Friday Book Review – A Rogue By Any Other Name

No cover because I’m still sick.

When I read this book, the bar for pleasing me was set really high. Before I even picked it up, I had been trying to actually finish reading Map of Time, which is a 600 page waste of time. Once upon a time, I had slogged through 400 pages, but gave up when the author managed to make the idea of HG WELLS AS A BADASS TIMETRAVELLER BORING. Then I was stupid enough to try to read Wicked again. This all put me in such a foul mood that I hated everything I tried to read afterwards.

It was so bad that I nearly dropped A Rogue By Any Other Name around Chapter Three. I gave it three stars on Goodreads, and the feels fair. The book didn’t knock my socks off, but it also did not deserve my wretched mood. Anyway, down to brass tacks.

I never read oldschool romance. I don’t like alpha heroes. I do understand the distinction between alpha heroes and alpholes, but I don’t like either of them. If a guy is a jerk, or overly aggressive, my first reaction is revulsion. Jealousy from either side of a relationship will turn me off a story so fast I effing SPIN. I hate jealousy and childishness.

And it doesn’t get better when they expound their sad backstories. Someone once told me, “Just because someone was abused doesn’t mean he can’t be an asshole.” I don’t experience a forgiving rush of, “Oh I see!” when they reveal their stupid reasons for acting like buttheads.

I remember being bang on Bourne’s side when his POV started the book. He lost his family land and basically everything but his shirt to a cheating older man in a game of vignt-et-un. About nine years later, he’s built up a gambling empire with his buddies and finds out that the cheat lost the land to someone else, and that person has subsequently made them part of his own daughter’s dowry.

But then when the daughter, Penelope, was introduced, I started to feel the wear. There’s not as much going on in the scene, and her life is much more tedious (for a reason, but come on.) I liked that she was the poor girl suffering from the fallout of someone else’s happy ending (Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart). However, her first scene really dragged on. I’ve read other scenese like it, where a plot item is introduced, and then people repeat themselves in a boring argument until you hate all of them. It made me wish I was reading Pride and Prejudice again–the mother was an insufferable harpy, her youngest sister is hateful, and her father would rather they all shut the eff up.

In my opinion, the premise kicks off to a rocky start. Each character’s desire is perfectly clear. Bourne wants his estate back. Penelope wants to marry someone who loves her. We also know that they were childhood friends, and that Penelope considers him the kind of man she’s always wanted to marry. (if not the man exactly) The things that stand in their way are either not readily enough apparent, or too contrived to justify Bourne abducting her.

The abduction is also kind of dumb. She just blunders across his path and he’s like, “Oh this are a GAERT IDEA. Snatch!”

But then, this was still when I was pissed off at every book I opened. It might not actually be that bad.

I like romances with marriages of convenience. (one of my favourites is To Seduce A Sinner) I think I would have liked Rogue better if there hadn’t been so much struggle and scandal over the marriage, but that’s just me. I love when marriage is not just a reward at the end of the bicker. Honestly, it made sense for them not be in love yet when they marry, but it didn’t make sense for them to fart around like they’re still single. Even in a marriage of conveniences, the dynamic changes.

It picked up once I got past that first awkward meeting that seems to be requisite of alphas. One thing Bourne has going for him as an alpha hero is that he’s not as freakishly inconsistent as many others. When he threatens to ruin Penelope at their first meeting, it is because he is a self-admitted user, and his goals had already been made known to the reader.

Once I got over my bad mood and my small hangups with the beginning, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t get a lot of days to myself, and I was perfectly happy to spend one reading it. Bourne had my sympathy pretty much of the time, and Penelope was AWESOME, you guys.

I will definitely read the sequel, since I liked what I saw of Philippa and Cross. Maybe I’ll also go back and read Eleven Scandals, too.

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