Posted in: willaful, willaful reviews
Tags:erotic romance, Lora Leigh, paranormal romance, TBR Challenge
Sensuality Rating: Blistering, i.e. the one time I tried to read a Lora Leigh book in public, I almost had a stroke.
This was my choice for SuperWendy’s “TBR Challenge,” steamy reads category. I’m kind of over the Breeds series, but I got this one because I was curious about the beginning of the saga. I should have known better: in Leigh’s most Diana Palmerish fashion (and sometimes I could swear they’re the same writer on different drugs) even the book that starts the series begins after the story has already started. We don’t get to experience any surprise or mystery in the discovery of the existence of the genetically engineered human/animal breeds, or even to see our hero and heroine meet for the first time. At the end of chapter one, an obsessed Merinus Tyler has set out to track down lion breed Callan Lyons to get his story (and perhaps a little somethin’ somethin’…), and at the beginning of chapter two, they have “been playing an amusing little game for over a week, now. She pretended not to know him, who he was, where he could be found, and he pretended she wasn’t snooping around town asking questions about him and his deceased mother and where he lived.”
There isn’t much plot: Merinus’s family has found out about the Breeds, and Merinus hopes to convince Callan to go public and testify against the scientists and government officials who engineered them to be killing machines. The two meet and are instantly overwhelmingly hot for one another, which turns out to be a hormonally induced “mating heat” that will only subside with pregnancy. They fight it for awhile because… well, I was going to say, because that’s what Leigh characters do, but it actually does make sense considering the tenuousness of the situation. And there’s some betrayal, and an unexpected bit of history between Merinus’s brother and another Breed, and a whole lot of sexxing.
Leaving aside my criticisms — which are legion — I actually did enjoy this. It is pretty much one sex scene after another, but though later books in the series seemed repetitive, this one felt fresh. The sex scenes are powerful, and an outlet for the characters’ strong emotions. There isn’t really any particular reason for them to fall in love with each other, but somehow Leigh made me almost not notice. And I did pick up some background on the series, though I suspect I’ll never fully understand what’s going on.
On to complaints. The writing could definitely use more editing; it’s not tear-my-hair-out bad, but the grammar needs work. I was taken out of the story a few times by some baffling phrases that made it clear that the writer was on autopilot and not thinking about what she was saying. And then there’s the oddly prissy attitude for an erotic romance: Callan refers to Merinus’s “unladylike” behavior several times, and another breed tells her, “Watch your mouth. Even Sherra and Dawn do not handle such language.” I would have thought that the female breeds Sherra and Dawn would have been too busy recovering from years of torture and rape to spend much time on pouring tea and lacing doilies.
And then there’s the big one. Merinus. Oh, Merinus. If a stupider romance heroine exists, I don’t want to know about her. She’s the kind of character who makes you yell, “Don’t go into the basement!” at the movies. Surprisingly, she smartens up about halfway through the book and I ended up half respecting her for the insights she has into Callan’s tormented psyche.
Published by Ellora’s Cave in 2008. Review copy obtained from paperbackswap.com.