I don’t think I have the appropriate words to properly convey how disappointed and infuriated I was with this book. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I only got half way through it before I had to stop reading it else I might destroy my Kindle in anger. That was three months ago, and I finally calmed down enough to skim the last bit so I could write a review. My apologies in advance to fans of Ms. Milan, but I loathed this book.
Unraveled is the third book in the Turner Series, and the second in the series that I have read. I was looking forward to this book as Unclaimed piqued my interest in the series, even if I didn’t love that book. But the story was original enough, and the character of Smite was interesting enough in that book that I had high hopes for his story. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Smite Turner is a magistrate, known by many as Lord Justice for his strict adherence to the law and, well, justice. Miranda Darling has shown up in his court as a witness to a crime. He is convinced she is lying and makes it clear to her that he doesn’t want to see her in his court room again. Interesting premise, but it quickly delves in to the more familiar for a romance. She offers to be his mistress, he accepts. There are some more details, of course, but it’s been a bit since I read it, and it was horrible the first time, so I really don’t want to torment myself again. And of course there’s a Big Bad, the Patron, who shows up to make things difficult for Miranda.
I didn’t particularly care for Miranda, or Smite. Smite was very cold – he had a “sentimentality quota” for goodness sake, and exalted opinion of his own importance. He says, “If a baker makes an error, his bread fails to rise. If I do, men die.” Slow down there, hero, you’re a magistrate, not a general. I’m not saying he couldn’t ever be in that position, just that I don’t see it happening often enough that he needs to be that dramatic about it. Miranda felt too modern to me and was raised by actor’s – if you made a drinking game out of every time the author reminded you of this fact, you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning pretty quickly.
I also didn’t get the attraction between the two characters – their love scenes had no chemistry. Also, the way they behaved with each other – or more specifically, Miranda to Smite – after such a short time, seemed implausible. They hadn’t been together for long before she is rebuking him in front of his cousin Dalrymple (ridiculous name) for what she sees as Smite’s erroneous treatment of him. That was pretty much where I quit reading. Of course she understands that Dalrymple was simply trying to protect himself from being outed as a homosexual because she was raised around two “uncles” who were also homosexual. Upon their first meeting, she takes Dalrymple’s side when he finally explains to Smite why he started a rumor that Smite was gay. That’s right, Dalrymple accused Smite of being a homosexual – in a time when they could hang homosexuals – because he himself was afraid of being killed for being a homosexual. His own cousin! And Miranda takes his side against Smite! That’s it, I was done. There is no logic in that and it’s presented to us as if it makes complete sense. Smite has to offer an apology for being so cold all these years to a man who in effect tried to have him killed. I wanted him to walk out of the room and leave Miranda and Dalrymple to each other. But, alas, no.
I really want to like Courtney Milan. From the book blurbs it sounds like she has original ideas and I’m desperate for a new author to binge. I’m giving her one more chance; The Countess Conspiracy is going to be my next read, and if that doesn’t work out then I’ll just have to conclude that Ms. Milan is just not my cup of tea.