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Carissa Green Reads

I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.

Currently reading

Three Sisters, Three Queens (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels)
Philippa Gregory
A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
Czesław Miłosz
The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
Walter Kaufmann, Friedrich Nietzsche
A Kierkegaard Anthology
Robert W. Bretall
The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman

Out of balance

Guardian Angel - Julie Garwood

I realize it was published originally in 1990 - almost 25 years ago - but I believe the problems with this novel are not due to the era in which the text was written but actually are problems of structure. It's out of balance in its characterization and plotting.

 

At the beginning of the book, the female hero, Jade, is strong, cunning, brilliantly intelligent, and confident. When she meets the male hero, some rudimentary details of plot come out, but the plot points largely disappear as the two heroes get into terrific shouting matches (even when they are supposed to be in hiding) that symbolize falling in love and lust. There's a lot of lust. After much improbable this-and-that, when they are well and truly "in love," everything changes.

 

And by everything, I mean the female hero's personality. She is now whiny, insecure (in everything except her lust), afraid, and flighty. It's like the hero touched her with his magic penis and took away everything that made her awesome. I hated her by the middle of the book. But now the plot becomes super-important to the novel, and adventures ensue, in which the men of the story (lots of men in this story, very few women) take over. Jade plays the barest of parts, and only to move the plot along.

 

The last five pages wrap up the plot, jump months ahead (without even a line break between paragraphs) and tack on an epilogue of sorts. Total whiplash. In fact, the last chapter clocks in at a whopping 80 pages. Breaking that last chapter up into two or three parts and an epilogue, with perhaps a teaser for the next book in the series (just a couple of sentences of dialogue earlier in the book imply it is coming) would have been much more successful, heightened suspense, and helped the reader through. 

 

One last quibble: Two very excellent side characters - the sassy butler and the crazy pirate uncle - are desperately underused. Sad, because the two heroes are basically stock characters, so the supporting players are what differentiated the story, very often. 

 

Was this a bad book? No, but it missed being a great book because it was so out of balance, first being a love-lust story, then changing the female hero's personality, unnecessarily as the novel focuses on a convoluted, rushed plot that never even felt "important," even as lives and bodily harm were purportedly at risk. 

 

Take this one up at your own risk. -cg