Sigh. Shitkickers, again.
I know I said I wanted - no, needed - a break from J.R. Ward after struggling to finish Butch and Marissa's story in the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series. But after reading Gargoyle, I needed something less intense to clean my reading palette, something that wouldn't suck my emotional well dry. I figured, since Covet was the first of a new series by Ward, I would be taken back to her earlier writing, when I fell hard for Wrath and Dark Lover became one of my favourite books of 2009.
Unfortunately, Covet reads just like the BDB series, right down to the dialogue and character descriptions. (There's actually even a cameo appearance from Phury...) I have trouble believing business-man Vin (one of several protagonists in the book) would show up in an Armani suit driving a hot car and say "what's doing?" - especially since "fallen angel" Jim says exactly the same thing.
Maybe that's why I had a hard time connecting with any of the men in the book. There is little variation of author voice between characters, and often I needed to recheck point of view to determine through which character's eyes I should be viewing the scene. Most of them are told through Jim - and as a potential love interest for me, the reader, he was just "eh." I'd be hard pressed to tell you a singe detail about him - except, of course, that he wears shitkickers. The cover art led me in a way different direction...
Marie-Therese, the book's main love interest, has a little more meat to her. Despite unfortunate circumstances - or perhaps in spite of them - she doesn't come across as whiny and needy. Her back story is compelling - but given everything going on in the book, not enough space is given to really developing her character and I was left with too many questions.
Covet leaves the reader with many loose ends, and not just because the book is the first in a series. The "bad guy"(a phantom stalker of sorts) kind of drifts off into the sunset after an encounter with the "bad girl" and I'm not certain how it all ties together. Admittedly, that could be because I'd long ago lost interest in making sense of the book and was simply going through the motions of finishing it.
The thing is, the concept, with some tweaks, is solid (and a bit Supernatural-ish, which is fabulous) and there are snippets of really unique, good writing. Though this novel is riddled with cliches, there are some great phrases that pop from the page - and are reminiscent of one of the reasons Ward vaulted to the NY Times Bestseller list with her early BDB books.
For those looking for Ward's trademark sex scenes, they're in there, but you'll have to wade through some other stuff to get to them. Personally, though, the characters lacked the chemistry I needed to feel the heat between them, and I kind of skimmed through the intimacy - which isn't like me at all.
If you're looking for romance in its truest sense, you won't find it in Covet.
Bummer. I had high expectations.