Monday, May 25, 2009

Review: The Dark One by Ronda Thompson

Title: The Dark One
Series: Wild Wulfs of London
Author: Ronda Thompson
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: November 1, 2005
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 0312935730
ISBN-13: 9780312935733

Rosalind Rutherford knows full well the scandal she courts when she attempts to seduce the notorious Armond Wulf—in fact, she's counting on it as a means to escape her sadistic stepbrother's control. Unfortunately, Lord Wulf's better instincts prevail...although not before he gives Rosalind a tantalizing taste of what she's missing. And when the opportunity arises to rescue Armond from a grim fate while changing her own, Rosalind knows she must seize it...

Armond can no more ignore the Rutherford woman than his ancestor could resist the temptress who cursed the Wulf men with a terrifying transformation that occurs at the appearance of the full moon—and is set in motion by love. Now, to save her reputation and his freedom, Armond must marry Rosalind. But he vows that while they may share the pleasures of the marriage bed, she will never have his heart...

Yet as strange and mysterious events bring them closer in body and soul, Armond finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings for his new wife locked away. Especially when the reality of unquenchable desire--and certain danger--burn stronger than ever by the light of a full moon...

My rating:

Before starting this book I was rather skeptic, mostly due to the rather lukewarm novella in Midnight Pleasures that started this series. Yet this book started strong and sure, making me like the hero and heroine from the start. Him because of his apparent inner strength in the face of the dastardly curse, his stoicism in face of the shunning of the polite society, his kindness toward the dowager, and his deep sense of honor – he was the complete opposite of what the rumors claimed and I loved him.
I loved the heroine because of her determination and courage to do anything to get from under her cruel stepbrother’s thumb, even going so far as to attempt to be ravished by a total stranger to thwart the said stepbrother’s nefarious plot of marrying her off in order to settle his gambling debts.

Unfortunately after a few great chapters, my initial fears and doubts were confirmed, and everything quickly went downhill, taking along the plot and the characters, terminating in a rather anti-climatic and highly predictable ending.

The second half of the book failed to deliver what the first few chapters promised, mostly in the characterization department, resulting in the nasty impression of the leading couple being replaced by doppelgangers. When Armond was at first strong, determined, proud, albeit a little brooding, he turned into a pathetic, heavily brooding, feeling-sorry-for-himself whiner in a flip of the page.
And Rosalind unfortunately didn’t fare any better. While I appreciate HR heroines to be a little ahead of their time in their thinking and reasoning, she was a little too ahead of her time. While love wasn’t the main ingredient in regency era marriages, this chick, who at the beginning decided to “shatter” with the first available bachelor not caring about propriety or emotions being involved, suddenly demanded love before doing the deed with her husband, even though he happened to be the same bloke.
And what did he do? He allowed it, which was sort of sweet in its contorted way, in fact, he locked his door in fear of her ravishing him!

Eyes, I grant you permission to roll out of my sockets.

I actually kept looking forward to the scenes with the evil, women-bashing stepbrother. Which says a lot.

I’ll read the rest of the series, but I certainly don’t hope for much.


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