Review: Prisoner of Night by J.R. Ward

Format: E-Bookprisonerofnight
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #16.5
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hero: Duran
Heroine: Ahmare, blooded daughter of Ahmat
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 07, 2019
Started On: March 20, 2019
Finished On: March 25, 2019

Prisoner of Night by JR Ward is a novella set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, released just this January. The story begins with Duran, a male vampire held under captivity by another known as Chalen the Conqueror, is tortured both physically and mentally with the sole purpose of breaking him. When the story continues, it is Ahmare, the blooded daughter of Ahmat, a teacher by profession, thrown into extraordinary circumstances, in pursuit of her brother who comes seeking Chalen at his “home”.

It is Chalen who throws Duran and Ahmare together, which kick starts a journey into something both never foresaw coming. Even with all Duran had undergone at the hands of those who worked for Chalen, from the moment Ahmare steps into close proximity, Duran recognizes her as the one he belongs with, even though there is a wealth of issues that he needs to work through, a past he needs to confront, and his own father to contend with. Ahmare, while at first, is distrustful of Duran, she slowly comes to identify that the male with her is one of worth, someone she could definitely fall and fall hard for.

I found Prisoner of Night to be a bit jarring, having enjoyed the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, some books more than others up to this point. But Prisoner of Night had no reason nor rhyme to it, falling into place just like that, with characters that we have never come across before. Of course, the novella Dearest Ivie was also of the same variety, but it was a novella that I enjoyed because there was emotional depth to the story that I could relate to.

Prisoner of Night wasn’t relatable in any aspect. Except for Duran’s character and Ahmare’s considerate nature toward him, there is little in the story that held my attention. There were gory details of violence that just seemed out of place, especially at the points where Duran was first being held captive, and more so where Ahmare was having flashbacks into how she had performed her first kill.

I felt disconnected from both Duran and Ahmare in a large way and because of that the story that unfolded. For me, Prisoner of Night was just a collection of paragraphs about violence and sex. I had problems with how Duran, a vampire who had been violated so badly, multiple times over, found it that easy to be intimate with Ahmare, his very first female. Zsadist’s story was believable after everything he went through because Ward took care and time with his character, to get deep into his psych so that readers were right there with him when things changed for him for the better.

There is also one more aspect to these novels that has gotten kind of tiresome over the years. The continued looking down on humans in general. How are vampires any great as a race than humans when it comes right down to it? Humans are crappy, needy, self-righteous, greedy, and all of those character traits that makes us annoying. But vampires, beyond their ability to live for centuries, aren’t that great either in my opinion. The beginning of the race itself had been steeped in divisiveness, elitism, and a culture that had created a great divide between the glymera, the ruling class, and the normal vampire folk who pretty much have as hard a time as humans do to make ends meet, to survive.

Even though Wrath has at this point in time embraced his role as the King of the species fully, it was his dillydallying that put the entire race in danger, the lack of strong leadership that had actually created the vacuum which had seen his role as king threatened from within the glymera itself. How is that for greatness of the race? Ward needs to tone down a bit on hating humans, because at the end of the day, the vampire race is just as lacking, with the same set of problems that humans face, equipped with an angel who just helps out the elite “brotherhood” with problems they face in their love lives. *mic drop*

Recommended for diehard fans of the BDB series.

Final Verdict: Prisoner of Night was a letdown in every sense. While new characters are welcome, the deep disconnect that is felt from the characters contributed to making this a paltry reading experience.

Favorite Quotes

Duran planted his palms on the tile wall, his great arms bowing out, and then he got to the grind, his abs rolling under his tight skin, his hips working, his lips finding hers until the rhythm got too intense. Looking down her body, beneath her breasts, she watched him go in and out of her, the sight so erotic, she came again.
And again.
And . . . again.
He was filling her up on the inside once more, marking her as males did when they had bonded, mating her in the rawest sense of the word. His face, as he strained and powered over her, was intense, his eyes glowing, his fangs bared as his lips curled off his canines in pleasure.
He was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.
And he was alive.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: True Enchanter by Susan Napier

Format: E-booktrueenchanter_susannapier
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Richard Marlow
Heroine: Joanna Carson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 10, 1987
Started On: October 26, 2018
Finished On: October 29, 2018

After the high of my previous read, The Sister Swap by Susan Napier, I decided that one more Susan Napier was in order to continue riding the high.

Story begins with Joanna Carson, aunt to one talented and quite young Rebecca, acting as a chaperone to her niece on a movie set, where Rebecca was as one of the lead roles. This is how Joanna starts to spend time, albeit reluctantly, with Richard Marlow, the director of the said movie, a man she believes to be too egoistic and arrogant for his own good. 

Richard had been a promising actor himself, who at the peak of his stardom, went out of the spotlight owing to a life changing accident, which saw him return as a movie director. 

