I thought there was so much I was going to enjoy about this book. The notion of classic fairy tales being reworked with additional paranormal elements, in this case, vampires, seemed like it should be a winning combination. Unfortunately, I lost it at the phrase “stone-hard erection” and was unable to take the book seriously after that. I know sex scenes can be difficult to navigate, trying to tread that fine line between what is sexy and what is unintentionally hilarious, but I spent most of this book giggling like a mad schoolgirl at the sex scenes. He just kept leveling up. Or when that wasn’t happening, I was turning my nook sideways wondering exactly how that was supposed to be working from a biological perspective. That may have been a case of alternating between actual terms and purple prose that sometimes made it difficult to figure out who was touching who where. Also, he kissed her ‘there.’ Although in this case it was perfectly clear where ‘there’ was, I still had flashbacks to 50 Shades. There was another disturbing part where she knows a certain biological even is about to happen that she shouldn’t know considering she was a virgin.
Her virginity was another issue that made me want to give up on this book early on. As always, there was another woman who had known the hero in her youth and the two of them had had a sexual relationship. What ended up happening was between the two possible love interests for the hero, the one was a virgin, and the other one was looked down upon not only be the characters but by the text itself for being sexually active. This virgin/whore dichotomy in literature, especially romance literature, has got to stop, because all it does is encourage the idea that women should be pitted against each other, and that the level of a woman’s sexuality defines her entire character.
Also, Dimitri, having sex with a man who is not her true love does not “corrupt her” like you so eloquently put it. Having sex with someone does not change a woman’s personality, regardless of whether it’s her true love or a random stranger she just met on the street. There is not a magic switch inside the vagina that alters everything about a person just because the wrong penis went up it.
The plotline of the cursed Egyptian amulet didn’t really add anything to the story, as it never actually needed to be resolved and just seemed like an additional excuse to cause the main characters angst. And to set up the sequel. Because, as Dimitri pointed out towards the end of the book, a revelation that took him far too long to come to, the Egyptian curse was nullified by the fact that he was already dead. Don’t even get me started on the resolution on the Jack the Ripper plot line.
Not all hope is lost. There is excellent research into Romanian culture, history, and folklore that was interesting enough to warrant the second star. And most of the problems I addressed above are problems with the society that produced the book.