Grand Central Publishing, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-446-17824-2
Fantasy Romance, 2009
My Forbidden Desire features yet another child-like heroine needing protection from the cruel world, so soon after My Wicked Enemy, and I can only hope that this is not going to be a recurring theme for this author’s romantic urban fantasy series. Heaven knows, there are enough bratty little girls one can find in real life, there’s no need to give them romance stories to ruin.
Alexandrine Marit has some problems in her life when the story opens. Her brother Harsh turns out to be not dead like she expected, and he has a demon bodyguard, Xia, for her. Apparently she has found herself a magical talisman that she can’t take off – the significance of this is unclear to her at that point – and there are also rumors that her wicked father is going to unleash another dastardly plan upon the world. I know, this synopsis feels disjointed and vague, but the story is constructed in this manner. The reader discovers along with the heroine what exactly is happening to her, and therefore I’m going to have to play along and remain vague here, sorry.
The thing is, there may be an interesting story in here, who knows, although personally I feel that there are many similarities between this book and My Wicked Enemy to make this one feel like a retread of sorts. But getting to the revelations is either going to be a breeze or a chore, depending on how you can stand main characters who behave like overgrown children here. When this story is not bogged down by exposition, it is marred by Xia and Alexandrine bickering at each other in a mind-bogglingly childish manner.
Alexandrine… sigh. This is one heroine who has no control over her special powers and she doesn’t even have much clue, but she just has to be so abrasive to anyone who can possibly help her. She’s dim, she won’t pay attention, and she has a mouth that doesn’t know when to quit. “O-kaaay,” she would go when she is feeling feisty. “You are not the boss of me,” she would snap when someone tries to tell her to stop being a big baby. “Drop dead, okay?” is her idea of a brilliant comeback.
Xia is no better. “Fuck you!” is his way of showing readers that he has plenty of sexual tension with the heroine. When he’s mad, he will snap, “Fuck!” During moments of uncertainty, when the suspense becomes unbearable, he will say, “Fuck this!” If I can overlook his childish potty mouth to take him even a little seriously, I may question the wisdom of him mouthing off to someone who is supposed to be a powerful witch, one that can enslave his kind to do his or her bidding. But alas, I can’t take this silly brat seriously at all.
As you can probably imagine, these two have a banter system comprising him using a variation of the F word and she snapping back, “Drop dead!” and some other variation of a comeback more typically uttered by girls still in their teens. These two have a “Hate you! Love you! Fuck you! Drop dead! Ooh, we’re so passionate!” four-day romance that has all the magic of a Las Vegas elopement that both parties will seriously regret once they become sober.
The characters’ insistence of behaving like spoiled petulant children unable to stop acting up ruins this story to the point that I have a hard time taking the supposed danger they are in seriously. At the end of the day, I have a very difficult time caring whether this story is worth the effort of dealing with the bickering children’s nonsense. I just wish someone would give them a time out. Can I ask that the author’s next book in this series to feature folks who behave even a little like adults? That will be a nice change from this frightening story of very immature children with apparently great powers at their disposal.