Monday, June 23

Prince Charming by Gaelen Foley

Book 3 in the Ascension Series

     This was the first Foley book I read outside the Knight series, and I was glad to see her masterful character development did not disappear.

Can I just say - Lady Daniela Chiaramonte is probably one of my favorite heroines ever, in my reading history to date. She is moronically brave and noble, a real spitfire... she has balls of steel. She knees the Prince of Ascension in the balls after robbing his carriage and then, when her friends get captured, she bombs the jail and sneaks into the palace to rescue them single-handedly. I usually dislike idiotically ballsy heroines - but Dani always seemed to know what she was doing. She had a plan, knew the risks, and wasn't afraid of death getting in her way. I was charmed, instantly.

And perhaps that was why I was willing to forgive the giant piece of unrealistic bull that came about 50 pages in - where the Prince of Ascension, hero Rafael (Rafe), goes to the jail where Dani is being held before being hanged for thieving (her escape plans didn't quite go as expected) and tells her if she wants to live, she's going to marry him. At first I was like - no way in hell would a prince (who has been kneed in the precious jewels) propose to marry a world-class thief after meeting her once. That's not how royalty, or love, works. It's just too quick.

But then, I was charmed quickly by Dani - and I could see the incredibly bored Prince Rafael being charmed by her immediately as well. Adding in her sway over the people as a 'Robin Hood' figure, and Rafe's desire to be in control of his own destiny, I actually came to respect this inconceivable plot device, and enjoy it. Unfortunately, after this point, things went downhill. The development of true love was weak - it just exploded upon us, and then Dani and Rafe began acting super weird and lusty and there was a ton of PDA and I was like 'ugh, I'm so out'. So the romance ceased to amuse me because it lacked the proper build up - Foley rushed into things and then had nowhere to go. So they just kept pawing at each other, and occasionally getting into little tiffs that made me roll my eyes. This part dropped the book a full letter grade for me - because Dani was an A+ heroine until Rafe came along. And if you say that about a romantic couple, better off alone than together, you know something went wrong.

Still, the plot was intriguing - our villain was a masterful and unassuming Iago type, complete with long monologues to the reader about his evil plans. I gave huge props to Foley for actually killing real characters that we came to care about to (yes, you read that right - in a romance, no less). Foley's not afraid to take us for all the emotion we're willing to spend. The writing was Foley's typical smooth flow, with nice descriptions, and only a few stagnant scenes that the editor should have cut (that first scene in Rafe's bedroom... WTF was even happening? What were all those rape-y feels we got from Rafe's 'friends'). The book occasionally felt like Foley had meant to go in one direction and then forgot, leaving us with more loose ends than I would have liked. I was willing to forgive the few inconsistencies of character from Rafe just because he was such an overgrown child at the beginning, and children are fickle. Towards the end he became much more steady.

Final positive - this book was funny as all get out. A lot of good, dry humor coming from one of my new favs - Dani Chiaramonte.

Favorite Quotes: 

I should have taken notes. This book actually made me laugh out loud on my couch. It was hysterical.

"Sexy"ness rating: Why do I even bother with this part? The books are always hot, hot, hot!

Overall Rating: C+

Bottom Line: An amazing, amazing heroine - the epitome of true strength and courage (if a little big pigheaded) and a hero with so much room to grow at the beginning, who becomes a leader and a fabulous lover by the end. Unfortunately, the first 150 pages are better than the last 250, leaving me with a sad feeling as I closed on the HEA.

Pages: 412
Published: 2003
Genre: Historical

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