Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran

In which Tasha has a case of the blahs.

wicked becomes you cover

Dear Historical Romances,

You and I, we used to be so close.  You gave me escapism, long sighs, and swoon-worthy heroes.  Long nights staying up way past my bedtime to find out what would happen next.  I gave you... well, money.  But I was glad to give it!  So long as I got a wonderful romance in return that transported me to another place and time.

But now, I'm just not feeling it.  I haven't for a while.  It's not you--well, sometimes it is you.  Okay, MOST of the time it's you.  But in this case it's not.  There is absolutely wrong with this particular book.  On some level, I recognize this, and thus I kept reading until the bitter sweet end.  Sweet because it was a HEA (naturally), bitter because all I felt was bored.  When the hero and heroine first kiss--meh.  When they start throwing glasses and pitchers of beer at one another in public--yawn.  When they purge deep emotional issues--are you freaking kidding me?  Is this supposed to be the tortured emotional part?  Because BLAHHHH.

Gwen is the perfect debutante, but the men she agrees to marry keep ditching her at the altar.  Why???  After the second one, she has a breakdown and decides she's done with being good--she wants to be wicked!  Fortunately, the person she comes across just as she arrives at this deep personal realization is Alex Ramsay, her brother's bestie and a notorious kick-boxing rogue.  Or is it roguish kick-boxer?  Whatever.  They travel to Paris, Monte Carlo, Alex shows her how to be wicked, blah blah blah.

Did you hear that?  "Blah blah blah."  That's what I kept thinking while I was reading this book.  But it's really not the same old thing--it's set in exciting locales, is cunningly researched and written, and... well, those are the only positives I can think of at the moment.  I did really enjoy the parts of the novel that showed me settings I'd never seen in a romance before, like the freaking Moulin Rouge (!); I should have been geeking out something fierce, but instead all I could keep thinking while I read it was, "This book would be so much better if it wasn't a romance!  Then I wouldn't have to suffer through this rigmarole of a relationship."

I didn't feel any chemistry between the hero and heroine at all.  Alex's contempt of Gwen's innocence was more believable (and off-putting) than his sudden breakdown into admitting, "Oh, I've been in love with you all along!"  Suuure.

Meredith Duran's greatest strength has always been her fascinating heroes, but Alex isn't terribly interesting.  He doesn't do very much and I never got a sense of his history or emotions, or even what he looked like for that matter.  Gwen, meanwhile, was hard to take seriously, and every time she said she never wanted to get married, it made me roll my eyes.  Perhaps I would have found her protestations easier to believe if this wasn't a romance novel.  Or if she hadn't been raised to believe her entire roll in life was to marry an aristocrat.

As the book went on, the only thing I really cared about discovering was why Gwen's fiances kept dumping her.  Sadly, the explanation was stupid and unsurprising.

Of course, perhaps someone who isn't a jaded old crone in the course of a genre breakup would feel differently.

I'm sorry, historical romances, but I don't think we should see each other any more.  At least not for a while.  I thought we were true loves and nothing would ever be able to keep us apart, especially with a book like this one.  But Wicked Becomes You has served to show me that even the best relationships have to come to an end eventually, and I'm not sure I have the fortitude to read another book by a great author and feel nothing.


Tasha B.

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