Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Review: Covet

Book 95 for the year was the latest JR Ward book, Covet. Its the story of a former special ops solider who is drafted to be the deciding factor in the war between Heaven's Angels and Hell's Demons and the first person he has to help in his quest to settle the score. If that makes no sense, I'm not surprised, because I was unclear on what exactly the concept meant at first too. Apparently, the prologue explains it, but me and my college education were confused anyway.

Basically, over the course of the series, Jim is supposed to come into contact with 7 people who are at a crossroads in their lives and help them make a decision, one way is the way Hell wants them to go and one way is the way Heaven wants them to go. Whichever side gets the most people to go their way is the winner and the other side has to get out of Dodge for good. Got it? Good, you're ahead of where I was halfway through the book.

Now, lets tackle that cover and in doing so, expose my biggest problem with this book. This is a romance novel. Generally, they have a male protagonist and a female protagonist and those two are the focus of the story. Ward, to be fair, has set precedent in her other series for having multiple protagonists and telling multiple stories, which is fine. However, as with Lover Enshrined, she doesn't, in my opinion, pull it off here, as the romance takes quite a backseat to the drama with Jim and his Angels and Demons issues.

The reason this is relevant to the cover is that the man on the cover is certainly intended to be Jim. Who rides a motorcycle like once in the whole book. And to me, if a character is so important to go on the cover, they ought to be the one getting a damn HEA in the book. Maybe I'm a romance novel purist, but this just didn't work for me in this book. Perhaps the problem is that this is the first book in a series and Ward had to do a lot of plot heavy lifting to establish the rules of the Demon/Angel agreement and establish Jim and what his journey is supposed to be.

I can't help but compare this book to the other first book in a series Ward wrote, Dark Lover, the first BDB book. In that book, Ward used the female protagonist's introduction to the vampire world to also introduce the reader, and it worked remarkably well. However, in Covet, Ward is introducing the world through a character outside the couple (Jim) and also trying to depict a believable romance for two people who often seem on the edges of the story due to the time she's spending on Jim. There's really just too much going on.

I know it sounds like I hated the book, but really, I enjoyed it for the most part, though certainly not as much as I have other Ward books. As usual, Ward's tone is quick and dirty and she pulls no punches, having her heroine be a prostitute and her hero (Vin, not Jim) be a businessman who is greedy and reckless with the environment. This book isn't as littered with street slang as her BDB series is and nobody has any extra H's in their names, so its got that going for it. I've kind of gotten used to the H's though, so what I do I know.

In short, it was alright, but I'll still pick up the second book when it comes out, as I find the concept interesting and hopefully, now that Ward has fleshed out the universe, the sequel will be easier to follow.

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