The Warrior's Game
by Denise Hampton, historical (2003)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-050910-4
Reading this book is like sitting bare-butted on a block of ice in the middle of a meat freezer in a meat-packing factory located in Antarctica. It's a mind-numbing bore. The prose has a "lush, big meaty historical" feel to it, but the characters are actually behaving like childish twits. The author can write how she wants, but there's nothing three minutes of talk can't clear the long, drawn-out nonsense between the hero Sir Michel de Martingy and the heroine Amicia de la Beres.
I have trouble with the book from the first chapter itself, when our Amidala here seems more preoccupied with her Virtue and Honor when she's being baited by King John. A wise woman would know how to bend a little and adapt, but not Amidala, the type who would rather Die than to survive. Basically, the story is this: she marries Michel. She thinks he's base-born. He thinks she's haughty. He thinks he's unworthy of her. He will only get her pregnant and be done with it. He hates his past because his father treated his mother like a brood more, eek, eek, eek, so he must treat his wife the same too, even if he hates his father and look, sparks are shooting out of my ears as I short-circuit while trying to sort out his logic! She doesn't want men so to show this man what a superwoman she is, she will seduce him but never give in to him! Because he doesn't love her! And she doesn't love him! How are they so certain? Because they're sure they know! Talk? Oh please, talking is for suckers, we romantic brooders love to sulk instead, moo moo moo.
And so they go, on and on. Throw in some external conflicts and some sex scenes and it's like watching two kids bicker on and on in one long, dull, passionless ordeal. The pace is slow, the characters are so preoccupied with image and honor I half expect them to curtsy and bow to each other before he shags her with pure gentility, and there is no chemistry between those two, just mini temper tantrums. Getting to the last page is such an ordeal that watching grass grow becomes an attractive alternative.
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