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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: Desire Untamed

Title: Desire Untamed
Author: Pamela Palmer
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Paranormal Romance

50 words or less: Feral Warriors are shapeshifters who need a Radiant to keep their power batteries charged. Kara MacAllister is the new Radiant, but she doesn't know it. Lyon's going to get her to understand and go along with the plan...right? Ha ha WRONG.

Well, you win some and you lose some, and my first reaction upon finishing Desire Untamed was that I, and women everywhere for that matter, definitely lost.

This book had such potential! I'll admit, the similarities to the Black Dagger Brotherhood books jumped right out at me, except change vampires to shapeshifters, but not in a bad way! I was okay with all of that. I was okay with Kara finding out that not only is her mom not her mom and that she's not really human, but that she has some gigantic and heretofore completely unknown cosmic destiny to fulfill- that's a pretty common element in paranormal romance and one that doesn't usually bother me. I was even okay with the spontaneous violence that seemed to erupt at Feral House on a near constant basis (so maybe it wasn't all that spontaneous.)

What I was not okay with, and what I will never, ever be okay with, was the horrific treatment Kara received at the hands of Lyon (the "hero") and the other characters in the book. Lyon is dishonest with Kara basically from the word go. He tells half-truths, decides for himself what Kara does and doesn't need to know about her situation, which by the way, she wouldn't have to worry about at all except for him and his bungling, and then has the nerve to go all brooding when his bad judgment comes back to bite him. And meanwhile, Kara's been kidnapped from her childhood home and her life (literally- Lyon renders her unconscious and tries to abscond with her in the back of his car- ick!,) forced to watch her terminally ill mother die in front of her, is carted off to some random location and told "you'll like it once you get used to it," and when Lyon finally gets around to telling her stuff (like that she's supposed to have sex with her "mate" in front of the other eight members of the group, but don't worry because they won't be looking) she's chastised for not wanting to help these people! By one of the only other female characters no less! When she dares to voice some kind of objection to the ridiculous rules and rituals being spun out all around her, all she gets as a response is "well you're human, of course you don't understand." In the end, she does fulfill this giant cosmic promise because she feels some deep-seated sense of obligation to these creeps. Hello, Stockholm Syndrome.

Seriously people, you can barely go five pages in this book without a female (specifically Kara) being brutalized in some way. Why is that acceptable? This book reminded me of the real bodice-rippers of days of yore that are the stuff of jokes, memes and legends on other blogs now. It would appear that stuff like this never truly goes out of style, and just so we're clear, I don't buy into the "well the characters are part animal so sometimes they act like animals" line of logic one bit.

Bottom line: victimization is not cool and it is not sexy. It does not make for interesting story lines and it does not make for gripping drama. I can safely say that I won't be reading any more books in this series. There are plenty of paranormal romances out there that don't debase the characters and don't treat them like crap, so I think I'll stick to reading those.

Overall Grade: F

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