Saturday, October 21, 2006

Loretta Chase's Scoundrels

As I promised yesterday, here is my review of the much acclaimed Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. In addition to it, I'll add in a bonus: The Last Hellion, that I went to look for on Laura's recommendation and luckily was able to find at the library :D

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase: 4.5/5

Hmm, a lot of you already know the story and if not, you can always ask Kristie and Mailyn, I'm sure they'll be delighted to tell you :D or more like urge you to go read the book :D But then, I did promise you a review right?

So Sebastian Ballister is the 4th Marquess of Dain and was born late into his father's life. In fact, it is only after the 3rd Marquess of Dain lost his wife and heirs that he had to marry again to produce an heir, but also to get some money. Unfortunately for Sebastian, he wasn't the cutest child ever and didn't fit the Ballister's beauty standard and in addition, his mother ran away and so, the child was exiled away. Thus, Sebastian grew up thinking that he was a monster, that he was ugly, unlovable and repugnant.

As a result, Dain doesn't believe in love and is very cynic and tortured. He has his own views on the world and his own dictionnary of definitions... Then enters Jessica Trent who's come to rescue her little brother, Bertie Trent, from Dain's clutches. Attractions flared between the two and misunderstandings ensued. Basically, Jess' got her reputation ruined by Dain and after much quarrels, Dain marries Jess. Little by little, Dain learns what love is, but the return of his bastard son in his life might just have ruined all of Jess' efforts, as Dain sees himself (the monster) in what he calls, his Demon Seed.

So where to start? All right, the characters. Wow... I think that this book is really well-written and has a solit plot, but it really wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for the characters. Dain is tortured indeed and he's a bad boy too... but what I like the most about him is that he's not a bad boy wannabe... What I mean is that you know, he doesn't do good deeds behind people's back and doesn't maintain a bad reputation for a facade. He doesn't show a gentle side of him at all (well except when it comes to their first sexual encounter, but that's different). I don't think he has affection to anyone and that's because he doesn't understand nor believe that he can be loved like any other person... I liked it when he was in the bath and he just learnt that his wife was attracted to him and that she liked him... He was all like: Here are the possible reasons she might like me, a) she has bad eyesight, b) she's not sane, c) etc... Later, in Last Hellion, although you see that he's softened, he hasn't changed that much either and I'm like good... I'm getting a bit tired of all those reformed rakes. What about Jessica? Well wow, the girl's tough but not bitchy. She also has lots of guts :D She knows what she wants, she knows what she likes, basically and she's determined to get it. You have to respect a woman like her. I enjoy seeing her shoot her husband (actually, before the marriage).

So anyhow, I thought it was a good book, but a little something was missing. It's like yes, I could read the book and enjoy it, but it didn't seem I could get involved in it. I don't know how to explain this feeling... which is why the book didn't get a perfect grade. Highly recommended book indeed :D

The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase: 3.5/5

The Last Hellion is the story of Duke of Ainswood, Vere Mallory, that you get to meet in Lord of Scoundrels. Surprisingly, Vere wasn't born as the heir to the title, but instead inherited it after his uncle, all his cousins and the 9 year old Robin (current Duke) died. It's a title he never thought he get, but he got it and isn't too happy. In the past 10 years, so many of his family have died, but for Vere, Charlie (Robin's father and Vere's fav. cousin) and Robin's deaths were the hardest on him because he felt like they were deserting him. So instead of setting a good example as a duke, Vere sinks even lower in debauchery...

Then he meets Lydia Grenville who is a journalist for Argus and whose articles on prostitution has made lots of ennemies. Basically, Lydia's mother died when Lydia was much younger, but from her diary, Lydia learns that her mother used to be a Lady, a Ballister actually. Although she doesn't try to re-contact the Ballister, Lydia has moved nonetheless to London to get a better life.

Anyway, I know it's not that clear, but Lydia and Vere's story is actually quite complicated. Basically, I didn't like it as much because a lot was going on and I thought the story didn't really focus enough on the couple. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, where we saw that Vere was unhappy at inheriting the title and I thought the book would focus more on his anguish... but instead, it focus much more on the demantling of a prostitution ring.

So what I liked: Vere's character, the appearances of Dain, his wife and Bertie Trent. Surprisingly, I actually quite enjoyed Bertie. In LoS, he appeared immature and quite pompus, trying to show Dain that he was a peer, a scoundrel. In this book, well he doesn't sound so immature. Right, he's not the brightest light, but he's a good fellow. It's actually funny that everyone's looking down on him, esp. Dain and his comments.

What I liked less: Lydia annoyed me a bit. You know, she's one of those heroine that is so tough and independant that she doesn't need a man's help. I also thought that she judged ppl a bit too rapidly.

Not a bad book all in all, but it can't compare to LoS... and if LoS was missing the little zing, The Last Hellion didn't find it either.

