Storm Born by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one book that I have mixed feelings about. There were some aspects I really liked...and some, not so much.
I'll go into the negatives first:
Quite frankly, this book read like Eugenie's Adventures in Paranormal Dating to me. I am just not a fan of chick-lit, and that whole aspect was sort of a turn off to me. I felt that there was too much emphasis on Eugenie's sex/dating life, and her status as a highly sought-after sex partner, for whatever reason. That left me cold. In theory, it was interesting to delve into Eugenie's secret heritage as the Storm King's daughter, but for the focus to be on who could get her pregnant and who wanted to have sex with her so often seemed to limit her importance as a whole person. Also, I wasn't really comfortable with the fact that she was having relationships, or should I say, sexual relations with two different men in this book, and the interval wasn't that far apart. I know that life happens, and people drift apart. And this is real life for a lot of women to be in these kinds of relationships, but it's not something I prefer to read about. Her choices don't make sense, and don't seem very rational to me. She had gotten burned by jumping into intimacy so fast with Kiyo, it seemed to me to be foolhardy to have sex with Dorian so soon. And she would have had sex with Dorian sooner if she didn't have her issues with the gentry (faerie). I am very torn about this, because I liked Kiyo and Dorian very much, and I could certainly see the appeal. I think I would have liked it better if she had kept things at the flirting level with one of the guys, and explored a sexual relationship with the other in a different book. I've been called a prude, but I won't make any apologies for how I process things.
My other big issue was there was a little too much showing and not telling. As a big action fan, I like to see the action sequences show a lot of intensity. I didn't feel that way with a lot of the ones in this book. I felt like it was a bit too static. A good action scene puts the reader into the story, and that didn't happen to me with many of the ones in this book.
My last issue was the over-inflated importance of Eugenie, almost from the beginning. It was too much for me. She was the strongest, and most powerful, and she could kick some serious butt, and everyone in the Otherworld was afraid of her. I would have liked it better if this was shown to me through the unfolding plot, as opposed to pre-assumed. I think it would have made this book pop a lot more if I got to see how kick-butt Eugenie was without the editorial, and it raised questions for me why she was so freaking badass. Then, when I found out she was the Storm King's daughter, I would have been like, no wonder.
What I liked:
I loved the concept of the Faerie otherworld. Big fae fan here. I really got a kick out of all the kingdoms and the denizens within. Faerie is so interesting to me, with the complexity of character-dark and light. They are not so easily categorized as good or evil. That appeals to me as a reader, because their actions are by nature unpredictable and fascinating.
I think the use of various mythological creatures from different cultures was pretty awesome. I love it when I read a book and it encourages me to go and look up a creature that I'm not familiar with, such as the fachan, a Celtic creature who resembles a hairy cyclops.
Eugenie's shaman abilities were interesting. I think there could have been more impact if there was more showing here as well. I felt somewhat disconnected as the narrative explored how Eugenie opened up the portals to the Otherworld and to the land of the dead. But overall, I liked the idea.
Dorian really got my attention. Something about him just appealed, big time. I'm leaning towards Eugenie choosing him. He has this enigmatic, refined, but dark depth aspect that is calling my name. I like the way he lays his cards on the table with Eugenie and treats her as his equal. He's honest about who he is, so I don't see him resorting to treachery to get what he wants from Eugenia. I respected that about him.
Kiyo was also a nice love interest. There's something about him that doesn't click with me, which surprises me, since I love that he's a Japanese kitsune fox-shifter and that his father is Mexican. And he's a veterinarian. I love how he will protect Eugenie, no matter what. He's clearly crazy about her. He might be a little too eager for me. Maybe that's what it is.
All in all: This was a pretty good book. I had some issues with the focus of the story. I will admit I don't like urban fantasy where the main plot emphasis is on sex, and this book falls in that category. For what it was, I was drawn in and I enjoyed reading it. Despite the major-ish flaws, it was still a strong read, hence the four star rating. I have to see where this story goes, but I really hope Thorn Queen doesn't have Eugenie going back and forth between both men sexually, and horrors, doesn't introduce yet another sex partner. I might have to jump ship then.
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