Cat's Lair by Christine Feehan
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
It took me a while to process my thoughts after reading this. I love Christine Feehan's books. She's got her quirks, for sure, but she is one of my autobuy authors for a reason. I liked this book, but I disliked some prominent aspects enough that I had to knock my rating down to 3.5 stars. I will try not to get too graphic in describing why, but I hope that no one is offended by any content in this review. I will refer to the hero as "the hero", because if I call him something else, it's a spoiler.
I am not an erotica fan when it comes to romance. This book has definitely crossed the line into erotica. In fact, some love scenes actually felt downright porny to me. There is actually too much sex in this book, and not because sex is not good or wrong, but it doesn't really add to the story after a certain point. Plus, some of the sex scenes were not appealing to my taste. Thankfully, there is no anal sex or content, but there were still some sex aspects I felt were not necessary in a romance novel. A lot of it ties into the hero's dominant proclivities. I know a lot of romance fans really like that D/s stuff, but I don't like it. I think it's counter to what I love about a deep, strong romantic bond. I like a mutual submission and I like that there's give and take and that both parties can be strong and gentle instead of one person always having the reins. I think that if a hero always wants control in the bedroom 100%, that says a lot about his personality as a partner, and that comes across loud and clear with the hero. I'm not for that in a relationship. If the author goes there, it needs to be well done, and so far, I don't think it's been done in a book to my satisfaction, not that I'm looking for that, because I'm not. In this book specifically, it was a big turnoff for me, more than anything else. Frankly, I love when the hero is all tough and lethal and growly, but the heroine has him wrapped around her little finger. That's really sexy to me. Not a hero who's always giving orders and wants control, even in the most intimate and safest of places, the bedroom. The bedroom needs to be a place of trust and absolute security. Not a place where the roles are so locked into place that it's all taking from one party (and I don't mean orgasms).
I have no problem with oral sex, but I don't like the forced/aggressive kind of aspect to it that has a certain name that won't go into on this review. There was another oral sex act that is straight out of a porno that I was like, "Not so much." I also don't like spanking used as punishment for a grown woman included in sex. Even if the heroine likes it, it feels wrong to me. Your mileage may vary.
I love stalkerific heroes like a house on fire. I like when the hero is crazy and even obsessed with the heroine. I find that highly appealing. But there is a limit to it in this way: I don't like when the hero is super-controlling or dominant. Especially in bed. And also in that he wants the heroine to live life according to his rules. I'm not against a hero who wants to protect the heroine and feels like he knows best. Especially if he does know more about keeping the heroine safe than she does. But he shouldn't feel like he has the right to administer corporal punishment if she fails to follow his instructions. I mean, Really???
I don't like that a hero always wants sex to be his way and feels like he has to train his heroine to accommodate his needs. In that sense the hero crosses the line with me. He made a point of saying that he was a rough man and he had certain needs. He had already determined that was his woman, and he would have to train her to his way of doing things. To me, that's not really showing love. Love is when you accept people for who they are essentially. You don't try to change them, making the assumption that they will like changing for you and doing things your way. He knew how Catarina grew up, but he didn't even try to gentle himself for her, considering that she had been in a controlling situation her whole life before him. While the hero did love Catarina, and he cared for her and made sure her needs were met, I felt their relationship was a 60/40 relationship, with the balance his way. Catarina is very young, and I can't help wondering if she's happy with the hero just because he's all she's known other than the life she ran away from. She loves that he focuses on her, compliments her and takes care of him, and is willing to accept his need for control. She loves what he does to her sexually, but how does she know she wouldn't like a more gentle lover? She doesn't. As she grows, I feel that she will eventually find that control to be a stranglehold on her. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.
I loved Catarina. She was a cool heroine. I liked the aspect of her being a master chef and barista, and that she taught herself to read. I liked that she had found a home at the dojo and working in the cafe shop, her own life, what she deserved.. The hero frankly ruined that for her. I didn't mind that she was compliant and submissive. Truth be told, she was way too good for the hero. I think he needed to work harder to be worthy of her in my eyes. To clarify, I felt like she needed a different hero based on her past. The hero was a bit too much like the man she was running away from, and if that is the case, I think the resolution could have been stronger than how it occurred. There was one aspect I loved, because you could see how deeply the hero cared for the heroine at what happens near the end. I'm sorry that it took this, frankly. I think there needed to be more of a confrontation between the hero and Rafe, the man she was running away from. Instead, there was the big smack down but no words exchanged as humans. I would have loved seeing the hero hand the jerk the beating he deserved. I feel that Feehan always writes awesome heroines and I usually love her heroes, with rare exception. This hero is definitely an exception for me.
I always like the parts of this series where the hero and heroine run as big cats. I think that part was too short. I'm a cat fancier, and I always get a kick out of the H/h running free together. I would easily have sacrificed one or more love scene for more of this. It's one of the best aspects of this series. The animal nature is so integral to the characters, and it should be more of a plot element than making the hero require rough sex.
It was great to see Emma and Jake again. It made me want to reread Burning Wild again. I just might!
Despite its issues, this was a very readable book, and I couldn't hardly put it down. Feehan knows how to write paranormal romance and compelling stories. I think I expect a lot from her, so that's part of why I was disappointed with this book. I feel that the hero just didn't work for me, and the sex aspects were unnecessary and unappealing. I still have high hopes for Elijah's book. I have been wanting his story for a long, long time.
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