Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Laura Kinsale - The Prince of Midnight

They called him the Prince of Midnight - a legendary highwayman, once dashing and dangerous...now a tarnished, forgotten hero, exiled and alone.
She sought his fabled skills in the ruins of a French castle - a proud and desperate English beauty, drawn to the myth...but bewildered by the man.
Across perilous mountains and tempestuous seas, together they pursued their separate dreams - of vengeance, of passion, a glory reborn...kindling the all-consuming fires of a bold and unexpected love that would set the midnight skies magnificently ablaze.

Comment: I was given this book for my birthday last year. This isn't the first book I had to read by the author, I've previously read Flowers From the Storm, which is an amazing story and one of my favorite romances ever. I has high expectations about another title by mrs Kinsale and how the story would develop...
In this story we follow the lives of ST Maitland, an exiled highwayman who left England in disgrace. Looking for him was Leigh Strachan, a young woman masquerading as man, trying to find The Prince du Midnuit, ST's known alias. She wants him to train her in fighting and guns so she can kill the man responsible for the death of her family.
At first ST is wary of Leigh, then lust for her and with time tries his best to help her and be the man she thought she would find. In the way there's lot to happen and ST has to realize what really matters not only to achieve his goal but also to convince Leigh he is the man for her. But nothing is ever easy and Leigh isn't some silly, innocent girl. Can they be happy after everything?
Well, this story is certainly different from the other one I've read by the author. I can see her trademark writing but let me tell you, this book has a tone and content that isn't always easy to go through. Not that is badly done, or too awful or hard to read about, but it's certainly different enough from the other title that I found it hard to go through at times. It took me quite a while to read and it's not such a long book, ut I've struggled here and there because I lost focus.
I think I can pinpoint my biggest trouble with the heroine. She's just not very likable. At least I couldn't find much to empathize with her, despite all the problems in her life and the unfairness she went through. I do applaud her wish to change things to get revenge and to ask for help, but in general, her attitude and behavior were too clinical and cold to makes feel more tuned to her plight and thoughts. I had a hard time reading through her behavior and although I can understand her need to be cold so she wouldn't get attached and suffer more, her vulnerable side wasn't exploited much and her relationship to ST felt very impersonal. I just couldn't understand where the romance was.
In fact, this isn't a very romantic plot. Even while reading the epilogue, where we see what happened to them, I wasn't very convinced of their feelings. Somehow, it seems we are supposed to accept much more easily ST's feelings and vulnerabilities' than Leigh's. This means we root more for him and his success... I just couldn't understand why he would fall in love with her, even when it said so on the page. When she does admit she's in love with him, I didn't believe because it felt so weird... I really didn't like this couple more, I thought ST suffered too much not knowing and feeling miserable and all in all, it felt disjointed.
ST is a great character, not perfect, he has many doubts, does very silly things but his heart is pure. He has a reputation from his younger years and now lives isolated, alone in fact, with only a wolf for company. I really felt for him, his problems and hardships, the fears and little things that made his life being so small and lonely... I liked he felt needed and with a goal but the action of him and Leigh traveling and looking for to destroy a man wasn't very thrilling. I feel his character was downplayed and treated badly... in the end, when he is happy at last, it still feels like he was given a favor, so I feel sorry for him and not very happy with his happiness... it's weird.
The plot was weird too. I get it, it has a purpose but there's a sort of cult playing people's minds in the story and the content is quite weird. This doesn't give credence to the dangers of brainwashing in cults and how people stop having a personality but I really didn't expect this from the author.
The story didn't have a romantic structure to balance the different things and the feel of weirdness given to the action scenes which, in opposition to the weak romance, didn't really improved the expectations one could have.
The tone of this story is quite dark. Not horror, not bad, but it's like even happiness and good things only came at a price or on the heels of other awful things and to be honest I wasn't very ager to know what would happen.
All in all, this did surprise me but not very positively. I think the author's talent and work are there to be seen, there are some interesting passages, but labeling this a romance isn't very correct to me. I mean, I didn't think this is a very romantic story despite the I love yous and the sweetness of one or two gestures and conversations.
I still think this had positive points but it's a very weak grade 7 all things considered.
Grade: 7/10

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