Wednesday, September 12, 2018

L. Rowyn - A Rational Arrangement

“But these are vital aspects of marriage. If one cannot discuss them, what's the use in meeting at all? It's like trying to decide what you'll have for dinner without mentioning food.”
Wisteria Vasilver does wish to marry. Truly. But though she lives in Paradise, arranging a match is full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary ... or perhaps just for her.
Nikola Striker, Lord of Fireholt, expects he'll wed -- someday. But not now, and never to a rich icicle of a woman like Miss Vasilver. No matter how much his parents might want the match, or his house might need her dowry. Besides, he has his own problems -- most of them people who need his help as a mind-healer.
Lord Justin Comfrey, Viscount of Comfrey, would be more than happy to help Striker with his financial troubles, and not just to ensure that Miss Vasilver's dowry doesn't tempt Striker into marriage. If only he could find some way to make his proud, stubborn friend accept the money!
Can three people of such different temperaments ever find their way to a more perfect Paradise?

Comment: I read an opinion about this book in a site and got curious about it. Looking at some reviews on goodreads, I thought I'd like to see how the author would create such a world of fantasy mixed with historical and, especially,the relationships and society connections. By seeing some of the labels readers have attributed to this, I knew this would feature MMF, a variation I lost interest but that now made me curious once again. However, despite the beauty and complexity of the plot, there was just one or two elements that I feel weren't used as I expected them to be...

In this fascinating (and long) story, the author has crated a fantasy world, Paradise, which felt like post apocalypse, set in a world/dimension away from Earth but still using several of its "rules" of society and beliefs. The author is clever to adds many layers - political, sociological, psychological - to the fantasy details, while still letting us absorb a layer of romance.
The main character is Nikola, a man who has a title but no money and is Blessed, which means, he has special powers, in his case he can mind heal others. While getting to know him, his family and those he deals with, we get the possibility to understand the rules and beauty of this imaginative creation.

Perhaps I'm not describing this well enough, but I did like the story a lot, as well as the structure of it. This is a very long story, my ebook edition had 640-something pages, but its length isn't difficult to go through. Actually, the story is captivating and exciting to keep reading and one barely notices the passage of time especially if this is a genre that appeals to the reader.

The world building is fascinating and I can see the author took time to think about details and about elements from recognizable things (such as historical costumes and religious notions for instance) to help base the society presented here. This is a fantasy world and it also includes talking, human like cats, sort of like evidence of anthropomorphism which seems to be a constant in the author's work but to me it wasn't difficult to imagine or to accept. It was also sort of sweet, to be honest.
All the rules and notions are given to the reader in a believable way, well structured and thought and makes sense. Since it's similar to what is familiar to us now, one can compare and more easily imagine.

The relationships between characters are well done, and the overall effect feels like an historical setting, considering the way people dress and some of their social behavior.
The plot involving the main characters is vibrant at times, a little dragging at others but it's always easy to keep reading.
Nikola is the main character and I really liked his evolution..he starts as if looking like a spoiled brat but the reality he is very considerate and noble and I liked him. Wisteria, the heroine, is obviously socially inept in some situations, she does seem to have some sort of syndrome in the autistic spectrum but she is strong, smart and a character I'd like to know in real life.

This is a MMF story, which means there is another element to the relationship. Justin is a lord, a little older than the others but a perfect complement to them.  I didn't mind this aspect of the romance. However, I must say that it did look like when they were two by two, whether Nikola and Wisteria, Nikola and Justin, Justin and Wisteria, they felt more stable than in the (few) scenes at the end where they were together. I won't go into spoilers but one of the things I disliked was how this situation was not socially accepted which means that for me, their HEA was bittersweet and I'd certainly have changed that. It was also a pity most of the time we had a slow burn romance between all parts and the challenge was centered in the last 100 pages. Some balance is lacking to me.
Plus, like I said, some parts of the story dragged a bit too much.

Everything considered, this was a very good story, very rich in details, in segments and characterization. Apart from some minor things (which I'd still change, though), this was well done and I wouldn't mind other stories in the same universe, with different characters, maybe.
Grade: 8/10

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