Before I begin, can I just say now that I highly doubt that I am the reason Jenny Crusie is considering leaving the blog-o-sphere behind? Yes, I linked her blog post in my rant. Yes, I JCF was one of the Yahoo! Groups I posed the question to. No, I don't think it caused the incredible Ms. Crusie to re-think her entire position on blogging. Thank you to the few of you that have e-mailed me to let me know that you consider me so influential. I appreciate it. I also respect that perhaps you were trying to teach me the lesson of just how hurtful those nasty e-mails can be and believe me when I tell you, I already learned that lesson after my review of Fearless Fourteen. However, I do believe I will keep my collection of Crusie books on the book shelf - because yes, I truly do consider myself a fan of the writer, Bet Me has seen my through many a reading slumps. I also believe that I will continue to blog, as I don't think that I am the heart of evil and malice that has spread across the blog world causing innocent "authors with more talent in their pinky finger than I have in my entire body" to give up their on-line presence. If you have read any of my blog posts, you would see that I may not always like a book (and if you don't like those less than glowing reviews skip the following post), however I don't think I've written anything especially nasty and even while I was ranting about an author I believed was behaving in an incredibly ridiculous manner, I never publicly announced the authors name, not until the story "broke" out on a much more popular blog than my own. But again, I am flattered you think that I have such influence over some one I've never met and so very much admire. And you know what? I'm not even going to post your e-mails. I'm not even gonna let a soul other than my family see them. And God willing, should I ever be published, you will NOT see an antagonist with a name closely resembling yours. Instead, those e-mails will be printed out and stuck in my "I HAVE ARRIVED" folder that The Hubs suggest I start when I received my first nasty e-mail. And now, on with it...
I read the first two books in this series when they first came out. I was still at d&D at the time, and had seriously considered dishing them, had talked to dee about how I felt about them, but just couldn't bring myself to do so. It seemed like so many people were just in love with these books. Thought they were great. I have to say, that while I enjoy the mythology behind the books, I didn't particularly like the "forced seduction" in them. In fact, I didn't feel like it was so much forced seduction as I felt like the "hero" was raping his woman. But truth be told, I don't see much of a difference. No, in my opinion has always meant NO. It means STOP! It does not mean, oh I really do want this, I want to be terrified of you and what you are doing, because if you just keep it up I know I'll get over myself and LOVE it.
That said, the premise of this series is unique and if you can skip the hero forcing sex on his soon to be wife to gain her love, then they are damn fine reads. An amazingly evil man makes a deal with the devil. In return for his soul, the soul of his descendants and their eternal loyalty, the devil will give them the ability to change into fierce warriors. They will be long lived, will only be able to be killed by another of their kind, and they will have the ability to change at will into a fierce predatory animal. They will only bear sons. However, one day, a descendant falls in love. Not any descendant mind you, but the current ruler of the fierce clan. He runs away with his gypsy bride, has children and loves them all dearly. However, one day his wife has a vision, a vision that tells his doom. He will burn forever in hell unless the family can find the family icon and restore it to break the curse. The prophecy his wife has seems impossible to the family. For one, it states that the true loves of his four sons will bring the icons back together - but he only has three sons and one daughter.
I continued to read the series this summer when the final two books were released. I enjoyed them, because I wanted to see the curse lifted. I wanted to see how Dodd worked around the four sons thing. All in all, I think the series was worth the read. The premise is fascinating. There were, however, several lose ends. For instance, in the first book Ann (the true love of son #1) is found out to have something "other" herself, and I had seriously thought that this would come into play later. It didn't. I have no idea why it was such a big deal in the first book, if it has no real bearing on the overall story-line.
So, if you like forced seduction you'll be able to read these books without discomfort. However, if like me, you don't care for it, then either skip this series all together or skip pretty much all of the sex, because most of it read like rape to me.
Since this is a Novel Chat of a post the series gets a grade, I give it a C-. Probably would have been an A, but ya know, that whole forced thing.