Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lord of Desire, by Paula Quinn [1]


Much to my chagrin, I finished this novel but it was a very painful reading experience. I don't think I could read another Paula Quinn novel, her writing needs to mature quite a bit before I can stomach one of her books again. Maybe I judge too harshly having just read a far superior RULES OF SEDUCTION by Madeline Hunter but wow, the precipitous drop in writing quality was jarring.

I'd characterize LORD OF DESIRE by adolescent and inconsistent characterizations, desultory plotting, and a quagmire of juvenile feelings, emotions and introspection. I'm not sure I knew where the novel wanted to go other than the predictable heroine brings out the sensitive side of our rough hero, finally having him love her at the end. I don't necessarily mind trite plots, but the journey to achieve this end goal was so mired, so fragmented, so jarring, I had trouble stomaching this novel as anything other than a girl's pining over a muscled guy and getting him to say the words, "I love you."

As far as bratty and annoying heroines go, Lady Brynna Dumont ranks up there among the worst of them. She's constantly calling men cads while her adolescent displays of pouting and stomping are admired by the the men she's swearing off. The book desperately tries to make her out to be a predictably fiesty, headstrong heroine. I'm not so sure, I've read other fiesty, headstrong heroines that aren't as imbecilic in their thoughts and actions as Bryanna. She rails against men, she rails against those she perceives as brutes and barbarians with impunity, and she's insufferably hypocritical.

The pinnacle of her hypocrisy: she admires and pines over Lord Brand's raw masculine and chiseled features yet she berates him for his strong actions when he kills the man who attempts to rape her, crying out that he's possessed by demons. I have zero tolerance for a character that behaves childish beyond belief, and Brynna is such a character. Is she so ignorant what warriors do? What her own famed and undefeated lord father does?!? There's demons haunting and preying on every warrior, there has to be for what the do and see out on the battlefield.

LORD OF DESIRE constantly has Brynna brooding over wanting a more sensitive, more feminine Brand (obviously she will), her merman, yet she mercilessly pines over the raw masculine physicality of Brand. If sensitivity is her goal, why not love a short troubadour, I'm sure they're sensitive enough for her needs. They'll ask her for her wishes and needs and desires and humble themselves before her and everyone else. In effect, a girly man.

The book makes every effort to pass her off as the unconventional, headstrong and fiesty heroine, but all I saw was a pouting, stomping and juvenile adolescent. Her incessant whining and brooding over never being loved by Brand or never seeing a more sensitive Brand really got insufferably repetitious.

The plot was the weakest I've seen yet from a romance novel, if you can even call it a plot. By the end, we even have a mistress-from-the-past abducts heroine only to be rescued by hero storyline. True to convention, one of the mistress' lackeys prolongs the ending by hiding and sneaking up on Brynna, putting a knife to her throat and challenging our hero.

As far as romance novels go, this is the worst I've read now. And I've read a few bad ones.

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