Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Valentina by Evie Blake
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
As publishers rush to get on the Fifty Shades bandwagon, we can expect a lot more like this. Evie Blake seems to be a jobbing author who can turn out stuff to order, but this is a bit better than a standard cash-in. Nonetheless, it's not great.
There's a story of sorts, as Blake weaves together the lives of two women separated by nearly a century. Or she doesn't, as there is nothing to link the two for most of the novel, such that by the time a link is established the reader has mostly lost interest. The book is populated by clichéd, stock characters who offer few surprises, and there are plenty of descriptions that simply don't ring true. For instance, Valentina describes in great detail how she uses an old film camera to photograph the reflection of her face and then her most intimate parts in the water of a canal: a feat that would require gravity-defying contortions beyond what the laws of physics will allow; while forgetting that all she would see in the resulting photographs would be the reflection of the camera itself.
The descriptions of sexual activity - and there are a lot of them - are not inspired but are decent enough and Blake maintains an air of mystery throughout. I found that it stretched plausibility too far, but other readers might be more tolerant. I also found the concept of liberation through sex depended too much on female submission to male desire, which isn't very liberating at all.
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