Monday, September 7, 2015

In Bed With a Highlander—Maya Banks

She was his to take. From the moment she'd set foot on his lands, she was his. Whether she married him or not. (94)
Part of Vaginal Fantasy Rewind

Back on the train in a real way with this next book in VF Rewind. In Bed with a Highlander was the alt during the month when the main was Outlander, which I've actually read independent of VF Rewind and haven't had a chance to blog about yet. But will soon. Anyway, thank goodness I love Outlander so much because this one was...not my favourite.

In this first in what is called the McCabe trilogy—each book focused on one of the three McCabe brothers—we meet the eldest McCabe, Ewan. Ewan is bent on revenge after most of his family was killed eight years ago following an attack perpetrated by the big bad guy of the area. But it seems that all of his problems are solved when Mairin, the illegitimate daughter of the late king, falls into his lap. And she will marry Ewan—whether she wants to or not. After all, it's the best thing for both of their sakes. It will help to keep her safe, and it will endow Ewan with the large swath of land that was left for her and the connection to the crown. But who could have guessed that from this marriage of convenience, "love" would grow?

Everyone. Everyone could have guessed. Even though she's ill treated by Ewan, it's gotta be better than being raped and murdered as soon as she carries to term the seed of aforementioned big bad. Obviously. Plus, us ladies love a firm hand and domineering males.

There was little to no character development here, which is interesting considering that these characters are part of a trilogy. Yes, Ewan is strong and laird-like, and Mairin is perfect parts stubborn female and doting wife and mother. But they're archetypes of characters rather than fully realized people in and of themselves.

Although, to be fair, even if there had been character development, I wouldn't have been able to focus on it because of the completely unhealthy relationship which was represented. (That seems to be a theme with books that I'm reading lately, and it's no coincidence that I've been reading more "romance" books than I usually do...) A prime example is the pullquote above. She was his from the moment she entered his property, even though she did so under duress and basically to escape the man who is planning on raping and murdering her. Not that this situation is much better.

Ewan had no interest in Mairin until he found out that she was the dead king's daughter. And then he really only tried to make the sexy times good for Mairin because she insulted his prowess, not to actually please her. In fact, on their wedding night, he basically raped her, stole the bloodied marriage sheets, and ran off to prove to the big bad that she had been claimed and was no longer available. Romantic, no? When he first contemplates making her his, he thinks this to himself: The image of her swollen with his child flickered through his mind, and he found himself very pleased with the image. Very pleased indeed. (78) Ugh. What a cave man. Then there's this, when Ewan is negotiating with Mairin to try to convince her that it's best for everyone involved if she agrees to marry him: Still the perverse part of his nature wanted her to come to him. He wanted her to accept her fate and bind herself to him of her own accord. Aye, the taking was far more satisfying when the lass was willing. Not that he couldn't have her willing in a matter of seconds. (95) Perverse part of him wants consent? What a creep for wanting that!

In addition to that nonsense, there was also another trope of romance books: Mairin was almost immediately pregnant. Because that's how it works. Ugh. Then there's this gem: Towards the end of the book, their marriage is designated invalid, Mairin is taken away by the big bad. As she's pulled away from Ewan, he tells her: "Listen to me. Survive. You survive! Endure. No matter what. Endure what you must but survive for me. Survive for our child. I will come for you. I swear it on my life. I will come for you!" (314) In other words, let him rape you as long as you and most importantly my seed within you physically survive. Because that's all that matters. I just can't with you men anymore.

There were actually a few of the sex scenes that were well done, but since the rest of it was so disappointing—especially in consideration of the historical delight that is Outlander—I really did not care for it.

But...one more off the list!
The ladies only talked about In Bed with a Highlander for two minutes at the end, because Outlander and also I think there was some issue with the video because it just cuts them off at a weird place, but that two minutes was the perfect amount for me.