Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Knight Book Review *Kristen Ashley*

A new self published author caught my eye because of the talk on twitter and at Goodreads. Kristen Ashley has a very big following, so much so, that there’s even a support group on Goodreads for her, which in itself is equally baffling. But I shouldn’t judge, because if there was a J.R. Ward support group, I’d be the president (or perhaps the Vice-President behind Mandi Smexybooks). I decided I would t read one of Kristen’s books, but didn’t know which one to choose from. She’s been published since 2008 and has over 30 published books under her belt. But then she released, Knight (The Unfinished Hero #1) last month that has many people buzzing. When Kati of Katidom, who is now reviewing for DearAuthor, reviewed Knight, that cemented it for me. And thanks to the wonders of the Kindle lending program, Kati was so kind to lend me Knight (I admit I’m cheap, especially when it comes to self published books I may or may not buy).

Knight has mainly positive reviews. Over 900 as of now have been posted on Goodreads. Kristen follows a formula in Knight that's becoming well known thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey. Unfortunately most erotic romances will now be compared to Fifty Shades as was the case with young adult paranormals being compared to Twilight (The irony, oh the irony)

What we have in Knight is a simple, somewhat Mary Sue heroine who isn’t impressed by money or flash. Anya Gage wants to make her own way through life and is a hard worker who has an unfortunate past (it really isn’t all that damaging, unless you count her nasty bitch of an aunt who took her in after her wonderful parents were killed in an accident, and giving her self esteem body issues as a big thing) She works while going to school to get her beautician license so she can become a hairdresser, manicurist, facial expert, what have you. Her dream is to open a spa in Denver, Colorado where she lives. One night Anya goes to a party with her spoiled, daddy’s girl friend with the strange name of Sandrine. Anya feels out of place because all the women there are beautiful, with no “Buddha belly” to speak of, unlike her (although she wears tight dresses for the most part that no woman with a “Buddha belly” would ever think of wearing) in her second hand knock off clothes. Sandrine is on the prowl to get her claws in Nick Sebring, some high roller jerk. Anya is pretty much over the party and wants to leave, but since Sandrine is going to get some hot screwing from Nick the jerk, who in turns invites Anya to join him and Sandrine in a threesome, she is beyond disgusted. She searched for her coat and because her cheap cell phone dies on her as she calls a taxi, she finds one in another bedroom. She’s caught with the cell phone by Nick’s brother Knight since it’s his bedroom she has invaded.

Knight is more than angry at Nick, but doesn’t take it out on Anya. He’ll  drive her home and doesn't take the word “no” for an answer (very important to keep in mind for later). Anya is not down with Knight’s high handed ways, but he’s her way to leave unscathed, and he’s handsome and considerate to her needs. Knight drops her off at her broken down apartment building in a less than desirable neighbor, where he scopes out her apartment to make sure no one has broke in and is waiting in her closet to attack her.

Anya thinks she’ll never see Knight again. But she’s wrong. Knight sends her a very expensive cell phone, and when she tries to return it, he gets broody and cranky in his own caveman type way. You’ll come to understand Knight’s broody crankiness better as the story progresses. Knight ends up fixing other problems for Anya with her apartment building, her lazy super and her icky perv of a neighbor. And then Sandrine and her other friend Viv go to the hottest club in Denver that coincidentally Knight owns. Nick is there, and Sandrine and him get into a tussle because he’s a man whore who used her. Knight comes to Anya’s rescues after Nick puts the slimy moves on her. From the moment on, Knight has “claimed” Anya as his own. It was fate that they kept coming in contact and it’s obvious they’re meant to be together. Anya does her best to refuse, but Knight laughs that off and he’ll seduce Anya and give her many mighty orgasms where she’ll be gushing all over the sheets and calling him the pet name of “daddy” during sex while he calls her “baby” intermixed with far too many “fucks” and “cunts” to keep count of. Knight also coerces Anya, or playfully threatens some hot BDSM loving on her, which is more telling than showing, unless you count light bondage, smacking of asses (him smacking hers, not the other way around), blow jobs galore or bending over desks as examples of this.

Knight almost follows the Fifty Shades of Grey formula but makes sure to throw in some unique tropes when it comes to the characters. Anya is in her late twenties, while Knight is older. Knight is a big old snuggle teddy bear, but a total gangsta as he uses street lingo. As to what streets, I couldn’t really tell you. Inner city Denverspeak if there is such a thing? Other than Anya, everyone talks this gangsta type lingo and at times it became tiresome and tedious. Knight comes across as some underworld mob boss, but one with his own set of morals. He’s protective of the people who work for him and is very generous, far too generous where Anya is concerned by buying her expensive clothes to make up for her second hand thrift shop ones, a new car, cooking her high end meals, and even as going as far as buying her spa business for her. Knight is very, very generous in bed. Their sex has a large amount of fluids dripping and crude and dirty language from Knight  to excite Anya. Knight's use of "daddy" as in Anya calling him that during sex seems to fit, as strange as it may sound. Daddy and Baby coochie choochie orgasms a plenty here.

Knight reminded me of Terrible from Stacia Kane’sDownside Ghost series, but where as Terrible’s colloquialisms are smooth and fitting; Knight’s feels forced and it grated on my nerves. I couldn’t figure out why Knight spoke this way, as what some will come to think as ghetto. It just didn’t seem to fit. It’s played up so much so, and beyond glaring. As for Anya, I found her dull as dishwater. She’s too one-dimensional and a big contradiction. I couldn’t wrap my head about her. I really wanted to jump out of her head and into Knight's because even with my issues, I found him to be a fascinating character. There’s really not much tension and action. This story is more character driven with long winded speeches and internal monologue from Anya. Although some of the dialogue made me laugh, especially from Knight.

Example of this when Knight compliments Anya: “Your face is a face that launches a thousand hard-ons." So poetic, don’t you think?

Kristen states in her author’s note at the beginning that Knight is an anti-hero. This is because of one of his jobs that will put a bad taste in reader’s mouth and be a deal breaker for some. 

This is a big spoiler….

Knight is a pimp daddy in truth. He’s in charge of “protecting” escorts and prostitutes he took over from a nasty, oily pimp type business man. Knight takes a cut for his services and he’s such a good guy for doing so because he treats his “fifty seven bitches”, as he calls them, with respect. When Anya finds out, she doesn’t run in the opposite direction, not that I expected her to because she’s so head over heels in love with her Daddy Knight. His explanation for being a pimp, which IMO, wasn’t really needed and comes out of left field, is an impassioned one but falls flat for me. It’s like Kristen needed one last thing to cement this “anti-hero” philosophy, but still give that care bear, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow HEA we all need as romance readers.

I can see why some think Kristen’s writing is like crack. Knight was enjoyable to a certain point and the character of Knight is very different from what I’m used to in my romantic heroes. But Knight needs a heavy dose of editing and toning down the over the top tropes regarding Knight’s uber caveman alpha nature and the ridiculous border line cheesy erotic love scenes. Also using the word “fuck” or “cunt” during sex, mainly from Knight, does not make a romance erotic. I was in “fuck” overload from all sides from Knight saying it and doing it to Anya. Total buzzkill when all is said in done. (Self-Published for $3.49)

Final Grade: C


Mandi said...

I tried this one but the heroine got on my nerves so I dnf'd.

But now I'm intrigued by the hero!

KB/KT Grant said...

What did you think of Knight as the character? Other than his potty mouth, I thought he was cute at certain times.