Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unraveled, by Courtney Milan

Of course, the instant I started wading through a library book I wasn't quite in the mood for, Unraveled came out. I bought it right away - I was a bit floored that it was only $3.99, actually - and then I held out for a grand total of six hours before I gave up, and set aside the library book to om nom nom the new acquisition.

Milan writes such intelligent romances - the characters are all very believable; the setting feels well-researched, and not like a pretty costume party; there's almost never any eye-rolling melodramatic bullshit.

Although, that said: I totally cracked up when Smite was having a heart-to-heart with his brother about how his various psychological Issues were a driving force in his goal of standing up for the oppressed, and Smite says, "...I wish that this quest had not come to me." Cracked! Up!

I was just re-reading Julia Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton, actually, where there's a similar in-joke:
Lady Danbury shushed him with a wave of her hand. "How many great mysteries are there in life, really?"
No one answered, so Colin guessed, "Forty-two?"
I never noticed that one before! I'm still a little embarrassed about publicly admitting to reading and enjoying romances (omg, I think my father-in-law is reading this blog), so it makes me feel more secure with the genre, to see sf/f references from the two romance authors I'd already decided were my favorites.

Unraveled might stand alone, but I'd recommend reading Unveiled and Unclaimed first. The trilogy centers around the three sons of a madwoman, who was both overzealously righteous in her community and also abusive to her children. She's long dead, but her influence remains. The eldest son (Ash, in Unveiled) left home to make their fortune, trying to rescue his brothers financially; the youngest son (Mark, in Unclaimed) escaped their mother's wrath but inherited her passion for justice, and fears having inherited her wildness too; the middle son (Smite, in Unraveled) was the one to bear the brunt of the abuse, and carries some serious psychological scars. I enjoyed Smite's story much more for having seen hints of it through his brothers' perspectives first. I was much more prepared for the absolute crazysauce of their mother at her worst, that way.

I liked Miranda, but could not ever see myself reacting to Smite's issues in the same way she does. She's much stronger in the face of dealing with someone else's emotional baggage than I could be. I don't think I fully understand her yet - my mental model of her as I began the book was me-ish, and that is clearly not at all accurate. Obviously, will need to re-read at some point!

Edited to add: you can buy a DRM-free copy of this e-book at Smashwords, AllRomance Ebooks, or Diesel E-books.

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