes, as in most of events are skipped over and it’s difficult to keep track of time because everything is on fast-forward. Expetably, also features a slightly idiotic and largely annoying heroine. She gets worse and worse towards the end of the book, and her arguments and ‘you must tell me all I want to know because I’m entitled to it’ and ‘I’m going to be stupid and unreasonable and nag over and over, but I will also call it ‘reasonable conversation’ and you must pay attention to me’ attitudes literally made my teeth hurt. Not a fan of the ‘alpha male who all strive to please’ character presentation either. Mleh on all accounts at best.
I kept going back and forth between wanting to give this book 3 stars and thinking that there are enough things I like about it for 4. I don’t like time travel stories. I just don’t. Not that I wouldn’t want to try it myself, I just don’t like reading about it. There were also too many details in this I’m still not sure how I feel about. The treatment of time travel and things they can and can’t change felt…strange. Balancing somewhere on the border of ‘wrong’ and ‘maybe okay?’. The discussion of children, when they considered a lot of points but not the ‘maybe not while we are on business in the 16th century?’ idea. Too many characters left in the air. The representation of history and language use (I’m glad none of them are languages I work with, so I remain blissfully ignorant of any mistakes that there might be). On one hand, I know that I would like this book even less if it had more drama/action/dangers, but on the other, this one is just too slow and repetitive. They keep repeating the same dance over in over, meeting new characters, repeating same questions and steps, without any real progression… the first book was slow too, but the (modern) Oxford part was the one I enjoyed the most out of the two books combined. I hated the parts that involved monarchs. They were disgusting. These were the times where I contemplated skipping forward and thought I’d have to give this book 3 stars. Other than that, even though this book is long and slow, and irritated me on more than one occasion, there’s still something about it that kept me firmly in it’s world and didn’t even really let me skip through the least favourite part. And that is why I put 4 stars after all. There is still something I really like about this world and the feeling, the taste, of this series. (Though I’ll have to wrestle with a lot of apprehension before I’ll be ready to pick up the 3rd book and finish it.)
At first I thought this book was remarkably similar to the first one (the auction, similar type of a heroine), but then, of course, the focus of this book turned out to be on an entirely different subject and of a very different direction. Incidentally, since I know very little about the cultures touched in this book, I was able to enjoy it as a fantasy without wondering if the historical/cultural details seemed believable enough.
P.S. Typos…I see you. I can’t unsee you. There is a place in this book where a typo level practically reaches a ‘fatal’ mark (wrong character’s name is used in a scene)…
Usually I’m a believer that as long as a book is not malicious, there is a time and place for it. Apparently, the place for this book is when you wake up before 2am and can’t go back to sleep feeling like shit so you read something silly and fluffy and that doesn’t make you think much.
Unfortunately, you need to be really wobbly in the head and sleep deprived to continue reading through things like an adult woman who had given birth crying because she thinks the man’s dong won’t fit (let me also mention that the whole episode wasn’t even followed through), adult men behaving like 12yo girls, romanticising of night clubs, gangs and russian mafia, infantile language, a neighbour who discovered a murdered pet not calling it in (no police, no filing charges, no filing for a restraining order, even though everyone knows who did it), and the main character who acts, talks, and cries stupid.
I kept trying to figure out the mental age of this book over and over again, and couldn’t, because it feel’s like even kinds might have a bit more sense these days. That said, it’s not like I completely don’t understand where the author was coming from. At times, it might have even looked like something I could have written when I was 11-13, and only because I’m on the spectrum and liked to make up stories with characters who hardly ever resemble realistic humans in any way (and then would’ve had a panic attack from embarrassment and mortification a few years later).
‘Do you want to be an adult or a child? Children require comfort even in a crisis, because they can’t understand how urgent things are. In a child’s world, it’s all about them: how this affects me, how this makes me feel, why is life so unfair? An adult sees a problem and tries to fix it. They think of other people and they plan their actions aware of the consequences. …’
Normally, a setting like the one of this book would be definitely not my cup of soup. It is essentially a battle royale-like, with factions, and featuring murderers, rapists, and torturers. A lot of senseless gore and violence. But for some reason I didn’t feel as turned off by all the gore as I would usually be. It was unexpectedly easy to read. It is possible that this book lacked some level of realism that would make all the unpleasant stand out more, but personally I find the balance it strikes helpful.
I also didn’t really expect this to be Jael spin-off, since I didn’t finish the Sirantha Jax series…
A perfectly okay light-boned-and-fun contemporary romance. This book is 70% food porn, 10% regular (in fun words) porn, 5% mother induced hangups and behavioural issues, 5% small town love, 5% drama, and 5% (thank god that only that) girlfriend annoyingness. Also featuring a must-have gay couple, beards and flannel shirts, U2, and vegetable-related sex jokes.
DNF. Long story short, this book is vile. And not as in that is my opinion because I didn’t like, but as in it is written to be so. From the very first chapter we are met with rape, violence, blood, vomit, and vile swearing, and everything about sex made horrid… It’s overboard. I just DNFed another book before this one where nasty and disturbing was written in for the coolness factor, and this book make that one seem almost chaste in comparison.
One could have thought that unpleasant details were there to keep true to the medieval setting, but then the writing/language of this clearly sometimes forgot where we were supposed to be. We are in the dark ages, but dialogue may go like this: ‘Awkward.’ ‘Whatever.’ or ‘Like hell.’ (said in a temple, none the less) Not to mention excessive use of swears words, including cnt, fgt, and other c**suckers, in entirely too modern manner, inmh. I’m not saying use Old English, but I do think some phrases and manners of speech are very modern inventions, and should be avoided in a historical world settings.
At first look, this book appeared like something I could love. Dark ages, werewolves, magic, and romance really sounded like a combination right up my alley. Unfortunately, I was completely turned off by the writing, and the excess of gore, and sexual violence. I didn’t even make it past the first part. At first I thought once the MC would get out of her nasty situation in the beginning at the book, it would all pick up. Especially since the short glimpse at Maeniel seemed promising. But then Lucilla made appearance (and started groping the main character) and I gave up. Excessively long and tedious beginning filled with senseless violence, rape, and swearing, and other disgusting details, for the sake of being disturbing, on a loop told me it was not worth wasting my time trying to get through it. Utterly tasteless.
(For future, when a book has multiple mentions of the fact that the author is related to another famous writer on it, and the picture in the back is not a portrait, as it usually is, but a picture of them together, it should probably be a warning enough that they are not trying to sell the book with its content…)