I'll start this review with a warning: know what you're getting yourself into before you decide to read this book.
I'm...not exactly a fan of the smut genre, but I don't mind it so much. I know what to expect from a book like this. But if you wander into it blindly...well, you'll read three chapters into the book and try to bleach your eyes out to remove the mental images.
I'm 50-50 as to whether or not I really minded this book. The writing itself wasn't bad. It was a very funny story, with colorful characters and scenery, and I found myself wanting to know more about the characters in this world, and I was rooting for them to work things out. I also want to know where Leonard learned to cook.
But...well, I can't exactly say the premise wasn't great, because the idea itself makes for an interesting story. Five bad boys needed to be hooked up with the one woman who can redeem them. It's romance-smut that basically writes itself!
It's just...the using of already established fairy tale characters. For instance, in this one, the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.
Now, not all the bachelors are ripped from other stories. There's a Djinni in there that I'm pretty sure was an original construct. But otherwise, you've got Hatter, the Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, Gerard (Gaston) from Beauty and the Beast, and Captain Hook.
Maybe part of my problem is all I can picture are the Disney equivalents of all those characters...actually, I think that might be it.
Also trying to figure out how she gets around the whole bestiality thing with Wolf. I'm very, very tempted to get the rest of the books, just to find that one thing out.
...another problem I had was the romanticizing of Hatter's madness. Hall painted him as a tortured soul, caught just at the border of insanity and sanity, jumping between the two at the drop of a hat. (Hehe.) During his fits of insanity, he could be cruel, and nasty, which is proper for someone who has a genuine mental condition...but it still didn't sit right with me.
"Does your boyfriend often fly into random fits of anger, cause you physical harm and emotional trauma? Don't worry about it! He'll be in a better mood later...he's just a tortured soul! You can temper his insanity if you just love him enough!"
And I thought Twilight was bad with that...
I mean, it's not even a cool mental illness. The phrase "mad as a hatter" (possibly) comes from the fact that hat-makers used to use mercury treat felt, which was a popular hat material back in the day. As we know today, mercury is a very deadly poison, and makes people go crazy. I wonder if people back then just thought that crazy people just naturally became hat-makers.