Ah, the first SBD of the year. And today’s post is rather bitchy and full of WTF.
CR passed on her copy of Christine Warren’s One Bite With A Stranger. She enjoyed it . . . she loves vampire novels, even as she labels genre romance as tacky and trashy. WTF? She’s not being ironic when she calls romance trashy, and she doesn’t "get" that what she’s reading is that self-same trash that she derides. Something about the vampires perhaps erases the genre romance taint?
Anyway, I wouldn’t have read this book otherwise, because I’m so over vampires in romance. They’re really only tolerable in urban fantasy. Because hooking up with a long-lived leech just doesn’t really appeal to my sense of the romantic. Done with the bloodsuckers. So probably I shouldn’t have even bothered . . . but it was the only book in my bag this morning, thus it was the commute book.
To say that I hated the book would be to assign more passion and interest than the book merited. Reading it just reminded me of a few romance tropes that really bother me:
- Sexual attraction = love (and great sex = love)
- Having a “fated mate” means that that the author doesn’t have to actually build a relationship, or have the characters do anything other than screw.
- The abandonment of human life for vampire-dom (for lurve) without any consideration of the monumental changes that will be undertaken.
As a physical object: the font was fairly large, and the margins meandered – narrow, then wide, then narrow again.
Nearly half of the 332 pages were spent on love/sex scenes; the first one took 60 pages. Sixty pages! My attention began wandering after the fifth page; sex acts on the page need some emotional content or to be linked to some sort of plot/character development, otherwise it just seems pornish (which is okay, but not what was supposed to be going on here). Lift the sex scenes out, and there isn’t much else going on between the hero and heroine: they saw each other; he got in her head (he’s psychic, of course); they screwed like minks in mating season; he bossed her around; she pouted a little, then buckled. For example, she wondered out loud at one point if two nights of sex made a relationship . . . but then seemed to decide that the answer was yes. Of course, being spineless was par for the course for the heroine, who couldn’t seem to stand up to anyone (friend Ava, ex-boyfriend Gregory, etc.) except by playing avoidance games and leaving voicemail messages.
The plot was miniscule. Maybe there is some sort of overarching plot in the series (I’m guessing there’s a series, based on the bait dangled) in which the paltry activity outside the bedroom makes sense. On its own, it didn’t make much sense.
The vampire mythology was never developed — maybe it was explained in an earlier or later book? I don’t know, but it seemed sort of standard from what I could gather. There was nothing to distinguish this vampire society from hundreds of others. Uber-wealthy, extremely powerful, living in parallel to human society. Stronger, faster, better hearing/vision, etc. Few weaknesses, if any.
The hero, Dmitri, said that he could only influence her in a way that she was already inclined. Uh, whatever. As I read their first sex scene, I thought her consent was dubious because of the way he pushed into her head. Not good. He felt creepy and controlling through the entire book. It was always him getting his way and imposing his will on Regina. Also, the author threw in the fact that Regina was submissive in the bedroom, although she’d never acted on her desires. The hero’s imposition of his will via his psychic powers in combination with her previously unexplored desire to be dominated felt really squicky to me, especially the way he decided unilaterally after one night of sex that the heroine would have to adjust to his lifestyle. (p 110)
Her kinky sex toys and dress up stuff was okay because he’d read her mind and knew her friends had provided them; mind reading made it easier, gave him a better impression of her. (p 111-2) Otherwise, he’d’ve thought she was a kinky, perverted whore? WTF? What does that make him? He enjoyed those props, too, btw. Judgmental, double standard-upholding bastard.
He takes his stress out on her, basically blaming her for his behavior. (p 229)
Another thought: why must the villains always reveal their plans, explaining everything a la Scooby Doo?
Milka as a nickname or endearment — know what I think of? Skim or 2%, and the brand of milk chocolate.
Also, condomless sex with a total stranger == TSTL. Fail! FAIL! FAIL!
Maybe if I wasn’t suffering from an earache and feeling totally bored by vampires, I’d feel more charitable about this book. But I doubt it.
D for this book.