Reading Backwards

Book reviews by your favorite Git.

Sheikh’s Ransom

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SheikhBy Alexandra Sellers
November 2006
Rating: BLECH.

(This one has some bad language. Sorry.)

Remember that school project about Christian Romance Novels? Well, I got an A on it. But my punishment was having to read this garbage.

I’m not a stranger to fantasies that involve the dangerous, the forbidden, submission, and the otherwise impossible. Hell, that’s what romance novels are for. But this? This is seriously crap. is dedicated to these ‘sheikh’ romances, in which

a Sheikh (or an Arab or desert prince) [is] the primary male character. … In most cases, the heroines of these stories are women who hail from progressive countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia or Great Britain. The majority are slender, with long fair hair.

By and large, most of the Arab countries described in these books are fictional. Sometimes these lands are socially repressive, but their leaders usually strive to change them into more modern societies that treat women equally. In some cases, the skills or talent of the beautiful heroine often may help this effort along, particularly if she entered the country for the purpose of taking a temporary professional position (i.e. hospital administrator, conference planner, headhunter). From the FAQ

Need I say more about how stupid the concept is? But enough about that. Lets talk about this book in particular.
1. It’s too damn short. It is next to impossible to write a satisfying romance in under 250 pages. No, don’t argue with me. I’d read enough of them to know.

2. The girl is an idiot. She’s being pressured by her family to marry some rich SOB to save the family name. Oh, boohoo, it’s 1999, woman! She’s having doubts, but not very strong ones. She and hubby-to-be win a trip to the mythical Arab nation dreamt up by this author (one of the liberal ones, notes), but hubby is too damn busy to go so she goes alone. Upon arrival she commits a cardinal travelling sin and doesn’t double-check that the guy with the car is the person who is supposed to pick her up, or even that he’s taking her to her real hotel. He says, “I’m with the company you won the prize from” and she buys it. Fuckin’ stupid, man.

3. The sheikh/prince is stupid. He is the guy with the car. WTF, MAN!? WHAT. THE. FUCK!? And no one recognizes the incredibly handsome prince squiring around some blond American who flashes her legs, arms, and face around all the time?! You see, he set this whole thing up. His ancient symbol of kingly power is a giant gem that has been stolen. If the people discover it’s lost, great doom and turmoil will befall the land! ie, the people will lose faith in him and revolt. Bad. He thinks missy’s hubby-to-be stole it, and this fake prize was to get him into the country for interrogation. Since hubby didn’t take the bait, he’s left with ditzoid. His new plan is to seduce and kidnap her. (Why seduce? Why must it ALWAYS be seduce AS WELL as kidnap-?! When did plain old kidnapping fall out of style?) He expects to then ransom the fiance–who he has clearly done no research on, because the guy is so ruthless that he told ditzoid that were she ever to be taken hostage, he would leave her to the dogs and forget about her. …Seriously.

4. They make a fuckin’ stupid pair. When finally abducted to the prince’s luxurious palace (lets not even go there) she tries to escape in the middle of the night. She winds up back at princey’s room, he thinks she is there so he can ravish her and assumes when she runs away that this is a playful lovers’ chase. (Asshole, she was NOT happy an hour ago when you sent her to bed! What the hell makes you think she wants sweet lovin’ now?!) She goes careening through the palace smashing priceless heirlooms. I wanted to smack her.

5. Everything is weak. WEAK. WEAK. WEAK.

I’m done ranting. It’s too annoying. I hate the premise, I hate the writing, I hate the characters, and I hate the plot. I even hate the cover–nowhere in there does it mention her in a green teddy, dammit!

Moral of the story? Other people’s fantasies are a really sick place to be.


Written by Shen

January 17, 2007 at 2:11 am

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