An historical M/F where the woman isn't a meek little mouse and the man isn't an alphabrute and they're both sophisticated and evenly matched? What is this magic??? There was a point at around 80% where I thought the author was going into Big Misunderstanding territory to drum up (even more) drama, but like every other instance of "tired trope" that nearly came before that, Ms. Milan managed to sidestep it and let her adult characters be adults. Amazing, isn't it?
I really enjoyed Minnie's and Robert's interactions. They start out rivals, since he's spreading around seditious flyers that she's blamed for distributing, and they're each determined to keep their secrets. Robert, being a duke, isn't really in danger if his secret is let out, but Minnie's secrets and fears run deep and could really do serious damage to her.
Robert's maybe a little too perfect at times. Sure, he fumbles in his flirtations and machinations because he's a clueless duke for all that he's considered "woke" for his time period. He has no practical understanding or application of what it means to be working class or anything less than what he is. He may be progressive, but he can only see things through the eyes and privilege of a duke. I'd also expect a guy with his background to have at least a few hangups that manifest themselves negatively - he really should be the jealous type but he isn't, for instance - but I'm willing to overlook that since it worked thematically for the characters and their different but complementary issues and strengths. And I didn't have to put up with an alphabrute, which is always a win.
I especially liked that there wasn't any insta-love. They like each other. They really, really like each other. But they don't confuse that with love and they have to work towards that like any other couple.
The supporting characters were all fully fleshed out, and there's even a subplot with Robert's mother that's quite well done. Lydia's a great bestie, and I'm going to assume she ends up with one of the Brother Sinisters - who are actually comprised of Robert, his half-brother and a cousin. Sebastian was an unholy terror and hilarious, and Oliver was as sweet as can be.
I'm eager to read the rest of the series, and thankfully my library has them all. Yay! If they're as well-written as this one, they'll be fun and interesting reads.
This was fun! I've been slowly but surely trying to get around to all the old classics I avoided when I was a kid. I saw a couple of the Musketeer movies, neither of them very good, and I recently saw a few episodes of the Musketeer show on Hulu, but I never read the book, and after the enjoyable but somewhat rambling The Count of Monte Cristo, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book.
It's still enjoyable and still somewhat rambling, lol. The book lost some momentum after the race for the diamond studs and doesn't really recover, pace-wise, until the introduction of Milady, who gives whole new meaning to the word diabolical. This was often silly, and often fast-paced. I can see how this was originally published as a serial, and I can just imagine the people reading this in real time impatiently waiting for the next installment. The three Musketeers are great friends and have varied backgrounds and personalities, and they adopt d'Artagnan into their group despite some awkward and hostile beginnings. I adored their friendships and how they looked out for each other - which is why it felt so disjointed that d'Artagnan then had to wait to be told to go look for his friends who may or may not have given up their lives to he could go fetch the queen's diamond studs. Like, bro, WTF?
Simon Vance knocked this out of the park and his impression especially of Porthos was a hoot and a half. I think my love for Porthos is about 110% due to Vance's reading of his lines. So over the top. So adorably obtuse. Planchet was pretty adorable too. Though as great as Vance was, these are the most British-sounding French dudes ever. :D I guess French narrators just refuse to read this in English? After a lifetime of hearing British accents for French characters, it didn't bother me at all, just added to the fun.
Sway wasn’t sure if he should go for a hug, a kiss, a handshake or fist bump, he didn’t know what was typical for their situation. He wanted to wrap himself around one of Brian’s thighs and hump it until the pressure in his pants subsided, but he was sure that wasn’t the proper greeting protocol either.
Heed the warnings for this one because this gets dark:
Mental torture, forced drug use, drug addiction, detailed description of past child sexual abuse, violation of autonomy
I was worried after the last couple of books that this series would end with a whimper instead of a bang, but thankfully I had nothing to worry about. And I can reiterate, definitively, that book 4 can be skipped as everything that's revealed there is brought up here - not in every detail but enough to know what you missed. I was also worried I'd have to endure more of Freddy and Mikey's POV, but thankfully that didn't happen. Sadly
Freddy and Mikey are still alive at the end of the book, so I might have to put up with them again later,
but I can deal with that when I get there. I was hoping to see
the ever-elusive Nicky but he was again MIA. I'm getting mighty curious about him and what powers or abilities he may or may not possess.
The big showdown with the Duke has come at last and it's just as messed up as I'd thought it'd be. I got so angry at Freddy and Mikey multiple times, and I still can't really buy their relationship - and thus Freddy's motivation. I'd more easily believe that Freddy's pride was insulted by his dad presuming to take a plaything away from him than I do that he actually cares about Mikey but whatever, it was a smallish part of the plot and not lingered over too much.
It was neat to see Windsor take a more active role in the story, now that he's a little older and learning new words. :D Lawrence and Quentin are put through the ringer in this one though and it's often difficult to read because all their weaknesses are used against them. Both of them have grown and changed so much since the first book and their adventure here tests all of that growth to its limits. I really had no idea how this was all going to be resolved, which just added to the angst and intrigue.
This was a wild ride and once the action gets going it doesn't really let up until the end. It was hard to put down at times and it went quickly. We get a nice little epilogue that hints at what the next arc is going to be dealing with, and I for one will be eagerly awaiting that release.