21 dezembro 2011

Review: No Proper Lady (Isabel Cooper)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (2011)
Format: Mass Market Paperback | 329 pages
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy
Description (GR): "England, 1888. The trees are green, the birds are singing, and in 200 years demons will destroy it all. Unless Joan, a rough-around-the-edges assassin from the future, can take out the dark magician responsible. But to get close to her target she'll need help learning how to fit into society.
Simon has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Alex Reynell, and Joan may be his perfect revenge. But as each day passes, Simon is less sure he wants her anywhere near Reynell. Because no spell in the world will save his future if she isn't in it."
WARNING: Contains SPOILERS!
No Proper Lady was an impulse buy (I know I have a lot of those, gah). I wanted to read an historical romance, but somehow I also wanted a bit of paranormal. So when I read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was exactly what I was looking for.

And it was, in a way. The idea is still pretty good. The execution (yes, you read right, it's one of those... sigh), however...

I was okay with time travel and Joan being a though female. Very good. I did not like the way her first encounter with Simon (the hero) went down. It appears Simon is a wizard and doesn't frown on bright lights and women from the future... which means he pretty much took it in stride and didn't doubt her. There was no fights, no disbelief, no period of adjustment. It was like: "Oh right I'll help a strange woman, give her dresses and all". I just... didn't feel like it was realistic behaviour.

Also it bugged me that the focus of the book was Joan learning to fit Victorian society. Half the book is about that (and the instantaneous attraction between her and Simon) and I was kind of bored, because, well it was boring and the interactions were not very interesting. Or conductive to attraction. Basically, the protagonists had no chemistry.

After this first half, Joan and company move to London to meet their foe (Simon's former friend), who could have been a layered, complex character but ended up being the villain of the jour. As mean as they come and strangely with a tendency for self-pity (Woe, no-one understands my evilness) that made me roll my eyes. The part where the heroes deal with this very dangerous villain is short and anti-climatic after all the talk of him being so powerful and so dangerous. It was like Cooper was tired of the story and decided to end it abruptly after spending much of the book focusing on Joan and how she couldn't dance or eat properly.

I think the major problem with this book is that it tries to be too much: time-travel story, mystery and thriller, paranormal fiction, historical romance... and consequently none of these are very well developed. Same for the characters.
I did like the descriptions of Joan's world (great setting for gritty urban fantasy) and her flashgun. I did not, however, like Joan that much. I didn't connect with any of the characters, really.

Overall: No Proper Lady could have been an interesting book (it certainly had an interesting idea behind it) but the author seemed to want to cram so much into the story it ended up being underdeveloped. And generally boring, except for a few select parts. Not a "time-travel romance" I would recommend.

1 comentário :

p7 disse...

Too bad. This one sounded interesting, with its supposed mix of paranormal and historical. :|