Friday, October 24, 2008

Conflicted on Windflower

Okay, my thinking has been so mixed on this book! I have been really busy to post, but also just so conflicted, I wasn’t sure what to say.
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.


Ana said...


Very interesting way of writing your conflicted opinion about the book CJ. Little CJ is my buddy! I wil help chopping up Devon LOL.

It seems you found that there is a balance between the negatives and the positives? and you stand somewhere in between? Whereas with me, the balance tipped heavily towards the negative....

By the way, loved the photo!

little alys said...

*tears welling in eyes due to instense laughter*
Can't type. Laughing too hard. *thumbs up on review*

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

LMAO!! Bravo!

Carolyn Jean said...

Ana: I think I experienced a balance, yeah. And weren't you glad to get this taste of old school?

LA & KB: Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

OMG! *still laughing*

What a great review! And what a fun way to show your "duality" about the book. Crazy little CJ has her uses. I like her. Really, I do. Although I don't understand what she means about the photo. I liked it.

Brie said...

As always, CJ, your review is the bomb. The pic is great in its conflicted-ness!

Sayuri said...


I can't wait to get my hands on this!

Ciara said...

Nice. I can't wait to read the book now! Great review and great pic!

Kati said...

CJ- I actually really appreciate this, and not just because it made me laugh, alot! I'm glad you found some redeeming stuff in the book. And I also totally get the issues that Lil' CJ and Ana (and I suspect kmont) will have/had with the book.

I think this book is going to end up epitomizing the expression, "Your Mileage May Vary."

But oh well, my love is true. :smile:

Liza said...

I think that is the funniest review I've ever read! Really had people looking at me funny for LOL at work.

raych said...

*laughs ass off, retrieves ass for greater ease in sitting and also, better profile in jeans, sheds single tear of glee*

Katie Reus said...

I've never read it and I'll be honest, I probably never will (though your review was VERY entertaining) :) Something about the "heroes" in the 'old school books' make me want to rip off my own arm.

Bridget Locke said...

And I get to see what CJ looks like! Yay! :)

I'm still not sure how I'm going to feel when it gets to be my turn. Eep! I'm not a fan of the epic hysterical romance. I used to be...many many moons ago. *sigh*

Ana said...

And weren't you glad to get this taste of old school?

I guess intelectually, I should be, but this is not the first one I read and it is not the first one to leave in me in such a state.

naida said...

I came over to wish you a happy weekend and I see that you and Little CJ are talking to each other now....hmmmm...that's quite!
great review!

Nicola O. said...

Heeee. don't know about the book (yet) but that was an AWESOME review.

*pats empty chair next to me*

Little Ceej, come sit by me. Let's dish.

M. said...

great review. photo dead-on accurate, in thumbs and face, of review.

this book will land here at some point in its world tour and i am morbidly fascinated to see what i will think.

i wonder if there is some sort of correlation between how people think of this and how they think of 'whitney my love?' for the record: i read it through in a fever to know what happened next, but refused to ever read another mcnaught again because of how infuriated i was at the hero, the heroine, and the author.

Ana said...

M, if you hated Whitney, My Love (like I did) you will probably hate Windflower too.

Carolyn Jean said...

Taja: Thanks!

Brie: I'm glad the conflictedness showed.

Ciara: Are you last? I should check.

Sayuri: I just figured out where your avatar is from.

Kati: Your mileage may vary. LOL. I love when opinions are divided on books like this

Liza & raych: THanks! *blushes*

KR: Rip off your own arm! LOL. Or maybe Devon's.

Bridget: I'll be interested what you think.

Ana: It's the first I read. I don't know if I'll read another. Esp not Whitney My Love.

Naida: Happy Sunday.

Nicola: Ceej is all about it.

M: Ooo! Sounds like Whitney My Love will go in my NTBR pile.

Tumperkin said...

I want more reviews from Leetle Ceejay.

Kid tells it like it is.

Tracy said...

OMG you are so clever! I love crazy little Cj - she's my pal.

I really can hardly wait to read this book and see what all the talk is about. I think I'll be reading it in 2010! lol