Thursday, 22 January 2009
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
This review is part of the 2009 TBR challenge, and the option for January was to read a category. Now I'm not a big category romance reader, haven't really read them since my teens / early twenties. But luckily I do like Linda Howard and a while ago she wrote a Silhouette Nocturne called Raintree:Inferno the first in a trilogy of books about the Raintree/Ansara feud.
Having read this I kind of remember why I stopped reading categories, it's a bit like eating candy floss you can stuff yourself silly at the time but it doesn't really fill you up. The tendency toward melodrama got a little wearing, but they do have to pack a lot of plot into a smaller number of pages. Having said that, whilst I struggled to get into it, something about it kept me compulsively reading to the end.
The basics of the story are this. Two hundred years ago the Raintree clan nearly wiped out the Ansara clan because of their treachery. Now it's payback time and the Ansara's first target is Dranir of the Raintree clan - Dante Raintree. Trapped in a fire with Lorna Clay and unsure of whether or not she is who she claims to be, when they survive he takes her with him rather than risk having a possible Ansara assassin on the loose. Lorna knows nothing of the Ansara and the Raintree, but she's about to get a crash course introduction.
It's an interesting premise but there is a heck of a lot of info-dumping in the beginning. Whilst I can accept that this book doesn't just have to set itself up but also the next two books in the trilogy, I would have liked this to be a little more seamless than it was.
Like I said once I'd got into this I wanted to know how it ended and Linda Howard can write some of the hottest love scenes around. This is one of the reasons that of all the categories I read, the one's that I've kept have been Linda Howard's.
However I had some problems.
Longterm readers of the blog may remember the problem I have with the word 'literally'. It's something of a bugbear of mine. I think the last time I had a severe complaining session about it was after reading one of the Sunny novels. Well 'literally' crops up nine times in this story, which is about eight times too many for me. :Sigh:
Also to begin with Dante uses mind control on Lorna. If he tells her she can't move or speak then she can do neither until he gives her permission to do so again. This goes on for a good portion of the book and whilst it's a beyond alpha thing to do - along the lines of I'm only doing it for your own good and I know better - it was also creepy. (Anyone seen the latest season of Heroes - yep I'm thinking of the Puppet Master). It's just not a very attractive quality in a hero.
I liked that sunshine gives him an almost sexual high. (Being a Farscape fan, this reminded me slightly of Zhaan's photogasms.)
Lorna is a much better heroine, sparky and not afraid to stand up for herself, even in the bizarre circumstances she finds herself. They are something of a stereotype - he the 'uncivilized warlord' and she the 'victorian maiden'.
Unfortunately the story ends on a cliffhanger, and the relationship between them felt a little rushed. It's clear that the story overall will be resolved in the subsequent books of the trilogy. While Raintree: Inferno hasn't convinced me that I'm missing anything by not reading categories, I am going to finish the three books because it's left me wanting to know what happens next.