Lair Of The Lion
by Christine Feehan, historical (2002)
Leisure, $6.99, ISBN 0-8439-5048-X

People, this is not part of the Carpathian series. Fans of Carpathians' mind-rape and utter subjugation of their weak-willed walking ovaries with breasts will also be disappointed - the "intensity" of the said Carpathian brutes of their women is noticeably absent here.

Yeah, I kinda like this book, better than the Carpathian ones. Can you tell?

In fact, after what seems like a huge output of a million books a year, Ms Feehan is slowly showing a common but stereotypical evolution as an author: she has left the "heroines in romance novels needn't have any personality, only a tendency to be perpetually in trouble" stage to the "heroines have to be perpetually in trouble, but now they have to be strong, only in this case I still confuse 'strong' with 'mouthing off like a feisty but braindead wench who has still no common sense'" stage. It's a step up the evolution process. Maybe there's hope of a truly great book by Ms Feehan one day.

Isabella Vernaducci (or is it Wannaduchy? Whataducky? Whatadouchebaggy?) braves death, storms, tempests, ugly surly butlers, and all to get an audience with the mysterious, perpetually shrouded in darkness, and speech italicized inclined Don Nicolai DeMarco because she must save her brother! She must! Then she sees Don, marries him, and brother is apparently forgotten as she now wonders and tries to solve the mystery of Don, the lions... or something.

Yeah, something, because to be honest, this book doesn't have much of a plot, unless you count our heroine gasping and walking around in some dark creepy manor a plot. Lots of scenes of lions threatening our heroine are interspersed with Neanderthalia Italiano macho caveman lovin', and frankly, it's a hoot. This is a hokey, corny, and pretty amusing read, right up there with Mistress Elvira movies, only minus the irony, unfortunately. If this story has set out to be deliberately corny and campy, it'll be a keeper.

Evil women, helpful staff member, and nasty men who are forgiven because "Sarina, you know Betto as he really is, through the eyes of your love" (forgive the men, stone the bitches!) complete the whole lurid cornball that is Lair Of The Lion. Sure, I have no idea what the whole thing is about actually, as plot points come and go, some never even coming close to being resolved, but it's all silly fun really. Just be aware that the story really drags towards the middle. With no plot, there's only so much Ms Feehan can do with her repetitious dumb-broad-groping-in-the-dark thing.

I can't help but to wistfully imagine the magical story that will result if Ms Feehan will one day realize what hokey baloney her stories are and decide to let loose and experience the hokey. As it is, Lair Of The Lion is an irony-free exercise of bad, lurid Gothic thunder-lightning-italicized-erection melodrama. Some readers, like me, get the joke and have a great time, but it will be nice sometimes if Ms Feehan is also onto the joke and share the laughter, instead of puffing up in indignant outrage at us mere mortals' inability to accept her books as Serious Works of Quality.

Rating: 84

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