I've recently begun reading more straight-up romance titles. Normally, I take my romance heavily dosed with fantasy or historical fiction, but I figured I'd get my feet wet with a big name like Sarah Maclean, and her book The Rogue Not Taken.
I didn't like this book. I don't know if it was about the author's style or about the trope of the "rogue" male more generally. I tend to think it's the former, because I quickly thereafter read another book by another other featuring a rogue, and liked that very much. The heroine was fine, there was nothing wanting there, except for her judgement in continually allowing herself to be at the mercy of someone who is an untrustworthy jerk all around. King (yes, really) constantly puts Sophia down, even when she's helping him, being kind, or being a genuinely likeable person, which she really was. I liked her as a character very much, and was able to sympathize with her and her situation a great deal.
The narrative put these two characters through the adventurous ringer together, and again, that was a fine premise, that would have come off better IF KING HADN'T BEEN SUCH A JERK. I didn't like him at all, his back story didn't negate or excuse his behavior, and when he did yet another terrible thing to Sophia, I felt terrible for her. Essentially, her getting with this guy didn't feel like a satisfying ending. The satisfying ending would have been to kick him to the curb and get someone who actually treats her the way she deserves to be treated. Or, at the minimum, have King come to see the error of his ways and change his behavior. But he doesn't. Even after several less-than-virtuous encounters between the two of them, (which were weird, not steamy) there is no change of heart, at least never a permanent one, and he continually treats their growing closeness like nothing important.
Trying to give Maclean a fair shake, I thought, maybe it's just this type that's not for me, and I'd like another title. So I read a sample for another book in a different series of hers. Nope. Same issues. I like bad boys, that's all fine, but this is something else, character flaws that should not be rewarded, and are an instant reading turnoff.
If my opinion of the characters and their chemistry is not clear at this point, I don't know what else to tell you. Bottom line - I don't suffer jerks or fools, and I will always root for the white knights. I'm so glad that I found Tessa Dare's books shortly after. Those reviews are a'comin.
K. Rating: 2/5