Saturday, June 4

The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

Book 1 in the Regency Rogues Series

The first quarter of this book, I really enjoyed. Our heroine, Lady Lucinda Grey, was sharp and pretty. She had three sarcastic, very funny aunts I was looking forward to getting to know (Bessie, Victoria, and Charlotte). Our hero, Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake of the first order – we meet him while he’s in bed with his mistress. He was a good rake, and I think I liked him best in the beginning than throughout the rest of the book. Which is sad. Continuing on, when he firsts meets our heroine, there’s a fun little challenge issued, the beginning of their romance. Everything was all set up for some wonderful fun. Then, the book turned into an Apollo 13. The characters, the plot, the entirety of the rest of the book pretty much sucked, plain and simple.

My first complaint was that, after the first 80 pages or so, everyone lost their character. Lucinda stopped acting like a lady or like herself and turned unto a nitwit, with seemingly no motivation, William stopped acting the part of the rake both with her and without her. The funny aunts disappeared (not completely) from the story, which was a crying shame because I was looking forward to their role in the book. The characters were so flat they wore training bras. The characters were just going through the motions of a romance book with a 'mysterious, dangerous plot'. Nobody was actually feeling anything or staying true to their character. It was a mess. I couldn’t feel the love growing between our hero and heroine either, which really bothered me. It was: we meet, we fuck, we fight, we make up, we get little babies. No falling in love. Lucinda throws away the innocence she's kept intact for years for a few kisses, and is seemingly ready, willing, and able to dance the bedroom dance for the first time in a closet at Almacks. No. Just no.

The plot also went to kaputz. I bought this book really looking forward to the ‘Young Corinthians’ plot. In the beginning of the novel we learn that our hero, Will, is part of this elite spy group, the Young Corinthians. Will is assigned by his boss, Carmichael, the duty of protecting Lady Lucinda Grey from a kidnapping plot. To get close to her, he’s going to have to use his charm to convince this notoriously elusive, cold, beautiful Lady to let him court her. He does this by offering her his horse (King Solomon’s Mine) whom she loves to pieces. The plot seemed really interesting at first, but ended up being really stupid. The one kidnapping attempt that occurs, when there were like ten men from the Young Corinthians on horseback to rescue her back? Alright, if you’ve got so many men assigned to protect her, waiting in the shadows, then why do you need Will? Why is this whole courting thing even necessary? Also, our kidnapper clearly has a gun but never seems to use it until the very end. If I were a crazy kidnapper, I’d just shoot the bodyguard in the beginning and spirit the girl away. It was supposed to build suspense or whatever, I know, but Sloane did a terrible job with the plot. Really. It was awful. Also, the reason for the kidnapping was never really explained beyond the simplest ‘they want money’. If you want money, rob a carriage or something. Why would you kidnap the woman? Who are you going to blackmail to get her back? Wouldn't you kidnap the woman's aunt or dog or something, not the woman herself?

My main qualm: Our heroine was TSTL. The scene at the end, where she charges into the fray on a horse to save Will is really dumb. I wish she’d gotten shot, because it would’ve shown there was some sort of reality in the world Sloane created. Also, she throws a temper-tantrum when she learns that Will didn’t originally want to court her, but was assigned to protect her. Yes, fault the man for risking his life every day to protect you, and don’t give him the benefit of the doubt at all, even a little, because clearly he's not noble or trustworthy or anything. I’m used to unreasonable temper tantrums in romance, on the part of the hero or heroine, but the sheer stupidity of this one hit me hard and made me want to scream.

 Finally, there were so many ‘little’ loose ends that didn’t fit in – like Will’s drama with his family. Where’s that going? Is there some resolution that will take place in a later book? Yes? No? Goodness, there were so many things left hanging. I like my books to be neatly tied off, a little package all tidied up. Not so in Sloane’s story. The epilogue did nothing to satisfy me or make me feel the book had reached its conclusion. All in all, it was an amateur’s novel, with average writing, an average hero, a TSTL heroine, confusing chaos regarding the characters of our protagonists, and a worse than mediocre plot. This is not a book I’d recommend - but maybe the next book will be better.

Favorite quotes:

“Really, Victoria, looking at you is more than enough to underscore our advanced years, thank you very much.” (Bessie)

“Are you planning on drinking that brandy or have you decided to perform a magic rite for its continued safety and good health?” (Carmichael)

 “What were you doing?” Carmichael inquired, settling in.
Will lifted the heavy crystal glass to his lips and swallowed, the liquor burning pleasantly down his throat. “Thinking, Carmichael. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

 “Sexy”ness rating: Sex included.

Overall Rating: D-

Bottom Line: Part of the reason this book got such a low grade was because it started off so well. The characters, the plot, the humor, the everything then fell significantly short of expectations towards the end and I wanted to throw the book against the wall. *BAM*

Pages: 320
Published: May 12, 2011
Genre: Historical

1 comment:

  1. Hiya!


    Unlike you, I liked all three books by SS! I reviewed them for Romance Reader At heart website.

    LOL! I guess it's all 'in the eye of the beholder'?!

    Still. LOVE your reviews;))



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