Monday, September 7, 2020

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

DNF @ 30%

To clarify, I'm not giving this a low rating because I was offended by the content. I've read everything from Omegaverse erotica to bodice-rippers, and there's very few things that are so bad that I will stop reading a book because of the content alone (unless it's handled incredibly badly). There are many things I'm willing to forgive a book for, but one thing I can't forgive a book for is being boring.

I'm honestly SHOCKED that I didn't love this. It's been a while since I went into a book expecting it to be one of my faves but then hated it instead. This book is all over Instagram. I had like five friends recommend this one to me personally. I thought it would be so good, and instead I pick it up and it's so dry, it's like someone preserved the words and let them desiccate right there on the page. This reads like Dothraki fanfiction, and don't be fooled by the series title: there are no dragons. It comes from the way the warrior dudes fight in formation: his men (and women) are his "dragon."

The premise is enemies-to-lovers. Maddek, the hero, is seeking revenge for the death of his parents. He comes across the caravan of the princess of his enemies, Yvenne, and originally he plans to kill her but she makes him a better deal: her society is matrilineal so if he marries her and gets her with child, he'll steal the kingdom out from her evil relatives' feet (she doesn't like them either, for her own reasons). It's the perfect revenge. He agrees, but not without threatening her a few more times to remind her of her place. Again, not something I really had a problem with. I like dark romances and in enemies to lovers, I fully expect some unpleasant interactions between h and H. At first, it seemed like maybe I might get what I wanted. There is one lurid scene right in the beginning that I'm sure will be an instant-DNF for some. But then it passed, and nothing really came of it, and the book slowed to a molasses trickle.

I was promised a dark and luscious world filled with savagery and war, and instead got a mess of very derivative "warrior" fantasy fiction that feels a lot like WARPRIZE, only with more violence and swearing. And that could have been amazing, except the way that this is written, it all feels very "1970s fantasy speak," to me, all overwritten and overwrought, to the point where it bogs everything down, like someone was integrating their D&D characters and their theater degree into a book, while Conan the Barbarian was playing in the background. The characters don't really stand out to me. Yvenne is more interesting than Maddek, but the tension between them dissolves pretty quickly, turning into something that's supposed to be sexual tension but just feels tepid instead.

I am so unbelievably disappointed by this book that I'm actually having a hard time conveying just how upset I really am. I paid full price for this fully expecting to love it, which makes it extra painful. I'm sure others will love this but I couldn't stand it and I strongly encourage you to read the sample before buying this to make sure the writing style is for you before purchasing it.

1 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.