For the fifth book in the challenge, I read In Bed with a Highlander, by Maya Banks, book one in the McCabe Trilogy. This was another from the Vaginal Fantasy group over on GoodReads, and that’s going to be my justification for reading this book. I gave it two whole stars out of five.
This book suffered badly from the inconsistent heroine problem. In one chapter, she’s the epitome of responsible fealty, a rock upon which the raging stream of fate crashes over unsuccessfully. In the next chapter (heck, sometimes just later in the chapter), she is a petulant fifteen-year-old whining about not being able to marry her Imaginary Prince Charming and purposefully putting herself in stupid, stupid danger to express her outrage at The Injustice Of It All.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hero/love interest suffered badly from a similar inconsistency. I don’t really expect a man who suffered a lot to jump at the chance to suffer some more, but when he’s described as a big, scary, angry man for a fair part of the book, even by his family, I take issue with the happy-go-lucky dudebro behavior displayed when he’s training with his men. You can display his gruffness as a well-intentioned stern mask that covers how much he really cares for the people around him, and you can show that his men respect him, and you can do it without big-ass grins and ass-slapping the heroine to show off for the other dudebros.
I suppose I shouldn’t be at all surprised, since somewhere in the middle the narrative switches from Heroine Is Kinda Screwed, to Whosoever Owns This Woman’s Vagina, Please Stand Up. I realize that this sort of conflict did happen back in the *mumblemumble*-hundreds, especially since land was attached to legacy, and I am trying to appreciate that the author tried to show that this was wrong, but it felt like more anachronistic behavior from Mr. Sensitive GruffDudebro KiltyNoPants. Not hitting women because you’ve had a bad day, that would be progressive back in the *mumblemumble*-hundreds. But, going along with that would be the idea that she’s not capable of a lot of things, even though she’s a Precious Gem To Be Protected. (I am seriously abusing capitalization rules, here. My apologies.)
I should note that there is a fair amount of rape-talk, and rape-posturing, and…okay, well, rape. Don’t get me started. If you want to get someone else started, though, be my guest. The forum over here is still going on about the “rape-y-ness” of the first real sex scene. Cannot promise it is at all safe for work.