Wednesday, February 20, 2019

TBR Challenge: Robert Thier - In the Eye of the Storm

In the desert, an instant turns life into death and hate into love. In the desert, everything is different. Boundaries break down, and you find yourself doing things that you would never, ever have imagined.
Lilly Linton finds this out the hard way: in the shadow of the pyramids, she and her boss, cold, calculating Mr Ambrose, must face death and danger together. Is the desert's heat enough to melt the cold heart of Britain's richest financier?

Comment: This is the second story in the Storm and Silence series by author Robert Thier. I've read the first book some time ago and I have both this and the third installment to read. Since this month the TBR Challenge theme is something part of a series, I've picked this book for it.

For those who don't know about this story, this is an historical series which started at the wattpad platform and currently the author is still writing it. So far there are four books already officially published but there's one more to come at least.
I got to know about in one of the romance reviews sites I usually visit because it featured a opposites attract main romance. In this series we follow the story of rich British entrepreneur Rikkard Ambrose and his new secretary Lillian Linton who disguises herself as a man in order to work. In the first installment Lillian's boss discovered her real identity but there is a weird relationship between them: He is cynical and sort of skinflint and she declares herself as feminist. They clash quite often but of course the romantic part is to see them slowly fall in love.

In this second installment, which bgins right fter the cliffhanger of the first one, Lillian is decided to keep her payng job and have a little bit of independence but her boss does try his best to make up ways for her to quit, which she tries to not do the whole story... will they ever find a way to agree?

The first book was a good surprise because I expected one thing and the book was much more engaging in terms of plot. I also expected this one to be so and more, to explain some issues and to get the romance/personal situations on a clearer path.
However, I must say I was slightly disappointed with this book because it kep the same tone and structure of the other book but it doesn't seem to lead nowhere. I can imagine this being a series by installments on wattpad being turned into books a little tricky but if the characters remain the same throughout the whole story until the very last tome and we only get to see substantial changes then, then this won't be a good enough story for me.

Basically, after recovering from the adventures of the past book, now Lillian and mr Ambrose go to Egypt so solve something related to his business. Since Lillian is a woman on the 19th century she wouldn't be able to go on her own but she concocts a funny story about her grandmother and there she goes.
See, this is an element that sort of annoys me. It already did in the first book and now again. 
The tone of the series is obviously meant to be a comedy, so plenty of silly/funny/cute/unlikely/preposterous situations abound. I get it that the purpose is mean to entertain the reader with slightly unwise things but nevertheless engaging ones. However, the more emotional and serious elements get lost and it gets to a point that I can't really take anything seriously which means, for me, what is the point? What should this matter if the characters seem to be not much more than caricatures of what a severe man and a childish woman are meant to look like?

This is probably the element that makes me downgrade this book in relation to the other. I h«just would love to have more insight on the characters motivations, their wishes and their personality. Lillian is pretty much an open book and I commend her need to live her own life and not just blindly follow impositions but she is so obviously immature and often childish, not even her bravery in complicated situations redeemed her for me. It also doesn't help she can't have an opinion on whether she likes or not mr Ambrose and how to act around him. I can't stress out what a pity it feels like for me that this is told in first person by Lillian alone.

I can understand the author writing things so that both Lillian and mr Ambrose act clueless with one another. It will make their romance more credible the long term and it provides the comedy tone for the whole plot. But the time wasted on pages and pages with the same thing, the same ideas, the same thoughts, the same feelings...over and over. It gets repetitive and tiring even with the different settings.

Thinking about this book as a whole, I can't say it was such a great read. It was not, really, but I can accept the attempt to keep the mystery and to have characters that are opposite until they just have to accept what exists between them. But looking at the blurbs of what comes next, I can only pray that the author does have a path in mind, otherwise, what a waste of so many interesting themes and situations he could still explore in this.
I already have the third book and will read it but... I sure hope it is way better than this one. Some scenes were great but without real development...
Grade: 6/10

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