Review: “A Touch of Crimson,” Sylvia Day

Pros: Decent basics
Cons: Almost everything else
Rating: 1 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Adrian Mitchell is an angel tasked with policing fallen angels. When he sees Lindsay, he knows immediately that she was born with the soul of Shadoe–his long-time lover–inside of her. He sweeps her up into his world, only to find out she’s already there: she has unusual abilities and has been using them to hunt vampires since childhood. Someone is trying to force the vampires and seraphim to go to war, maneuvering the leaders of each side into blaming each other for a series of deaths and illnesses. Meanwhile, Shadoe’s father, Syre, the first of the Fallen, must find her in order to finish making her immortal by turning her into a vampire. Lindsay and Adrian’s love seems destined to become a casualty of war.

 

Sylvia Day’s A Touch of Crimson: A Renegade Angels Novel is the start of a series. On the whole it’s a fairly average erotic paranormal romance. When I got into the details, however, I liked it less.

I think of Adrian as a Slab O’Man. He doesn’t seem to have a lot to him beyond that, physically and personality-wise. Lindsay is somewhat more interesting, as is Elijah, her lycan bodyguard, but the other seraphim are even sketchier than Adrian and seriously lacking in personality. I often felt as though the characters were posing for the reader instead of behaving naturally.

There are some frustrating character point-of-view oddities. Early on we’re seeing things from Lindsay’s perspective, although in the third person. Some vital information was left out of this part of the narrative just to make a revelation surprising a little while later. Since we had supposedly been getting Lindsay’s PoV, this felt like a cheap cheat. Just make the revelation earlier and own it, for heaven’s sake.

I have a real problem with plots that rely on someone having decided to “punish” a being by making them more powerful and/or more dangerous to all of those around them. It can work in stories with a certain mythical, fairy-tale feel, but A Touch of Crimson is about as far from that sort of feel as possible. Angels aren’t wild and mythical; they’re soldiers with wings. Thus, the fact that angels were turned into Vampires when they fell–Vampires who feed on humans and can spread vampirism to humans–vampires the angels aren’t really supposed to kill because that negates the punishment aspect… that’s just plain bad plotting.

And now for the quote that really gets me:

Lindsay shook her head. “No.”

Adrian’s features lit with a glorious smile. He twisted swiftly and she found herself beneath him …

“I know what it means when you say that,” he murmured.

Yes, by all means, let’s put a scene into a romance that indicates that the man not only knows better than the woman does what she means when she says “no,” but feels it appropriate to act on his imagined “yes” rather than her spoken “no.” WTF. There are better ways to produce a dynamic where Lindsay is reluctant-but-wanting and Adrian draws her out, that don’t imply that it’s not only okay but desirable for a man to decide he knows better than a woman what she really wants in bed, and to act on that without her agreement.

There are a few similar tidbits. There’s also a set of decisions later on–one by Lindsay and one by Shadoe–that get made ridiculously easily given what each of them would have to pay for her decision. (I’m not specifying further to avoid spoilers.)

I was going to give this book a 2 out of 5, but honestly that bit about ‘no’ meaning ‘yes’ pisses me off enough that I’m demoting the book to a 1 out of 5.

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