Top critical review
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on 13 March 2012
Fires of Winter is quite possibly the one book I've read over the last decade that I despise the most. Everything about this story is loathsome, from the one-dimensional characters, the moronic plot and the fact that this book is labeled as a historic romance, as it is both completely lacking in romance and the "historic" label is tenuous at best, seeing as it is grossly incorrect and poorly researched. I am sure Johanna Lindsey is a good author, and her writing is decent, but my goodness is this book terrible.
Firstly, the main characters Brenna and Garrick do truly deserve each other, as they are equally stubborn, narrow-minded, moronic and temperamental. Everything bad that happens to them, every obstacle they face is directly or indirectly caused by their own stupidity or (more often) their stubborn belief in their own infallibility. Their actions and behavior is more similar to a 4-year old with a temper tantrum than anything else, and they learn nothing from their mistakes.
Also, (SPOILER ALERT!) Garrick rapes Brenna. It was at this point in the story I completely gave up on this book. I cannot bring myself to care for, empathize with or like a main character who RAPES the other main character, especially in a so-called "romance" book. I read a lot of romance/erotica, and there is a lot of dominant, possessive and aggressive sexual interaction between characters in these kinds of books, sometimes bordering on rape. Honestly, I found it painful having to read a book with such a careless use of rape in it, not to mention insulting.
Brenna was an arrogant, selfish, narrow-minded and unintelligent girl throwing temper tantrums like a child. Her entire character was not only hard to relate to, but also impossibly annoying and her reactions were unrealistic to say the least. The portrayal of Brenna as a tomboy was not just poorly done, but also shows just how little Johanna Lindsey knows about gender, gender roles and history. Instead, Lindsey seems to have used the most common clichés and misconceptions about the period to write her book. I also resent the fact that Lindsey is apparently one of the authors who thinks that the best way to portray a woman as strong and independent is to make her stubborn, temperamental, physically strong and/or a skilled warrior.
So yeah, I absolutely hate this book. It was awful, the characters, the plot, all of it were pure awful. By the end of the book I felt insulted, not just as a person, but as a woman, and this book put me off historical romance for good.