True Enchanter, despite all elements that should have made it work, was a tough story to care about. I liked the hero a bit, and disliked the heroine intensely. In my opinion, she is one of those heroines whom you want to see as someone who was pushing the boundaries on the gender equality agenda, but somehow ends up being annoying about everything. But in all honesty, I just found her tiresome and thought to myself good riddance when I skipped bits and pieces to get to the ending. 

Susan Napier writes strong heroines, and pushes the accepted norms in her books. Feminism as an evolving concept has always been challenged by romance authors to different extents. But then there are the heroines who grate on your nerves because of their “strong ideals” and end up giving the story a bad vibe rather than being an empowering figure to the reader.

Recommended if you like heroines who come off too strong. 

Final Verdict: Tiresome in a way that had me skipping parts of the story to get to the ending. It is my faith in Napier’s abilities as a writer that made me even  try.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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ARC Review: Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather

Format: E-booktrappedatthealtar
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Trapped, #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Ivor Chalfont
Heroine: Ariadne Daunt
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 22, 2014
Started On: November 2, 2014
Finished On: November 5, 2014

Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather is her debut novel in the Trapped series which turns out to be my very first experience of her writing as well. The premise of this story was an interesting one. Ivor Chalfont and Ariadne Daunt had grown up together, childhood friends, their entwined fate as husband and wife decided when they were merely children. When the time of reckoning had come, Ariadne had been in love with another, so totally not ready to give herself up to Ivor who seemed perfectly at home with what is expected of him.

What could have turned out to be a delicious read somehow headed astray right from the very beginning. Jane Feather’s writing style is not one that is difficult to follow. But turns out, I had a problem with connecting to either Ivor or Ariadne. There were moments in the story where I though I might be able to fall in love with Ivor which turned out to be a couple of false alarms. If you ask me, Ivor was the lesser of the two evils where the two protagonists of the story are concerned.

Ariadne was in love with another man which was fine by me. She was reluctant to enter into a forced marriage which was yet again fine by me. And Ariadne giving up her virginity to the man she had supposedly been in love with was also fine with me. What I wasn’t fine with was the deception she lived under up till everything just pretty much exploded in her face. I felt that Ariadne was just a little bit too spoiled and selfish, and I guess rightfully so when she herself admitted to the fact towards the end of the story. Ariadne has this habit of thinking of just herself and though there forges this connection between Ivor and herself as man and wife, she has a hard time putting her trust in him and letting him know how she feels about certain things related to their marriage.

Ivor was the character I felt that could have turned the story around for the better. Ivor had everything going for him which Ariadne’s lover did not. He had the body, the charm and the sexual knowledge to seduce his wife into loving him and I don’t believe that Ivor lived up to his potential in that aspect. There is this aloofness about him or I should say a stiffness about him that seems almost unyielding. For two people who had known each other and practically grown up together as confidantes and best of friends, I had a hard time envisioning that connection between them. There were scenes where that connection seemed to materialize and then something would happen and it just went poof in the air. Somehow, I wanted more from both Ivor and Ariadne and I never got that.

The whole aspect of Ivor and Ariadne’s forced nuptials is based on both Ivor and Ariadne’s family getting their reputation back at the King’s court. There was an uninteresting storyline about Catholics and Protestants which I couldn’t get into and towards the end, a vague sense of unfinished business that lingered on regarding this particular storyline even when the book ended. I believe that the next couple of books in the series would follow that line of story to the end? But frankly I would have to say that I am just not that interested enough to find out more.

Recommended, if you are a fan of Jane Feather.

Final Verdict: Jane Feather pens a mediocre start to the Trapped series with Trapped at the Altar.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall | iTunes

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Review: Waiting for it by Rhyannon Byrd

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Jake Farrel
Heroine: Taylor Moore
Sensuality: 5
Date of Publication: March 31, 2004
Started On: May 28, 2010
Finished On: May 29, 2010

I picked this book up because I always love a romance that tells the story of two characters who have a shared past history together. This novel is about Jake and Taylor who both met one another during their high schooling years when Taylor moved to Jake’s town.

From the first moment Jake and Taylor laid eyes on each other it changed their worlds. However, Jake’s best friend Mitch had worked towards creating enough misunderstanding between the two that Jake leaves town without once looking back at the heartbroken Taylor he leaves behind.

Life moves on and Taylor marries Mitch, who makes for a miserable husband all through. Mitch sleeps around on Taylor, a fact that she knows though she never thinks of leaving him until she walks in to find Mitch in bed with the town whore which finally propels her to leave Mitch after 10 years of miserable existence with him.

A year later, Jake returns claiming that he has always loved Taylor and that he has waited around all these years till Taylor could be his. Though Taylor loves Jake to distraction, she is not ready to trust Jake with her heart though she is more than willing to trust him with her body for the multitudes of raunchy rides Jake takes her on. The whole book is basically porn, most of the pages which I skipped through cause too much of anything gets to be tiring.

I skimmed through more than 90% of the book to unravel the actual story behind, a story that appealed to me and would have made for a better read if the emotional and background development of the characters had been given more depth rather than just focusing on the whole sexual aspect of the story.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Jasmine Jade

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