Top critical review
A Good Story Which Never Happened
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 11, 2015
I have read the entire series except for the last. Throughout the series, I enjoyed Jemma's and Elijah's story track the most and was eagerly awaiting this book to resolve their conflcts and produce the requisite HEA.
However, I was very disappointed in this book. Many of the other reviewers have elaborated on the details much better than I can, but here are my issues:
I loved Elijah but Jemma seemed to be too flighty and irresponsible for me, especially in this book. The dynamics between the couple seemed forced and unrealistic.
There was too much Villiers and not enough Elijah.
The rationales for the characters' actions were not convincing but rather inexplicable to me.
The best part of the book was at the very beginning when Elijah realizes that Jemma is in grave danger on the King's boat and he literally races to her rescue. I thought: "Oh, this book is going to be exciting!" But it quickly became boring and started making no sense. Elijah tried at least three times to take her straight to bed, including after the rescue, and each time she found an excuse to do something else--now, REALLY?? By this time she was realizing that she really did love him so I wondering what her problem was. After all, she did return expressly to help him produce an heir, despite their past issues.
As other people pointed out, the plot felt forced and re-hashed, and almost like Ms. James was phoning it in.
Plus, although a good idea for a central theme connecting many of the characters, I got really tired of the chess. I do not play and I got sick of all the narrative being devoted to the game of chess and how that drove Jemma's decisions, when what I really wanted was more interaction between her and Elijah. It was almost as though Elijah was a secondary character instead of the hero.
And am I the ONLY person who found Villiers' character to be weird and not compelling in the least? To me, he was a (very) watered-down version of Sebastian St. Vincent from "Devil in Winter", but not nearly as charming, witty, or dangerous. And if I had read one more description of the outfit-du-jour that Viliers was wearing that day, I felt like I would have screamed. This is not Vogue magazine, and again, I felt that much of this focus on his outfits was frivolous and did not contribute to the dynamics of the plot.
In summary, I felt that the author had a lot of potential with this book which remained totally unexplored, as was the potential love story of a powerful and sexy hero and heroine, who seemed to have more passion for playing chess than for each other. A waste.