I can sum up Kristen Ashley books in one sentence: she ain’t deep, but she sure is fun.
As a librarian, I meet a lot of people who think that all reading has to grow your mind. It doesn’t. Sometimes, it’s really nice to enjoy the literary equivalent of that Kardashian show. The difference is, old school KA has a delightfully fun plot. So, why just three stars for Rock Chick?
Rock Chick is not a good introduction to KA. Lee isn’t quite as much of an alpha as her many male leads and, quite frankly, there’s not as much sex. I wouldn’t call the majority of KA erotica, but it’s definitely heavy on the romance. The plot of this entire series is crazy and fun and maybe a little too goofy in comparison to the rest of her contemporary romantic suspense. Not only do the women refer to themselves as Rock Chicks, the men are The Hot Bunch. It’s eye roll inducing if you’re unfamiliar with the author and even if you are, it takes a bit of adjusting to accept alongside the almost supernatural draw the men have to their individual gals.
All that being said, this book is great fun, as is most of KA’s older stuff. The author has a signature writing style and characterization that many have failed to replicate. Admittedly, she rotates the same six characters with new names, but they’re just so much fun to read that you’re not so sure you care.
Review Word Count: 249
Series Reading Order
Rock Chick Rescue
Rock Chick Redemption
Rock Chick Renegade
Rock Chick Revenge
Rock Chick Reckoning
Rock Chick Regret
Rock Chick Revolution
I’m not sure what sounds more suffocating: sleeping in the ground or being a Carpathian’s lifemate.
Regardless, the unhealthy relationships depicted were not my reason for giving this a two star review. In fact, I was initially excited by a new series, especially one so long. Each book is told in the vein of J.R. Ward or Kresley Cole with a new couple as the focus and there are twenty-seven of them. Sadly, the first one, at least, was extremely disappointing.
While the plot was engaging enough, with its fairly original take on vampires that are more terrifying than dreamy, this book suffers most profoundly from poor writing. Drink every time someone says “do this thing for me” or Mikhail calls Raven “little one” and you’ll be dead by the midpoint. The redundancy was my biggest issue. Repeatedly, the reader is told that the Carpathians cannot survive eternity without their lifemates, or they’ll turn to darkness. We’re told in exactly the same way, multiple times, in every chapter. When the storyline FINALLY picks up, the repetitiveness STILL causes a significant lag. Furthermore, numerous errors were made in continuity, such as a character going from standing to sitting, to standing again. Ultimately, I was bored and saddened by the fact that this story had real potential and was so poorly executed. I’ll continue reading, under the hopes that the promising plot will thicken and the writing will improve exponentially.
Series Reading Order (sans novellas)
1. Dark Prince
2. Dark Desire
3. Dark Gold
4. Dark Magic
5. Dark Challenge
6. Dark Fire
7. Dark Dream
8. Dark Legend
9. Dark Guardian
10. Dark Symphony
11. Dark Descent
12. Dark Melody
13. Dark Destiny
14. Dark Hunger (manga)
15. Dark Secret
16. Dark Demon
17. Dark Celebration
18. Dark Possession
19. Dark Curse
20. Dark Slayer
21. Dark Peril
22. Dark Predator
23. Dark Storm
24. Dark Lycan
25. Dark Wolf
26. Dark Blood
27. Dark Ghost
The most important part of writing a book review is to consider a title solely within its own genre, taking care not to compare East of Eden to The Hunger Games… and Claimed still gets one star. Intended as campy sci fi erotica, this isn’t the next Star Trek, so much as the next Deepthroat Nine… and I was cool with that. The problem was that, even after pinpointing the author’s target, Claimed was still one of the worst things that has ever happened to me (of course, I recommend it as a Hate Read).
The tale opens with some vague back story, about how the Kindred saved Earth from the Scourge for the low, low price of our ladies. There exist three species of Kindred. Beast Kindred are larger, angrier, and have penises that swell up so they get stuck to their gals while they Forever Bond. Tranqs are basically alien vampires. Twins are exactly as kinky and incestuous as they sound. Alrighty. Let’s have some alien sexy times… or not.
While there were a few sex scenes in this erotica, it’s mostly just angst. The heroine is completely unwilling and hateful, despite having feelings for the hero. The hero is heartbroken that he’s unwanted. The household appliances are alien creatures… and that’s about it. We get just a glimpse of the villain, because he’s not sexy, but mostly we read about how miserable the leads are, which is not even hawt on a completely ridiculous alien spaceship.
This is a terrific angsty read. It has all the elements of a good plot-light, strictly romance story: rich alpha male repairs emotionally damaged girl with his luuuuuv.
While this is the beginning of a series, and not a bad series at that, Young definitely got things right the first time. Braden comes off as a real world alpha, with none of Kristen Ashely’s fireman holds or Christine Feehan’s puppeteering. He’s just the right mix of possessive, protective, and rich. He has his asshole moments, but Young never takes it so far as to completely turn off the reader. Jocelyn is a believably broken heroine. Her story never becomes so complicated as to induce eye rolling, as is common in the genre. She’s just sassy enough to counteract Braden’s overly domineering moments, but not enough to earn the title of bitch. Most importantly, I never felt like Young was reaching for excuses to keep the couple apart in this story. It ended when it needed to end and the romance wasn’t too cheesy, which is more than I can say for her series as a whole.
My only complaint, while trivial, is that Jocelyn/Joss has a confusingly similar name to Johanna/Jo in the sequel, Down London Road. I found myself thinking “EVERYONE IS NAMED JO!”
Have you ever bitten into a burger only to get one of those hard bits of cartilage? This book is like that.
Being a fan of alpha males, this series was recommended to me numerous times, before I finally decided to give it a try. This, however, was one of those books that actually took me multiple tries to even finish. Not only was the text bursting with Britishisms to the extent of rendering it nearly unreadable, but the characters were deplorable. Jesse was batcrap crazy, Ava a moronic masochist, and I’m pretty sure Kate was the worst best friend since Wormtail betrayed the Potters.
Worse even, than muddling through stories of people I hated and their “jumpers” and “posh flats”, were the stories themselves. This Man has literally no plot to move it forward, save for the rapey and psychotic romance. The sex is plentiful, but it’s so redundant and unappealing, with descriptions of “hot minty breath” that I was left dry as the Sahara, as well as bored. As a mystery, the Big Reveal is weak. As a romance, the relationship is abusive. As erotica, my vagina felt like sandpaper. I do, however, regularly recommend this one to those fans of The Hate Read.
I didn’t have as many issues with this book as some, but it wasn’t my favorite. Yeah, it was pretty rapey at times, but this was clearly a shoutout to the Khaleesi and Drogo, so I could adjust to the more… primitive sexuality (yeah, we’ll go with that).
What frustrated me the most, though, was actually the pretend language employed in this story. Several chapters included large blocks of gibberish text that were only explained at the END of the chapter, which was intensely distracting for a Kindle read. Smaller words weren’t always explained at all and I kept having to download the PDF dictionary. It was just unnecessarily difficult to read, for this reason.
Furthermore, while I could deal with the more brutal sexual themes, this was probably the book where KA is most guilty of victim blaming. After the hero does the most unthinkable and despicable things possible, we get to hear the heroine’s nosy and obnoxious best friend (what’s a KA novel without one of those?) blame HER for “holding a grudge” and causing HIM to abuse his men. That, coupled with all that rape and spousal abuse, was just a bit too much for me.