For week 47, I read Master of Crows, by Grace Draven. This was another pick for the Vaginal Fantasy Group over at GoodReads. I gave it four out of five stars, despite some of the clichés that popped up and bothered me like a sore tooth. Be warned; there are spoilers. TL;DR version: it’s not bad, and if you like fantasy romance then you should definitely give it a go. If you’re not very keen on either, maybe pass on this one.
Firstly, the heroine Martise is told over and over how plain and unattractive she is. She has pretty hair, pretty eyes, a good figure, and (my word choice here is not an exaggeration, it is in the book) an orgasmic voice, but that doesn’t count toward being attractive, apparently. She’s smart, she’s good with languages, she has some sort of latent magical power, and she’s enslaved. But you know, other than these things, I didn’t see much depth to the character. She just didn’t spark for me.
Secondly, the dynamic between Silhara and Martise wasn’t all bad, but past the initial physical attraction, it was just kind of repetitive. To be fair, that’s pretty accurate to how relationships are, at first. “He’s eating an orange! So sexy!” “She’s picking fruit! So sexy!” But in a fantasy or a romance novel, this is supposed to be the good part, not the part that makes me scratch my head a bit and skip ahead to get to the story part.
The big bad thing: interesting. The magic stuff going on: interesting. The past constantly being alluded to but never explained: interesting (and frustrating). The two main characters being competent individuals: interesting. Silhara permanently disfiguring some douchebag for shooting off his mouth: a dick move on his part and not equal to his crime. Martise putting up with Silhara’s borderline abuse: bullshit. (Yes, I realize her circumstances, but still. Like a sore tooth.) World-building: interesting. All the repetition: blaaaaaahhhhrhgh.
I guess I should say that, if given the option to read one of Draven’s books again, I probably would. For a fantasy romance novel, all the fantasy parts were pretty good, even if there were some romance elements that I didn’t entirely care for. If I’m going to be honest, there are a lot of romance elements commonly used in a lot of romance novels that are not to my taste, so there’s a curve working against the whole romance genre, here. Take that grain of salt with you, read the other reviews over on the GoodReads page for the book, and make your own decision.