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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci

Sins of a Wicked Duke

Sins of a Wicked Duke - Sophie Jordan As I read this book, the following scene came to mind. Indluge me if you will as I describe it. Living room. AUTHOR and BOOK sit by the cozy fire.BOOK (in the most aww voice you can imagine): When I grow up, I want to be Jane Eyre !AUTHOR looks down with the weary exasperation of adults.AUTHOR: That's nice, dear, but that's a pretty big goal. Why don't we stick to the hot and heavy romance and leave classics to others?BOOK: But I CAN be like Jane Eyre ! With serious themes, like slut-shaming and feminism and sins of the fathers and individualism and all that stuff!AUTHOR pats BOOK on the head.AUTHOR: I seriously doubt that, dear. Now, why don't you go back to adding those adverbs to the nouns? You can't have enough description, you know?Exits. Since such domestic scenes are all too familiar with me, I sympathise with the book. Unfortunately, like most things, the idea falls victim to fear and lack of trust (by whom and in whom, I leave for you to decide).Fallon O'Rourke is a poor girl whose looks do her more bad than good. As a maid who owns little other than the clothes on her back, she is constantly treated badly and when her bosses sexually harass her, she always ends up getting sacked. After exiting yet another job (by kicking her employer's son in the balls, very nice touch there) and faced with the prospect of becoming a prostitute, she decides to cut her hair off and pose as a man. Dominic Hale is a Duke who employs Fallon as a footman, and he is a rake with a past. That's about as much there is to his character in this book.What bugs me is that this could have been great, but whenever the book makes an attempt to break from the mold, it was immediately beaten back into submission. As if it wanted to be great, but was constantly told: "NO! We don't need depth!"How bad does this get? Let me count the ways.The slut-shaming: Fallon is constantly harassed, but the blame is heaped on her because of her looks. Even Dominic, her supposed love interest, tells her: "It's your fault I'm constantly trying to fuck you, you're too hot." Poor Dominic, not being able to keep his hands to himself. It's truly tragic, and I hope all the money and position in society is enough to compensate for that. The gender-bender intrigue: It's lame, but not because it's silly. I can imagine something like that happening. What really bugs me is the way Dominic's attitude changes when he realizes Fallon is a woman. When she posed as Francis (or Frank), he listened to what she had to say, and appeared to care for her opinion. He actually comes close to respecting her. What happens when he reveals her charade? The respect goes straight out the window - all he wants to do is fuck her. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: She tries to enforce boundries and be her own person, but that doesn't work when half the time she's dreaming about his pecks and what he could do to her. Here's where Jane Eyre shone: She actually had serious principles and stuck to them even when it hurt. It's hard to sympathise with Fallon when the only thing stopping her from happiness is sheer stubborness. She doesn't act like she could live on her own if propriety demands it, but she would because of her pride.The Dark Past (TM): Fallon's father died because of the caprice of his employer, while Dominic had a servere governess. That's all there is to is, and I don't think it's spoiling to say it because nothing comes of it. In the end, these plot threads are there because otherwise there wouldn't be anything else in this book than sex and thinking of sex.I wish I liked this book better. I really do. But the only feeling I get from it is one of really lazy effort.