DNF at 53%. And that means something, I am less picky and critical when it comes to HR than any other genre, because, well, HR is my guilty pleasure and I enjoy just being able to turn my mind off and just enjoy a book. So it takes a lot, and I do mean a lot, to make me dislike an HR book.
The book starts out on a strong start. Annique Villiers is a French spy, she’s tough, she’s smart, she kicks ass…or at least she does in the beginning of the book.
When she is locked into a cell with the British spy Robert Grey and his accomplice, she single handedly rescues both of them from certain death and helps them to freedom. Grey shows his gratitude by betraying her, abducting her, treating her with a complete lack of respect, and practically sexually assaulting her.
I found Grey’s character unredeemable and just couldn’t understand why Annique kept saving his stupid ass and how she could actually like him.
For example the ‘hero’ drugs her with opium (for a couple of days) and when she comes on to him in her drugged out of her mind state he takes advantage of her and has an honest to God conversation with his accomplice (who’s life Annique saved twice) about how he should just go ahead and screw her because she obviously ‘wants it’. What the fuck!
After she has saved all of their lives!!! (for unfathomable reasons)
I suppose this would not have bothered me so much had Annique not fallen in love with Grey, very early on in the story when he had not done one fucking thing that should have redeemed him in her eyes. Let’s see: he broke his promise to her, abducted her, placed her in mortal danger, kept insisting that he knew better how to keep her safe and what’s best for her, drugged her for days, took advantage of her more than once, and treated like a whore and without an ounce of respect.
But what finally made this book land on my DNF pile was Annique. We learn that she is this super tough, smart master spy, so one could assume, that she knows how to actually be a fucking spy. But she just happily blabbers on and on to a stranger, practically telling him that she is a French spy. As a fucking master spy shouldn’t she know to keep her big mouth shut? She doesn’t know who that stranger is, he could be an enemy spy for all that she knows (he is), and she just blithely told him who is trying to kill her. Another spy would recognize the name and know that she is a French agent (the enemy!!!) with very important information.
“I would most certainly be dead if you had not happened by. Leblanc must kill me, you see, to shut my mouth, as I know certain discreditable facts about him. Leblanc is the one I put my knife into.
Good God! Why not just tell the fucking stranger that you hold REALLY IMPORTANT MAJOR SECRETS THAT POWERFUL PEOPLE WILL KILL FOR!!!
What the hell where they thinking, everybody who went about praising her to the skies and calling her a master agent? She let herself get backed into an alley. She’d done major injury to one man, hadn’t followed in for the kill, then just about missed Leblanc altogether.
Really, I hate to agree with Grey on anything, but I keep wondering the same thing.
But this book just takes everything we know about Annique from the beginning of the book and takes am major dump on it.
“Monsieur…No. I will break myself of the habit of speaking French in a day or two.
In a day or two? She is a fucking spy, she is fluent in multiple languages and has already proven that she can switch to another language and speak that one fluently without reverting back to French. But apparently this ‘master spy’ has to break her habit of speaking her native tongue 'in a day or two'. She didn’t have to do this last time, she just switched to German on a seconds notice (after being drugged for days) and did not fall back onto her native language then.
But whatever. Master spy my ass.
And that’s where I gave up, I refuse to believe that she became a ‘master spy’ with that huge mouth she can’t control.
The writing was not very good either. They speak French in the beginning of the book, which is translated into English. But it does not make sense that the dialogues would be translated word for word as they would have been spoken in French. That is not how translations work. A translation should translate the words into the same standard as the original language. But it tries to sound ‘more French’ or something, instead it just manages to sound like bad English.
“I do not feel talkative. It is the being kidnapped, you comprehend.”
It doesn’t matter how it would have been formulated in French, as it is an English translation, it just makes the language sound unauthentic.
And then the book keeps mixing in actual French words in the dialogue that is already in French.
“You are a man of the most remarkable cold blood, Monsieur Doyle. Mon Dieu, but your reputation is fully deserved.”
The reader has been told multiple times that they are speaking French, so why the occasional French words interspaced in the translated English? It makes no sense, pick one and stick with it, this changing back and forth was really annoying. And this happens so often, the same with the German.
“Do not be sick upon the lieutenant, Liebling.”
And by the way a brother would not call his sister ‘Liebling’ (at least I hope not..).
The world descriptions are also sadly lacking, there is so much imagery that this book could have used, to describe the settings, the landscapes, and the scenery (as they travel from France to England).
He had no strength to waste, so she did not argue when he told her he would do this thing or that. She just ignored him and did them herself.
It was not easy in her darkness to do those things needed to make camp
Things???? Really? That is very lazy writing.
Sadly the rest of the writing isn’t any better.
Why this wood is completely full to the brim with dead bodies everywhere
‘completely full’ means it is already full, ‘to the brim’ is redundant.
I was very disappointed by this book, it took off to such a great start but just went rapidly downhill from there.