Wednesday, August 27, 2014

★★★1/2 Beloved Enemy by Amanda York

Lanna Malford was languishing in her Princess Tower far too long before her family friends decide to give her a much needed season in London. Damon St.Clair, with an axe to grind, accompanies a Prince in Waiting, Rafe Danvers, to London where he uses him for a heroic figure to woo Lanna into pacification whilst he pulls devious antics such as staging a highway robber rescue missions to further lull Lanna into the scheme. Rafe played romantic sort whose courtship gave Damon the cushion and front, because his seething rage and loathing of her father (and her by association) prevented him any measure of kindness towards her. Damon even goes as far as to play peeping-tom to Lanna & Rafe’s botched deflowering, but make no mistake—Damon fully intends on claiming the REST of Lanna’s virginity later. Yes, she must have a freakin’ iron hymen; both hero and secondary hero were known to have broken somethin’ during their hanky panky sessions. Was York afraid Lanna couldn’t possibly love anyone but the first timer? Really? Where are those sorority girls rolling their eyes in the background here?

Beloved Enemy was a rare lit’l treat I originally felt compelled to succor my tasteless reads with and I spread around the joy & WTF tendencies with the girls at work, or on the forums—like it’s a newborn baby while we're all standing around staring down into its cradle in awe; cooing and admiring its loveliness….until the Big Misunderstanding jumped out of the shadows and kept me hamstringed from 50% of the story till it finished.

So many wonderfully, nitty-gritty smut smudges in this one; even –I- felt aghast a few times, however, that was 1/3 of the redeeming factor. Another being the extreme historical tilt. The War of 1812 has NEVER been reeled out so vividly as York’s pictorial. What suffered so greatly and reason for the bitchery I’m building up? Like I require a real reason, but the character development of the H/h; it was starving and bare thread. It wasn’t so much that the hero/heroine didn’t quite connect, because oftentimes true romance is a no-show in these old relics, but it was how it was delivered. It hurt me to realize this, too. I wanted to five star and giggle nervously, side-eyeing, in case anyone ever reads or notices it, but I’m gonna let these puppies fly free today; I can’t hide from the terrible character formula. More than once I reckoned the 1812 smoke laden landscape, these Georgia backwoods romps unfolding—in all marks of seriousness—-then these black suit, top-hat clad characters cane walk themselves onto and off the stage as all manner of randomness takes place. It wasn’t their plotline or actual design—it was the execution, well, that lobbed off all functioning, vital parts of the character into a shiftless sack of lifelessness. The beginning was like an Apocalyptic fallout of sheer mad-dashery. It was makin' all of my BR dreams come true. o.o The awe factor delivered beautifully through BRery, I was fascinated—she went there—she’s gone and done it now! I gluttonized myself on the first half of this book, and the remainder went down painstakingly slow. I believe the author's inspiration floundered and added MISUNDERSTANDING Cannons & Seeing Is Not Believing curtain-calls during very vital scenes the reader should have been exposed to were scribbled out and instead, the most redundant were showboated around aimlessly. Past tense fill-ins are so tired and dry. It was like receiving second-hand information on an important event you were supposed to attend and expected to be joyous and elated by it. Yeah.... no matter how carefully worded and recounted, you still missed the show baby. And that's how York's narration depicted those scenes; someone bragging to you on a show you missed in a passive-aggressive voice. Sadly, this only applied to the H/h, everyone else were spotlighted and you're able to make the transition with them, but the H/h kept the same grit in their craw throughout the novel and we're INFORMED on how those two took off without training wheels one day...

The hero Damon didn't quite evolve or transform through the guns-blazing, down-with-his-ship uproar, either. I wasn't personally asking for an epiphany. His plotting and gallivanting around one scene to the next - reminded me greatly of a Hardy Boys episode. The majority of strife that befell him was simply of his own design, and seriously, usually had no real weight to the story itself. We're supposed to emotionally invest ourselves to a Big Discovery of Serious Shit unfolding, and I was scolding the book hatefully, "WHY WOULD THAT EVEN MATTER?" He flung arrows and FUCK-YOU smatterings all over this book but in the end we're TOLD he had changed. One of the secondary heroes 'noticed' this calm and passive pace to Damon's personal dealings, and I'm supposed to believe it occurred in the background somewhere?

