Thursday, 30 September 2010

DIK Reading Challenge - The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

My DIK reading challenge pick for September is The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. This was one of Sula's books at DIK. I'd already read the previous two books in the trilogy - The Raven Prince and The Leopard Prince - with the second being my favourite. And I now know that the third book is my least favourite of the three.

The Serpent Prince tells the tale of Viscount Simon Iddesleigh, discovered by Lucy Craddock Hayes after he has been nearly beaten to death, robbed, stripped naked and left to die in a ditch. Whilst he recuperates from his ordeal the two of them become close and eventually marry. But Simon has a dark side and is on a quest for vengeance that will put Lucy in danger.

The main problem I had with the story is the character of Lucy. She was just too perfect. She didn't seem to have any flaws and everybody loved her. I thought the angel (Lucy) and devil (Simon) imagery was slightly overdone. It was really hammered home that she is this angelic paragon.

I think perhaps my favourite scene featuring Lucy is one where she's visiting her friend Patricia. And unfortunately it's her friend that has the best lines.
"Why don't you do what I do and think about hats or shoes while he talks?"
I found myself wishing that we could slip into Patricia's head for part of the story instead of Lucy's, which is perhaps not what you should be thinking about the heroine. I don't really have too much else to say about Lucy.

Simon on the other hand was a fascinating character. It would have been easy for Elizabeth Hoyt to have him give up his quest for vengeance once he was married. But she doesn't do that. It said so much about the character. He wants to be the man that Lucy wants him to be, but he cannot let go of the need to duel the men who brought about his brothers death. Even as he knows it is destroying him, he carries on the path he has set for himself.

He also has one of my favourite qualities in a protagonist.
"I see." Simon knew he sounded irritated. It was becoming a habit with Christian to show up unexpectedly, rather like a case of the clap.
Yes he is incredibly sarcastic.

I must mention briefly one of my favourite scenes which takes place in a coffee shop where Simon has met up with Edward (Raven) and Harry (Leopard) from the previous books in the series. It has an almost farcical quality about it, just a nice change of pace.

I do like how in each of the stories the fairytale informs the reader on a different level about what the story is telling us. Simon is telling the tale of The Serpent Prince to Lucy, she suspects that he is making it up as he goes along and in a way it's like he's trying to tell her about the man he is inside. It was also nice how a variation of the scorpion and the fox tale was incorporated into the story - this time with a frog and a snake. It gives the story added depth.

I think if I had read this story first instead of The Raven Prince it wouldn't have made me want to read the rest of the trilogy. So I'm glad that this is the third book and not the first. I would recommend the trilogy as a whole, though the books are more loosely connected by theme rather than by an over-riding story arc. And I would recommend reading this book to read Simon's story.


Marg said...

I liked this book, but really liked the first two better. I reread scenes out of the second on quite regularly.

LesleyW said...

Marg - the second book is my favourite too.