Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

How is this a good book??? Already by page 35 I was asking myself,’Is anything going to happen?’ On page 91 again I said, ’Not much talk, not much happening.’ By page 91 in All Through The Night….By page 91 in Enchanted…... There is just no comparison between those two stunning historical novels and this effort.

Let’s get this straight. Lucy, like so many romance heroines, sets her sights (sorry, ‘falls in love with’) on marrying a hero With Money And A Higher Social Status. In the blink of an eye, her tame almost-fiance is no longer good enough for her. Even though the hero comes across as a lightweight, dissolute, man-ho. And has Simon, the hero, actually done anything with his life, other than be born into money? Involved in the arts? Good works? Building power and influence for the good of his nation? Not likely.

However. Once Lucy and Simon actually get married the plot gathers pace and intensity. Although I didn’t really buy Simon’s transformation into a horticultural expert. There’s still lots to be dissatisfied with though. Lucy turning into a sanctimonious prig for one. Leaving Simon when he's so obviously having a massive emotional wobble. Poor greenhouse...only a Lucretia Borgia type drives her husband to commit acts of destruction against beautiful artifacts. If Barbara can stick with Conrad through all the trials and appeals, then Lucy should also stand with her man and not run home to Daddy when her husband chooses to defend his family’s honor. Actually. I had trouble reading the final chapters. I couldn't believe my eyes when it turned out that Lucy was not part of the final duel scene. She remained in the mansion, wringing her hands, totally out of tune with the sentiments of the action.

What is it about romances and wannabees? Like. There has to be one in every novel. This one is called Christian Fletcher and I just know the readers are supposed to love him. As always. I thought he was yet another pain in the butt. I kept expecting him to be a spy for his father and when he turned into something else (the sacrificial lamb) I felt mightily disappointed. btw ‘needing money’ is not a valid reason to break the law by committing insurance fraud. No court of law would accept it as such. Particularly when it involves the murder of an innocent man. Rupert Fletcher should have been banged up in Newgate for a long time…without his family. There was no justice for the women Rosalind and Pocket.

But what really surprised me is that I read Pye and de Raab as being the novel’s comic relief. Definitely not as the heroes of the previous books by the same author.

What makes this novel readable is the hotness. Although I didn’t care for all the ‘sorrys’ Simon says on his wedding night. Nor for the fact that whenever Simon kills someone in a duel he turns into a rough uncontrollable sex-fiend and immediately jumps on his wife. The scenes where Lucy pukes were also quite entertaining.

Simon is just the wrong side of strange for me. He has aristocratic notions of honor but marries a woman with a very provincial moral code. Lucy would have made an entirely suitable bride for Eustace Penweeble, the vicar of Maiden Hill. I didn’t really get any sense of the emotion of Simon falling in love. Not like with Peter Madsen or Superman Hawkins. I can’t remember the last time I read an historical where men duel with swords that was not set in medieval times.

This novel is not going anywhere near my recommended list. There’s just too much miserable cynicism in it. As illustrated by not only Simon’s version of the Serpent Prince fairytale but also by the snake and toad story.

Also. Why does the paperback cost about $2 more than say, Janzen’s or Adrian’s far superior oeuvres? This is the first book I've read that is plastered all over with glowing reviews for a completely different novel by the same author. How weird is that? Another book with a nice cover that flatters to deceive. Because. Actually. Despite the hotness. It's hardly even approaches being a good involving story. Too many missteps in plotting and characterisation. File in the same box as Alexandra Ivy, Jacqueline Frank et al. Pooh!


liriolunar23 said...

Hey I have a terrible cold and am feeling like crap but not even that could stop me from laughing with your review, you make several points, I agree with a lot of them but for me, Simon isn't on the bad side of wierd, like when he made those oh so outrageous comments about brothels at dinner, he won my affection and by the time he started saying "sorry, sorry"in bed I was LMAO it was sweet and funny as hell. Well I actually enjoyed the book, the whole damned series for that matter and I think Simon's weirdness is part of his charm. And I have to concur most of the appeal of the story is the passionate scenes.

Hope you keep writting and reading and viceversa.

bookbot99 said...

Nice to meet you. You're in the majority. But I don't understand Elizabeth's popularity. Probably some time in the future I will.

Do take the time to read Amanda Quick's Dangerous. I loved that so much.

Get well soon.