Anyone up for some Jeopardy?
Okay let's pause for an awkward second and admire the pink, tattooed elephant named Caithness Macbeth in the room.
Don't get me wrong, this is a totally different story (more along the lines of Leon: The Professional but not as good), but given the distant yet still noticeable similarities with a favorite series and my gripes against this book, I'm having a hard time thinking of what I liked about it. Because for some reason, it felt like I watched a B-movie about assassins, ham-acted out by B-actors filmed on the gaudiest locations.
He leaves it at that and walks into the room where I continue to follow and once I'm inside, the beauty of it takes my breath away. There are four life-sized statues of Greek women wearing flowing gowns, standing tall in all four corners of this round, dome-shaped room. To my right another wall-sized window overlooks the turbulent ocean and in front of it, sitting proudly on display is the most beautiful piano I've ever seen.
That's where Victor, our hero, lives. And no he is not a centuries old vampire.
I think my major issue was everything about this story was executed half-baked and half-heartedly. There's a great dearth of grit and tension in the storytelling, Something about the themes this book chose to deal with need to be delivered with a certain panache; a brave balls-out, swagger where it came out short of in every way.
I always felt like it was holding back, trying not to get too offensive. Take for example the scene in LA where they were alone with Arthur Hamburg where the man propositions them to have sex in front of him while he watches followed by the guy sucking off Victor. Which didn't happen because, as in any PG-13 movie, the hero finds a way to save the day. I'm not a pervert (most of the times) just out for the smut factor, but if you're going to set your story with off-beat characters with intense backstories, you can't expect me to not complain when it doesn't deliver on the promised potential when the time comes.
Or maybe it's just because I've seen these issues handled better and given the proper edge in the treatment, elsewhere?
I have the most difficult time dealing with Sarai. Her character profile is so confusing. She pities Izel one moment, only to be glad to watch her die, several chapters after. She doesn't act like someone who has been "enslaved" for 9 years, easily adapting to the circumstances Victor throws at her. And I don't understand why the author made her "special" in Javier's harem, because this effectively takes out any hope of sympathy I may have for her. Her initial guilt over enjoying all sorts of luxury (Except wearing a bra. Dear gad, the travesty!) being Javier's favorite while the rest of the harem suffers went forgotten. With not one iota of guilt after assuming the Izabel persona. And this circular argument that just made my nose bleed:
I hated Javier. I hated that even though he never raped me, at least not like you expect rape to happen; he knew at first I was unwilling, that I only gave in to him because I was afraid and yet he still had sex with me and I say that's rape. But I hated him and I hated that I gave myself to a man that I did not want.
WHAT IN THE EVER LIVING FUCK?!
There's something strange in the way the dialogue of the characters are phrased. This is told in alternating POVs between Sarai and Victor with very little to distinguish one POV from the other. But my major issue is that there are lengths of dialogue (that are actually lengthy monologues, thinking back) that didn't sound conversational at all. It's as if the characters are reading their lines off a script. A badly written script at that.
"What kind of man would not want to help a defenseless young woman out of a life of bondage and violence, especially when she has escaped her captors and is directly pleading for your help?"
Who talks like that? Seriously?
And everything else I said in my status updates because I'm already tired of hearing my own voice in my head and I don't want to talk about the piano playing and the chest beating while crying and the lukewarm sex anymore.
I'm sorry but it seems I am the kind of reader who doesn't get impressed by throwing in gunfights and dead bodies and shocking gestures into the story for the sake of. What, someone shoves his hand in a girl's cunny and you expect me to gasp in surprise and call this edgy and gritty?