Okay, I want to preface this post with a very important announcement: I love dark romance. I read it as a contrast to rom-com or contemporary romance. I have no problem being swept up in heroine kidnappings or dominations. It doesn’t bother me because I can suspend my disbelief, and I have no triggers for these types of scenarios. I’ve read Olivia Ryann’s Control and Protect series, Linnea May’s Petal series, Kelli Callahan’s Caged by Them, Penelope Sky, CD Reiss, Ashley Jade, Willow Winters, Stephanie Julian’s Indecent series, and many more. Through all of them, I suffered with the heroine and cheered the transition of the anti-hero as he found some level of redemption, even if it wasn’t the typical redemption of the romantic hero.
Even more, I enjoyed the first book in this series by Fawn Bailey, Dark Castle, albeit Olivier exasperated me as he seemed exceptionally bipolar when it came to Amber and the other contestants in his competition to find a bride.
But I struggled with Wicked Prince. I have no qualms with reading some level of dominating borderline abusive behavior of the h. However, between Bruno and Olivier in this book, it read like a roller coaster of emotions. I found myself becoming profoundly angry and annoyed with the ride on this roller coaster.
The Hs. Olivier and Bruno read as though they really don’t know what they want. One minute they want Amber; they can’t live with out her. In the next moment, she’s an afterthought. If you profess undying attachment to the h (at least, mentally), then you might want to be more consistent. And this is the problem with the characterization of these two. Additionally, they are supposed to be dominants. Yet, they constantly fight like children which left me struggling with accepting them. Quite frankly, I wanted Amber to escape and leave them, returning to her friends. She reads like a vessel and possession, but not in a way that could ever redeem either of these two.
Amber. I cheered her on when she was betrayed by Olivier and decided that she would reject him. I hoped she would take control of her sexuality and stand up to the two men. Yet, once again, she faltered. Yes. She controls her escape from the dungeon, but it takes her far too long to do so. Even more, I kept wondering why she wouldn’t demand legal representation. As she was accused of a crime, she should seek out people who could truly help her. Bruno and Olivier seem ineffective, and she accepts that. I recognize that dark romance writers often make their h timid or naive, but they tend to use that naïveté to an advantage against the H. This hasn’t happened yet in this series, and it’s disappointing. I need her to recognize her personal strengths and fight back.
What does this book have that should prompt you to read it? For one, it’s the second in a trilogy, so it is still unresolved. I’d like to think that the third book might drastically change the course of the characters. At least, I am hoping for it. Secondly, the physical connections between the characters is hot by romance standards. That seems to be the series’ point. If you love hot chemistry and $ex, then you’ll love this book. Lastly, this book leaves its readers on a massive cliffhanger that puts Amber at risk. Since the story isn’t finished, there is much that Fawn Bailey can do. I’m hoping I will feel resolved in the final book of this series.
One question that Fawn Bailey/Isabella Starling posted in her Facebook group a week ago was related to Amber’s choice in the two men. Should she choose Bruno or Olivier? At the time, I said Olivier, although I’d love to see a ménage with the three. After reading Wicked Prince, I want Amber to choose Amber. Quite frankly, Olivier and Bruno aren’t worthy of her attention.
In love and romance,