Monday, March 17, 2008

Midnight Eyes by Sarah Brophy

During the turbulent, decadent reign of William II, a royal mercenary finds himself caught in the throes of an unexpected passion – and played as a pawn in a treacherous game …

The bastard son of a Norman nobleman, Robert Beaumont has blossomed into one of England’s fiercest killers – and has found himself well paid for his talents. But now the time has come for him to set aside his sword. The king has agreed to reward him for his last service with an estate … on one condition: Robert must marry the sitting tenant – the infamous Lady Deformed.

For years, Imogen Colebrook has lived in the ramshackle Saxon keep, the virtual prisoner of her cruel, sadistic brother, the man responsible for her deformity – and for wedding her to a dangerous man. Yet, on Robert’s arrival, Imogen nearly brings the hardened warrior to his knees. For she is a vision of unparalleled beauty – living in a world without sight. Drawn to her courageous spirit, Robert gently draws Imogen out of her tortured past. But with her brother always lurking in the shadows, Imogen’s newfound sanctuary in Robert’s arms is in danger of being destroyed – unless her salvaged heart can find a way out of the darkness …

The premise of this story is interesting – how a blind but courageous lady wins the heart of a ruthless killer.

But it failed to be more than just a cursory read for me. Why?

First of all, the characterization of both Imogen and Robert were inconsistent, therefore unbelievable. Imogen, who had lived as a tormented recluse for many years, was quick to challenge Robert and risk his wrath on their first meeting. Robert, the hardened mercenary, defended Imogen’s honour even before they met. After meeting her, he was immediately considerate and tender toward her. Hello … fierce, merciless killer?

Secondly, you know how irritating it is to read of men (irrespective of age) who fall like swatted flies at the feet of a beautiful woman? They can’t deny her every request, and they can’t stop waxing lyrical of her beauty, grace and courage. This is one of those stories. *sigh*

I understand that this was the author’s debut novel. Cut her some slack, I’d agree. So I’d pick just one fault with the writing – there’s no need to elaborate on something until nothing is left to the reader’s imagination.

She opened her mouth to speak, but closed it too quickly for Robert to get any food inside. He let out a deep chuckle of appreciation, even as he sighed in exasperation.

“I’ll have to remember that you are no fool. I only got to pull the same stunt twice before you spotted it. You’re obviously going to prove to be quite a test on my creativity.”

Hmmm … I got it that Imogen was a quick-witted woman. There was no need to tell me in so many words.

I skimmed a lot of the middle part of the book as some details were mundane, and I just wanted to get to the end and find out why Imogen’s brother hated her so. The climax was somewhat a letdown.

My rating is 2 out of 5. It's problematic - may struggle to finish. Sensuality: Warm


Brie said...

"They can’t deny her every request, and they can’t stop waxing lyrical of her beauty, grace and courage. This is one of those stories."

This is my greatest pet peeve when reading romance. I'm in the camp where I'd rather the author show me through the characters actions, than tell me through another characters introspect and words.

Jace said...

Brie, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It's a very boring (and irritating) read when nothing's left to the reader's imagination.

Kristie (J) said...

I read about half of this one but it still hadn't really grabbed me so it ended up a DNF for me

Jace said...

Kristie, I buy these Zebra Debut books because I love discovering new authors and I don't expect them to be perfect. After all, it was through Zebra Debut that I discovered Eve Silver and her historical gothics. However, I do expect them to be moderately readable with no major stupidity issues. ;)

katrin said...

Jace, I didn't like the book either. I was intrigued buy the plot and sure, the cover is eye-candy. I ended up disappointed like you. I'd never buy a book by her again.

Jace said...

Katrin, WELCOME BACK!!! :D

I agree with you about the eye-candy cover. LOL You know what they say about not judging a book ... :)