Lanna, despite many hardships, wasn’t genuinely a chronic crier, but at that 50% something mark, it’s like a blackout drunk trying to answer the doorbell, flopping and felled like a tranquilized horse. A lot of times when heroines are put through the wringer, they’ll at least maintain a sharp wit, tongue or knife—-Lanna LITERALLY gazed up with doe-like eyes, “BUT why?” She’s my main gripe. Her love for the secondary hero in the fledgling stages of the story wasn’t at all unacceptable. I want the heroine to find true love; on her terms. She decides in the end, whom she wishes to be with, but York deliberately channeled all possibility for happiness JUST around the heroine and hero, till the AMAZING secondary characters suffered so greatly, they didn’t even receive their HEA…. And that pisses me the fuck off. *cries* How come they(H/h) got HEAs?

Rafe was literally written off of the pages; his staunch devotion to the ‘sea’ in one sentence, then “I guess I can settle here on this island” schizophrenic turn of phrase rankled my nerves. His entire development, which had amassed to a WONDERFUL degree, was to be used as a crutch for the main characters who’re either standing on one leg, as they saw the other out from underneath them?

Even Beth, lifelong fiancee of Rafe’s-—her sole purpose of existence was so that she could be offed and Lanna would grieve and we’d sympathize with her. Cry harder, sweet-tits.

Indigo—ooOoo, the lovely Mulatto Indigo. This character had a few more feathers in her plumage than to simply be Damon’s lifelong mistress. I ADORED her. She was a survivor—THIS –THIS—is the sort of kickback I wanted from Lanna! Indigo had been Damon’s housekeeper/live-in mistress and when Lanna arrived, naturally she wanted her GONE. Hey, I understand, you’re his wife; you want to run the household-—but she sent her to the dogs without her FREE PAPERS, to Rafe’s plantation. And guess where she lands? A slave. Actually, worse than that-—Rafe’s father assaults on her with his cane and mistreatment sickened me to the core, but above all – all so that Lanna had her happiness. Damon wasn’t even present to be the center of conflict. He didn’t sit still very long at all. Indigo continued to fight back—-she wasn’t a woman of pleasure, she simply loved Damon, but after being subjected to unimaginable cruelty, she used what attributes she had to survive. And she did. Stealing a bisexual artist from his gay artist lover, she thought resembled Damon, she gave herself freely. Seducing a side-villain inorder to escape slavery and plot from the sidelines..she strived harder than most to achieve. In the end, she reckoned she should venture back to Alain, whom she had shared the house with Damon, who also loved her very much, as Alain was the cuddle-bear of the novel whom everyone used for a temporary boost to their esteem and left emotionally vampirized. But they never get their reunion. THAT leaves me so unfulfilled! WHYYY!?! The heroine even confesses to Alain she was a little in love with him, too. The Alain + Indigo + Damon + Lanna partner swapfest was an amusing tidbit, I just hate that even Alain had no conclusion. His character, who rescued Lanna—cared for, and comforted her—simply a dead-weight for Lanna & Damon’s selfish finale. Damon's unnursed, unloved mommy issues seem to transpire and rear up where Lanna’s concerned; my guess is that he saw her as the mother who did not love him, as Lanna, indeed, loved Rafe a great deal of the book. Rafe suffered from unrequited love; glad at least the ‘write-off’ he was given was chasing some tail. >;D Git ‘em Rafe!

Lanna showed a spark of development towards the end when she set to find her child; girl in breeches who was found out in a matter of two minutes on deck—I was LOLOL. She was utterly so clumsy—too stupid to lose; I never liked her. Not once. Everyone I love dies. Well, boo-fucking-who, Mary Sue. It's sad when someone else's death is allll about you. Maybe if you weren’t such a self-centered twit, uncaring for the feelings of others, they’d all be alive—kicking your ass. Even her attempts at courage are wrought through a lot of stupidity that she just HAPPENED to land on her feet during. Her marks as anything more than a stick figure in the corner you hang your coat and hat on – was simply for convenience sake. All disapproval I found within this novel can be rooted in Lanna, though. Lanna, you won’t take the pretty star ratings from me, no matter how I loathed you. 3 ½ stars.

All GR Status Updates as I read are found here: CLICKY

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