Champion Of The Heart
by Laurel O'Donnell, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6885-9


If titles should reflect the story within the covers, Champion Of The Heart will be called Bastard, Kiss My Butt or Bastard Of The Arse. The hero - if I can gurgle on enough Midol to call him that - Fox Mercer is one of the most repulsively stupid, cruel, and stupid a-holes I have ever come across in a book, and the author pushes my head into the toilet bowl by having everybody blaming the hero's behavior on the Evil Other Man. I will commence retribution of having my intelligence insulted so thoroughly and painfully by ripping this book to shreds. Lest this one earns me another rebuke from the Powers-That-Be for "bad style, naughty Granny, bad Granny", I'd like everyone to know that there is plenty more Midol to go around. Here, take one.

Fox Mercer was thirteen when his Daddy died, accused of murder of some powerful Baron. Daddy was covering up for someone, and Fox hated this someone for taking Daddy away from him, and yeah, the lands. He hated losing his lands that he will inherit one day, and he swears revenge on everybody. Including that lil' girl Jordan Ruvane who was his best friend until she went away and didn't respond to his letters. Here Fox, why don't you hate puppies as well?

Today, Fox is an adult, and he leads his band of men and one woman with names like Scout, Beau, and Pick - whoa, who let the Dirty Dozen in here? - to play Robin Hood. Meanwhile, grown-up Jordan is busy caring for babies and sick kiddies, and when one lil' girl dies because the herb supply is robbed by Fox and his Medieval Cafe twits, she blames him. When Fox wins her hand in a knight tourney, she has him clapped in irons for murder.

Fox doesn't care. A child died? So what? A noble child - devil's spawn, them all! How dare noblemen steal his lands? They all deserve to die! Die, die, die! He kidnaps Jordan, humiliates her, harasses her, molests her, but all is forgiven because Jordan realizes that Fox lets this lil' girl play around his home and hence he must be One Helluva Guy. She falls in love. Oh, and incidentally, this lil' girl is Scout's daughter, and Scout would've let the girl die were not for Jordan, because Scout hates that girl because she reminds Scout of some rape. Jordan understands - so what if Scout is a bad mommy, because Scout has been raped, and you know... er, where's the logic again? Flushed down the drain?

Fox's daddy is still alive. How did that happen? And Daddy insists on taking good care and giving Jordan a nice welcome. Fox sulks. "But Dad, she's the enemy! She's to be blamed for everything!" Daddy hushes Fox, but Jordan, instead of falling for Daddy, runs to Fox instead. She understands, it's all her fault! Oh, oh, oh!

I have no idea why Jordan thinks everything is her fault, but I do know I am repulsed by how Fox still tries to find ways to blame everything wrong in his life on Jordan even after he has shagged her six thousand ways to Sunday and she has declared her love and trust on him. I am sickened by how this man hates Jordan because she has the nerve to be beautiful and hence tempts him, the poor man. I am nauseated by how the author tries to pass off Fox as a hero because the Evil Other Man of Jordan's kill puppies and Fox doesn't. And I completely throw up when Fox reads Jordan's letter that reveals everything, and then, when he realizes what a Grade A++++++ to the power of infinity a-hole he is, he actually blames it on the Other Man!

And Jordan agrees. Everyone agrees it's the Other Man's fault. Fox can't help being an a-hole, you know? A man mired in self-pity just can't be accountable for his behaviors, you know?

I want the hero dead for his jerk behavior and the heroine slapped for her stupidity in even wanting to "be his friend" after he has her shoved and thrown into the dungeon. Gawd, I really want to do violent things to this book. That I didn't burst a blood vessel while stabbing crayons on the pages of this book is a miracle in itself. No, the miracle here is how this book ever get published in the first place. I need to lie down. Oh, my poor, poor head.

Rating: 03


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