Coveted is my first DNF (did not finish). I’ve always made a point of pushing on to the bitter end, even if I wasn’t enjoying a book, even if the book was unremarkable or unimaginative. But there are so many aspects to this book I didn’t like, I made the decision that this time I wouldn’t put myself through it. Hence the DNF.
The blurb about this book really piqued my interest – it states: ‘…inventive and funny new take on the ever-popular urban paranormal genre’ and ‘Charlaine Harris meets Janet Evanovich’ (two of my favourite authors). It also says ‘If Stephanie Plum were a werewolf, she’s be something like Nat’ – umm, no she wouldn’t. The writing nor the characters are anything like Charlaine Harris (Sookie) or Janet Evanovich (Stephanie).
To begin with the main character, Nat Stravinsky, is not a particularly likable character. I wanted to like her I really did. On paper she has everything I love in my heroine, but as I read on I realised she just wasn’t it. Even with all her problems, Nat isn’t very interesting and she comes across as pretty selfish and judgmental.
…I had an unexpected visitor from New York, Heidi the mermaid stopped by… Every time I saw her, I expected her to look like the legends in books. Long blonde hair, pale, translucent skin. But with bronzed skin, dark red hair and light green eyes, this mermaid in black boots wouldn’t inspire anyone’s bedtime story.
Really? She sounds inspiring enough to me!
The other instance where I saw this was when she went on a date with Quinton, a work colleague. I understand that being a necromancer and having zombie’s following you about doesn’t make for a very romantic hero, but this guy was nothing but nice to her and yet she just blew him off, even though she was the one who asked him out! Then when he saved her life from a pack of werewolves, all she could think about was herself.
I love characters with quirky personalities, problems, flaws and fault’s. They all make the characters more real and relatable. Anything that fleshes out a character and gives them a wonderful backstory hooks me in every time, if done well of course – Chess Putnam from Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts comes to mind. But in Coveted Nat’s condition was just over done. Every page described her obsession with hoarding christmas decorations, and how her house was rammed with boxes filled to the brim with all these little ornaments she called her ‘friends’. She also has a problem dealing with untidiness and nearly had a fit when her friend made her a batch of cookies in her kitchen. This could have been humorous and endearing, even poignant, but there was no depth to Nat’s condition. Nothing she said stirred any emotion within me and it is this aspect to Nat’s personality that I felt wasn’t executed very well and was therefore unconvincing.
But it wasn’t just Nat that had a mental health problem. Everyone I read about seemed to be a neurotic mess. As well as Nat’s obsessive compulsive disorder, her friend Aggie, a high ranking werewolf, is bulimic and has problems with her weight, Abby, a muse to authors, thinks everyone is after her, which makes her fearful and paranoid, and Heidi, the mermaid friend mentioned above, suffers from anxiety and phobia of dark places, preventing her from entering the ocean and seeing her family.
Heidi raised her face to the sun. “So glad to be farther inland. I get the blotchies when the full moon approaches. The tides kick my ass.
She [Heidi] pulled up her tank top to reveal light blue dots that resembled hives along her ribs. Most likely her body’s reaction to anxiety.
Nat isn’t a particularly strong character either. She constantly mentions how she isn’t worthy of Thorn’s affections and basically comes across as a bit of a drip, a wet blanket… Listening to a character self-deprecating incessantly doesn’t make for fun reading. The attraction between Nat and Thorn just wasn’t there for me. They had been an item five years previously and he had just come back into town. Although he left Nat without explanation, she acts like a love sick teenager, hanging on to his every word and their dialogue felt forced and unnatural.
There is no complexity to Nat (as there is with Chess), and if my heroine is going to be given flaws and vulnerabilities, then I must believe in them, or have some sort of emotional reaction to them other than just irritation. Such conditions as Nat’s has to be expertly dealt with for it to be successfully integrated into a genre such as paranormal romance, sadly it wasn’t in this instance.
Coveted did not capture or retain my interest. Take away the numerous paragraphs detailing Nat’s OCD and there wasn’t much left to read about. After 110 pages of neuroses, awkward dialogue, non-existent plot and uninspiring romance, I’m afraid I had to call it a day.
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