by Alix Rickloff, historical/fantasy (2009)
Zebra, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-4201-0453-0
Alix Rickloff's Dangerous As Sin is the second book in a series, which explains the abrupt prologue, I guess. It looks like the hero and the heroine have met in the previous book. However, this story can stand alone quite well. I haven't read the previous book but I think I have a good idea of what is going on here.
Morgan Bligh is a half-Fae heroine who is currently tasked to take down a rogue Fae. This fellow has a magic sword with him that allows him to create an army of immortal warriors once he has mastered the ritual that allows him to use the sword in this manner, and we naturally can't have that. Morgan's partner is the human Cam Sinclair, who had a mad affair with Morgan six months ago until she learned that he was married and ditched him without a word. Naturally, they have to pretend to be married to make the investigative rounds. The usual.
Set in 1815 London, this story however has plenty of contemporary dialogs, let me warn you folks. At one point, the heroine tells the hero to "behave professionally". Then again, we have Fae folks and other spooks running wild in this story, so I guess that one can argue that this story doesn't need to be that authentic.
The heroine is actually pretty competent, surprisingly enough. In this story, it is the hero who plays the liability. Okay, he's clearly an alcoholic, but that isn't so bad if you ask me, since in romance novels being in love means your alcoholism will magically disappear. However, Cam is also pretty much nearly always wrong, often gets in the way of the heroine, tends to play the damsel in distress, and behaves most ungraciously and even churlishly when he realizes that he's a brat. It also doesn't help that the author portrays his late wife as a nasty hag, as if this lazy plot device will in any way stop the hero from coming off like a big spoiled and silly baby.
This is not a case of me finding the hero deviating from the gender status quo of the genre and therefore considering him "emasculated", mind you. I'd have the same reaction if the heroine is the one who behaves like a silly fool. There are only so many times Cam is wrong and behaves ungraciously when he realizes it before he comes off as a self-absorbed whiny big baby. Alcoholic emo dudes make terrible boyfriends - and this story demonstrates why.
Dangerous As Sin could have been an interesting if wildly anachronistic historical romance, if the hero isn't the way he is. This is probably a non-issue if you don't mind guys who are wrong but who also insist on being in charge because he can't bear to see the little woman be right. Unfortunately for me, I think Morgan deserves a better boyfriend than this thick-headed twit.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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