Taming The Lion
by Marilyn Grall, historical (1997)
New Concepts Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-891020-14-5


I was bored the day I decided to try an e-book. Let's face it: here I was, in my brother's place for vacation, and the nearest bookstore was three hours' away and three months behind in its selection. Workday was looming near and I wasn't too happy. There was only so many times one could watch While You Were Sleeping again and again before one get really sick of happy laughing people. Bored, I finally resorted to the unthinkable. I actually broke my vow never to do online shopping (made after I accidentally subscribed to a year's membership of Playgirl Online while fiddling around the Web). I decided to try an ebook.

Taming The Lion wasn't so bad, really. The comparison to Virginia Henley had basis, for Ms Grall has a lusty, grand style of writing. It is only my misfortune to select what seemed to be Ms Grall's first e-book. It suffered a lot from first-writer syndrome.

The premise is age-old in the history of medieval romance evolution. Sir Lionel (the Lion, get it?), brave and valiant, was asked by his sire to wed tomboyish hoyden Lady Alexandra for the usual reasons (unprotected lands, he was a bastard and this would be his only way to get land, etc). She wasn't too happy, she heard he was a cold-blooded killer. He wasn't too happy because hoydens in his book definitely weren't virgins, much less virtuous.

After the first chapter I realized this story was really dated. I could barely keep my interest as the story plodded on, spiced by bickerings, arguments, and don't forget The Evil Other Woman Who Has Designs On Our Hero. How much clichéd can one get? The violent wedding night, the spanking (not the kinky type, unfortunately)... so 1980s, if I'm allowed to say that. Is this written during that time? I don't know, but it feels like it.

Lion was your usual medieval Tarzan - virile, superhumanly powerful in the battlefield, but a total clunk when it came to relationship. Lady Alex was barely 20, she had the right to be shrill, immature, and annoying. Lion was in his 30s, and to see him lower himself to Alex's immaturity by his continuous one-lined fast-to-suspect-the-worst train of thoughts and readiness to bicker and quarrel... I don't know.

Oh well, I can say my first e-book is quite a disappointment. I so wanted it to be like an exciting episode in my life, like the moment I first read To Kill A Mockingbird or that time I actually sat next to Charlie Sheen in a plane. Oh, no point dwelling in if only.

Rating: 50


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