I'm actually not a fan of regency... I mean, I'll read it, but I still prefer contemporaries and paranormal... However, Loretta Chase's romance seems to be less fluffy as the others and actually, (don't throw stone at me for saying this) but almost dry. It's quite direct and to the fact. Not a bad thing, but different and that's a nice change in pace.


  1. I love, love, love this book and was lucky enough to find it at a UBS today. Dumb luck, really. I'm glad you liked this one ~ that's saying a lot since you normally don't go for these types of books. Aren't Dain and Jess just awesome?

  2. I'm glad you liked LOS so much. 'Tis a wonderful book isn't it? I just love the way Dain comes across as so tough and hard but on the inside he is so insecure about himself. She does such a wonderful job with the internal Dain. And I loved the way that Jessica manages him. Now you can see why this one always comes so close to the top on all time favourite polls. I think it's a wonderful thing that so many new readers are discovering the wonderful books from years ago such as this one and DOY!

  3. I have not read this one, I will have to keep and eye out for it to check out.

  4. Devonna - you were really lucky to find it at the UBS... as for me, I'm going to wait for the re-print to get a copy... let's wait and laugh at the cover :P as for Dain and Jess, they are awesome :D

    Kristie - yeah, I liked it :D You know, as I said, it's nice that he's so tough and hard, and not a golden heart in secret. Yeah, he's really insecure, but it's pretty normal given his upbringing.

    Kris - You'll have to be on the look-out for this one :D Wish you good luck to find it.

  5. Great reviews Nath. I liked LoS a lot too and even like Teh Last Hellion quite a bit. However, now, if you like Chase, try Captives of the Night :-)

    There is just a different feel to her earlier books. A bit more darkness, a bit less of the neatly packaged and somewhat predictible regency romance.

    Anyway, I'm bossy, so you can ignore me.

    I like you new template too. Everyone seems to be redecorating.

  6. You're right that the characters are what make LoS such a great book. The plot is fine, but Jessica and Dain are AWESOME!

    I haven't read Last Hellion yet, but I want to. It's kind of nice to read a tepid review, because then I won't go into it with such high expectations and maybe it won't disappoint me. Does that make sense?!

  7. Yay!!!! At least you didn't hate them. We'd never throw stones at you but I am glad that you didn't hate them! One of my all time faves. Oh and dude no worries on the template. You don't have to ask me! :-)

    Love the new look. I love blue as well!!!

  8. Laura - All right Laura, I'll try finding Captives of the Night :D Only because you recommend it tho :P I agree with you tho, a bit of darkness in it which makes it different... stand out. As I say, it isn't as fluffy as the other historicals I've read :P

    And thanx for the template comments... yeah, everyone's changing, that's why it screamed to me to change too :D

    Jennie - I mean, the plot isn't that out of the ordinary in LoS (well except Jess does shoot Dain :P that was quite a surprise), but as I said, what makes it really stand out are the characters.

    as for the Last Hellion, yes it does make sense... I feel the same :) and I guess that's why a lot of ppl actually don't read reviews of the books they want to read... but I can't help myself :D

    Mailyn - Yeah, I didn't hate the book :D it would actually be cool if Mrs. Chase would right a contemporary romance with them :)

    As for the template, well it would have been better to ask after all :D So I'm glad you don't mind :P (so when you first saw it, did you find it familiar?)

    Blue rocks!

  9. I loved LOS also but like you there was something twitching at me. I finally came to the conclusion that Dain made such a complete transformation that I didn't recognize him as the character that had started the book. It felt like the book had two halves - the time before he married and the time after he married.

    That's why Mr. Impossible beats this book for me. There were no character changes that didn't work.

    Oh and the template looks great!! Thanks for not using BLACK - I'm telling you, I'm starting to get a headache from reading dark blogs. I'm now highlighting the text so I can read it.


  10. Hello Cindy,

    hmm... I think I have to disagree a bit with you about Dain's transformation. I don't think that Dain changed that much after his marriage... I mean, it's not like suddenly, he got a heart of gold. He still calls his son Demon Seed (which I have to say, is not the most dearing nickname) and his attitude towards the staff and brother-in-law is still the same. I guess yes, he does soften, but only with Jess and Dominick. Mr. Impossible right... hmm, gonna have to look out for this one.

    As for the template, yeah, no black for me :D I know that it's hard to read and I hate highlighting to read :P

  11. I didn't recognize it but I'm dumb like that. LOL.

    I liked that Dain stayed somewhat of an asshole after the marriage. I'm evvvil!

  12. Mailyn - you're not dumb :D It's just that I changed it just enough so it would be recognizable :P As for Dain, yeah. I'm a bit tired of the bad boy turn softie.

  13. Cindy - I got Mr. Impossible :D