Saturday, February 14, 2009

Review: Consort of a Conqueror

Saturday, February 14, 2009
Consort of a Conqueror

By Alexandra Adams

Published by Carnal Desires Publishing.

Hot sex, intrique, imperial conquests, the backdrop of a military campaign... oh, and did I mention hot sex? Consort of a Conqueror by Alexandra Adams delivers a boatload of pretty much everything and the kitchen sink in this steamy book that really uses a classic plot device: the main characters love each other but have their heads up their butt for whatever reason and are unable to talk to each other about how they feel - something that everyone can identify with.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit it: I have trouble reading romance novels. This is surprising since I love a good romantic movie and I personally believe the final scene of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" where Holly kisses Paul in the rain is probably one of the most iconic romantic scenes in movie history. (just below Burt Lancaster kissing Deborah Kerr on the beach in "From Here to Eternity" and Clark Gable kissing Vivian Leigh at the door of the plantation in "Gone with the Wind")

You'd think I'd be all over romantic fiction, right? Know what? I'd likely be a voracious reader of the genre if authors would focus on the concept of "less is more" and leave something for the imagination. In a world of books where strong female protagonists are screwing everything from shapeshifting succubus vampire sexpot werewolf dudes from the fifth dimension of hell to necromancing serial killers who hang out at gay bars, it's nice to read a book that is actually about, everyone say it now... love.

Seriously, about 90% of what's out there right now is poorly written housewife porn where somehow between screwing everyone and his dog, the heroine learns something about a new found power and suddenly we're onto book four of the series where the heroine screws everyone and his dog, this time with a BDSM theme. (This author uses kinky sex as a plot device instead of, you know, a plot.)

Well, Consort of a Conqueror defies the stereotypes and delivers a number of tightly written hot moments where the words "gleaming shaft" and "everlasting love purse" aren't used at all. Imagine my surprise!

Here's the book in a nutshell:

Prince Rupert of Estravia (I kept thinking Erik Estrada as I read this over and over...) is married to Rohais who only agreed to marry Rupert to keep all hell from breaking loose since ol' Rupert has laid siege to Fernoye. (Star Wars reference here: this would be the same thing as if Princess Leia was forced to marry Grand Moff Tarkin to keep him from blowing up Alderaan with the death star.)

He thinks she doesn't believe in love, clearly he does and while they have great amounts of fantastic whoopee making, each is dead wrong about the other. Behind this classic case of "we could really be a great couple if we actually talked to each other about how we really feel", treachery is afoot! (Really, how could there not be treachery where there are places with names like "Lanesenau, Berencia and by God, the Free City of Meisenstricht?). Prince Fernand intends to storm the aformentioned free city and Rupert meets this vile act by, you guessed it, declaring war.

Will the lovers actually admit they love each? Will Meisenstricht become an enslaved city under that nasty Prince Fernand? What further dangers await after the smoke clears? All will be revealed as you turn the pages, (or click your mouse, as I did) and I won't tell you the ending other than to say that both parties finally get their heads out of their butts, but there's room for a sequel.

Good points: strong character development, good dialogue and steamy sex where the guy isn't hung like John Holmes and the author doesn't keep reminding us that the hero has a massive schlong.

Bad points: a bit too much happening in the background and it kind of distracted from the heart of the matter: heroine and hero realizing they love each other. (That said, I am still scratching my head as to why the heroine would fall in love with a guy who basically threatened to lay siege to her homeland. I suspect most emancipated women of the twenty-first century would have trouble visualizing themselves agreeing to marry someone who was effectively blackmailing them.)

Overall, a well written book that has strong characterization, good sex that doesn't make you feel like you got some on you, and the promise of true love conquering all, even if the heroine herself was conquered into loving her conqueror.


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