Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book 51 - Fantasy in Death

I did everything wrong when I started Book #37 in the In Death series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts).

A copy of Crescendo, the follow-up to Becca Fitzpatrick's NY Times Bestselling YA novel, Hush, Hush was sitting at the top of my TBR pile - and I'm dying to read more about (heart) Patch. I joined NetGalley and received a couple of ARCs that quickly wiggled their way to the middle of the TBR stack. I signed up for NaNo and reconnected with the protagonist in my WIP - two separate projects. And I stocked up on used books at the Edmonton Public Library  sale last weekend.

Not very conducive to immersing myself in a world I've loved since the first book in this series, Naked in Death.

Nora Roberts hit pay dirt when she created tough cop Eve Dallas and her hunky husband, Roarke. I'm in awe of her ability to continue each character's growth while working through an often complex plot. To say I idolize Nora would be an understatement on many levels.

Yet, something about the story of Fantasy in Death didn't quite work for me. The concept is wonderful -- advanced technology, high stakes, and four friends with just as much motive for success as for the kind of competitiveness that can destroy even the strongest relationship bonds. The opening scene, with its "tasteful decapitation," is textbook.

But things kind of drag on from there. Not in a pacing sense, because it's very rare with a Nora Roberts book that I'm not compelled to turn the page. It's just that the reader can almost guess the who, what, where and why in the first few pages of the novel, and it takes Eve - whom I respect and admire tremednously - another 300-ish pages to figure it out.

And, if I'm being honest, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the resolution. Throughout the novel, I kept hoping my instinct was wrong and there would be a less "fantastical" solution to the murders. I'm not afraid to suspend my disbelief, but I didn't quite get it. I admit, this could be a result of my overly-distracted mind, coupled with the fact that I'm not really a "gamer."

As well, there were a couple of instances where Roarke just felt...wrong. I've sustained a mostly healthy obsession with him for 37 books, so I feel quite qualified to note that I think Nora took him off the familiar path a bit in this book, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

That said, I'll read the next In Death book, and the one after that, and sometimes, when I'm needing a kick in the writing-craft-pants, I'll re-read my favourites. Because at the end of the day, very few authors can match Nora's seemingly effortless skill and awe-inspiring productivity.

The Book In My Bag Today: Crescendo, Becca Fitzpatrick


  1. I know what you mean, Dawn. There are a couple of In Death books I found to be way to technical and drawn out.
    GASP! Roarke felt wrong?? With a perfect body like that? Wash your mouth out with soap, girlie.
    Or have a drink. You're losing your senses.
    Just kidding.. again I know what you mean. Keep the faith,mmmkay?

  2. JAMIE - did you read Fantasy in Death? While I agree Roarke is virtually flawless, he lost patience in a couple of spots that didn't quite feel in character with me. That said, I'd be happy to get together, down a few drinks, and debate...er discuss...

  3. Haven't read these- although I have heard of Nora Roberts (ofcourse). thanks for the honest review!

  4. CREEPY - if you start, begin with the first book in the series. It's worth it :-) Have you started Wicked Lovely yet?

  5. Oh, my, that's a lot of reading you have. My to-be-read pile is starting to stress me out. Got a few at SiWC and my friends books are all dropping so I have copies of their books and somehow I plan to ask for books for Christmas!

  6. I do understand about those books we look forward to, but just don't quite live up to expectations. How about a suggestion? Bill Martin ... City of Dreams. :-) Or his Back Bay might be better if you haven't been introduced to Peter Fallon yet.

  7. I don't think I'd enjoy this series though I am impressed that Nora has written so many.