Reviewing Bride by Command written by Linda Winstead Jones

2.5/5

This is the third book in her third trilogy set in the same universe. Because it would take me a few pages just to explain what has happened this far I’m going to skip right over that. If you haven’t read her first trilogy and enjoy romantic fantasy, read it, if just for the sub-story of the emperor and his assassin that spans all three books. Unfortunately, Jones does not carry over that complicated storytelling into trilogy two. Trilogy three is better than the predecessor but is lacking in imagination after six novels about women finding the loves of their lives.

The other problem Jones falls into is that her main characters are out and out boring at times. The women are perfect, the man have “flaws” that most women would forgive because, Hell, they are nearly perfect themselves. But women in romance novels never forgive their men for lying to them that easily and must hold unnecessarily long grudges that make storytelling repetitive. How many times can she claim to not hate him but be so angry with him she wants to leave?

As usual, her side characters are more interesting. You have the story of a bridal candidate who is being forced to lie to those around her and treat them poorly because she’s afraid of having people close and you get to see more insight into the “bad guys” of the novel. Unfortunately the side characters of Danya and Rainer are not as interesting as the ones from the two books before, and it falls flat.

Jones has a large, well thought out setting, but unfortunately she doesn’t do enough with it and 309 pages of a romance novel where the plot itself is a bit thin doesn’t work. Not to mention a gaping hole that was not addressed in the novel until towards the end to, more or less, deus ex machina a reason to not kill off a character. And after reminders of how everyone is doing or where everyone is at the end of the novel seems to be nothing more than a reminder of incompetence and what might never have been a truly terrifying threat.

Reasons to Read:

- Conclusion to this trilogy

- Interesting premise

Reasons Not to Read:

- If you read one in this trilogy, you read them all

- Makes women seem weak

- Makes the bad guy seem weak

- Too much worrying about love, not enough worrying about an empire

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