Monthly Gem: “The McKinnon The Beginning: Book 1 Pt 1″ By Ranay James

My Impression:  Wow!  Good read.  The book has a medieval setting with knights, kings, political angling, intrigue and the like.  Arranged marriages abound.  Loyalties change with the wind, assassination is an acceptable means of improving one’s social position.  And there is some of all of that in this book…good plot.  The beginning hook was  good! (no spoilers)…I knew immediately that I would read the rest of this book.

The Hero:  Nic is a knight of the highest order, honorable, feared, and most importantly…loyal to his king.  So loyal in fact that he is will to marry against his own wishes to placate King Henry (the Reigning Monarch through the course of the novel).  The King wants him married to the Duchess….But eh…

The Heroine:  The Duchess has problems of her own….running from a madman bent on possessing or killing her…which ever is the most convenient.  So, as you can see, romance is the last thing on her mind…and a husband just spells trouble for her.

The Love Story:   Littered with ridiculous misunderstandings…Male pride…distrust, yadda, yadda yadda.  Soap opera silliness, honestly.  The love story and chemistry of the two characters is good (there’s even a bit of comic interplay between the two that’s pretty cute)…but the constant “misunderstandings”, contrived secrets, and “overheard conversations” taken the wrong way were annoying to me.  These are mature, intelligent adults…it undermines their characters to have them making major life decisions based solely on an overheard convo…WTF?  What rational person would do that?  That being said…I still enjoyed the book, the love story, and the overall plot.  There was another gimmicky plot point (but I can’t really discuss it because I feel it gives away too much)…It was clever and believable, at first, but runs on too long and becomes a bit tedious (after a while I was like, “Please figure it out already!”).   The good thing…the hero and heroine are well-developed and multi-layered enough to remain love-able despite these over-obvious plot devices.

Minor Beef:  The constantly shifting POV was distracting, at times.

Extra Touch:  I liked the fact that the injuries in the book were given a touch of realism.  They leave scars and take real time to heal.  In some books…a character is morbidly wounded, and recover in minutes, with no lingering aches, pains…and no scars.  Annoying.

The Verdict:  Two Thumbs up!  I’ve already downloaded part 2.

D. Alyce Domain

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