Friday, January 7, 2011

Second book finished in 2011 - Night Play

Judging from the state of the book, I probably got this at a secondhand store or a library discards sale.  I didn't get it for free.

Night Play confused me for about the first 80% of it, but most particularly the first chapter.  I'd read the first chapter before, and it was in the middle of a book, not the beginning.  I kept reading, knowing that it was a different book, and hoping to get unconfused.  Eventually, like in the last couple of chapters, I did finally figure it out. 

Eureka!  I was reading the series of events from the other brother's point of view.  Boy, did I feel dumb when I realized why I was confused. 

This book had its fair share of romance and action, but it just wasn't as compelling as I usually find Sherrilyn Kenyon's books to be.  The sex was OK, but not the wet-your-seat good I've come to expect from Ms. Kenyon (In one book, the two main characters don't even have sex until near the end of the book, but the interactions they do have are damn fine examples of wet-your-seat writing.).  The characters were mere shadows of themselves, even the ones I already know from reading other books in the Dark-Hunter universe.

The heroine, Bride, was a solid size 18, with self-esteem issues galore, just as many of us with size dramas are.  Vane, the brother in question, was naturally a magnetic, powerful, sexy, hot, etc. magical wolfman, with a tight ass and washboard abs and cruise ships full of money.  Bride's self-esteem issues were magically borne away on the wind when she realized that Vane wanted her, all of her, as she was, and not some skinny chick who was "more sexy."  I know that in the first glows of newfound love, self-esteem issues sometimes seem to disappear, but really, they don't.  They just take a back seat.  Knowing that your man finds you sexy doesn't mean that you still don't wonder what other people think of you.  In Bride's case, she found out exactly what her sister thought of her, for instance.   

To be honest, though, I think the book could have been better if size was not an issue in the first place.  I know that I despair of ever reading good books written with heroines who are more than a size 14.  There are some out there, but they are few and far between.  The best ones are written by women who have actually been there and come back from the trip.  Queen Latifah, who is a very sexy large woman, probably hasn't always been as comfortable in her skin as she is now, and I bet it wasn't easy to find her true self among the garbage.  But I digress.  In this case, such an issue was made of Bride's size and her emotional baggage that the easy fix was a letdown and took me out of the story. 

Vane is just too perfect for words, perhaps more so than other heroes in Ms. Kenyon's book, and maybe because his perfection was described at so much length by Bride herself, in her thoughts and conversations, as comparisons to her own "shortcomings."  As the hero of the book, Vane should have been easier to peg, but his characterization is pretty shallow in this book.  I actually prefer the Vane I got to know in the book where his brother, Fang, finds his own mate.  In this one, so much of his time is spent agonizing over whether or not Bride can understand his world or not, hiding his magic from her, calling in favors to protect her when she doesn't even know she needs protecting, pretending to be someone else (his wolf persona) so that he can be close to her without scaring her, etc., that I never really got to know HIM at all, just what he can do.  He's too perfect for words (ok, weak and unintended pun), and as such, not really appealing to me.

So, though I did enjoy reading how Vane and Bride met, I didn't enjoy it as much as I "should" have enjoyed it, considering Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote it and considering that she's one of my favorite paranormal authors.  This could easily have been written into the other book, as an alternating viewpoint kind of thing, though the characterization flaws would have stuck out like a pimple on your nose.

If, despite my review, or maybe because of it, you'd like to read it, let me know.  I can ship it - $2 for postage, including delivery confirmation.  First come, first served, though in Ms. Kenyon's books, it's usually the other way around.  Pun intended.

Night Play (Dark-Hunter, Book 6)

The next to be finished is looking like Songmaster by Orson Scott Card, so look for that review sometime in the next week.