Monday, April 24, 2006

REVIEWBALL: Seduced By Crimson, Jade Lee

Seduced By Crimson
Jade Lee
Dorchester Love Spell imprint
February 28, 2006
ISBN 0505526727

Stephanie: Take one very determined Druid surfer. Add one Cambodian healer. Give them the same enemy – demons. Sounds like just another day in the life of Crimson City dwellers, doesn’t it? Not so much. Jade Lee gives her Crimson City offering a new twist. Both characters think one of them has to die to defeat the demons or at least close the newest portal to the demon world, Orcus.

Xiao Fei watched all of her sister Phoenix Tears die in an attempt to close a demon gate 20 years earlier. Patrick Lewis was moments too late to his own death by demon party, but his parents and siblings were the guests of honor. His dying mother tells him to find the Phoenix Tear or all hell will break loose – literally.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. Lee uses some verboten romance formulas such as attempted forced sex which may turn some readers away from her writing. She uses it in a way to move the story and the connection between the two “we can’t be lovers” lovers so I did not see it in a negative way.

Cai: And yet, this was one of my biggest beefs with the story. I don’t like forced sex scenes. Never have. That’s why I stopped reading romance novels for a long period of time – you remember the ones I’m talking about? The ‘barbarian’ at the gate who takes the daughter of the house much against her will to some undisclosed location where he forces her to have sex with him and she eventually enjoys it so much that she falls in love with him…yeah. Didn’t work for me 20 years ago, doesn’t work for me now. I normally avoid books and/or movies with rape and or forced sex scenes. In Seduced by Crimson, Patrick is a likeable enough guy – until he ties the heroine up and forces sex on her. Yeah, yeah, he’s doing it to “save the world” – right. Okay. Still doesn’t work for me.

Xiao TELLS him repeatedly that he’s raping her and yet…eventually she enjoys it? She’s so overcome by passion that she enjoys being raped and made to bleed? I don’t think so, buckaroo.

Stephanie: Both characters learn as they go. Xiao learns that the ability to heal has to be freely accepted by those she is healing or more harm than good will come of it. Patrick realizes that his role as Draig-Uisge is larger than he knew. Xiao and Patrick have to trust what they fear most – each other.

I recommend this book with this caveat. You need to have read the others in the series to get the full picture. Lee’s demons are only one part of the demonic world. Characters from past books put in cameos that are made sweeter if you understand who and what they are. Definitely a bleacher cheer from me!

Cai: The entire concept of a Phoenix Tear is astounding, amazing and a fabulous plot device. The idea of an “enforcer” in a Druidic community is excellent! Patrick and Xiao have their own internal demons and yet they have to come together to get ride of the real demons who are slowly and methodically taking over Crimson City. Xiao is convinced that she will die – how noble. Patrick is convinced that sex and just a “little” blood can close the gate between the two worlds – yeah, “let’s do it for the world, babe.” May I just say YUCK.

I’ve enjoyed the majority of the Crimson City series – I really liked Keeli and Michael’s story in A Taste of Crimson. This one just doesn’t do it for me. At all. I have read Crimson Rogue, and Liz managed to draw me in all over again. I LOVE Crimson Rogue and (a little inside scoop, here, folks) look forward to the upcoming Crimson City Anthology – I know that Patti O’Shea is writing one story for the anthology – due out sometime in 2007.

This one gets a half-hearted wave of the pom-pom from me – no cheer – and yet…because of the CONCEPT of the novel – one woman’s sacrifice at the hands of the man who does come to care for her – I can’t quite bring myself to give it a Jeer.

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