Almost as if I am of two minds…
Carolyn Jean: Let’s talk about the writing. The writing is technically better than most of what I read today in genres. Especially the descriptions. The imagery is just richer, and the authors are always finding fresh ways of saying things instead of resorting to clichés.
Crazy little CJ: Yeah, and toward the end, you were skipping huge chunks of that description. Admit it, you got bored! I know I did. I wanted more hot action.
Carolyn Jean: But whose fault is that? I think I said in a past post, I can’t help but think that if I’d read it as literature rather than romance, I wouldn’t have skipped description. I expected different things from it.
Crazy little CJ: It’s called the worst of both worlds.
Carolyn Jean: Maybe in how the description slowed things, but not at the level of the plot. This plot was way richer and more panoramic than the genre literature I’m used to, and that was an absolute improvement. I liked that there were more balls spinning, more moving parts in terms of cause and effect and hidden motivations, more complexity, and numerous loose ends tied up.
Crazy little CJ: Tied up implausibly.
Carolyn Jean: Maybe a few minor things were tied up implausibly, but to me, that doesn’t ruin the whole book. It was bigger and more ambitious, and I appreciated that. And the canvas was larger, taking us to numerous shores and making a minor aspect of the 1812 War (divisions in English opinion and their various plans and gambits vis a vis the Americans) a central part of the plot. I learned new things about history here, and I love learning new things in books as long as they’re well woven into the drama, which this stuff was.
Crazy little CJ: I happen to know you interrupted the reading of Caressed by Ice for this, and you were sort of eager to finish so you could get back to sexy Judd.
Carolyn Jean: But does that mean this is a worse book? Actually, I think this is the superior book. But yes, I looked forward to getting back to Caressed. Am I just a product of this generation of romance and subgenres? Just because Frank Sinatra doesn’t rock, does it mean Metallica is the better band?
Crazy Little CJ: Yes, excluding their new album, which sucks. Also, you’re forgetting how Ana brought up 19th century writers like Jane Austen and Emily Bronte. Do you think you would skip giant boring passages of description in Pride and Prejudice? No, because there aren't any.
Carolyn Jean: But she was talking more about heroine Merry’s lack of power and wherewithal, and the hero’s brutishness, and the scenes that headed toward forced seduction.
Crazy Little: Uh! I want to chop that Devon up with my little arms.
Carolyn Jean: I don’t have a specific problem with all that; these sorts of books belong to the world of fantasy and fairytales, not to the world of reality, and I’m a reader who can be fine with certain things in books (ultra-violent vigilante vampires, women shooting guys because they’re jerks, guys brutishly seducing conflicted virgins on pirate ships) that I would abhor in reality. So I enjoyed those scenes to an extent, though the power imbalance got old. I think the bottom line is, even though Merry changed and became braver, it seemed like there was little inward transformation of the relationship.
Crazy Little CJ: Yeah, she got braver, but her bravery would lead to her having to be rescued. It bugged me.
Carolyn Jean: Also, this book was more sophisticated in terms of human psychology and character, especially where the secondary characters are concerned. In fact, the character of Rand Morgan is one of my favorite ever characters I’ve ever encountered, secondary or primary.
Crazy Little: Whatev. He’s named after rum!
Carolyn Jean: How do you know rum isn’t named after him?
Crazy Little CJ: Because I looked it up on Wikipedia, Biyotch. Captain Morgan has been around since 1944.
Carolyn Jean: Is Biyotch even how you spell it?
Crazy Little CJ: Don't put up that photo, you look like a freak.
Carolyn Jean: It's too late to retake. I already sent off the book to Kmont, and you have to put up a photo. I was trying to express conflictedness.
Crazy Little CJ: I need some rum right now.
Carolyn Jean: Don't you dare! I have deadlines. I shouldn't even be blogging. Anyway, there were tons of great moments. I loved the pirate details. All their little rules, and drunken debauchery. And when Devon showed up in his piratey leather vest and coat with no shirt after he took part in whipping that guy for insubordination? And Merry is like, Yum, you are like a badass pirate.
Crazy Little CJ: That was actually me who said that.
Carolyn Jean: Also, being that I came to romance late, I was really enjoying this on a genre history level. This is where books we now love evolved from. Devon is really Judd’s grandfather in many ways. Plus, this is a book a lot of our buddies treasured 20 years ago. I feel like a giant hole in my reading knowledge has been filled in. I am so grateful to have read this book. It will stay with me a long time.
VERDICT: So conflicted.
Other thinking: Ana's now infamous review. MaryKate's meditations on old school. Kmont begins to mercilessly make fun of book here. (anybody else?)
Read about tour here.