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REVIEW: The Burning by Susan Squires

Dear Mrs. Squires,

The BurningWell, this is it. The end of the road betwixt you and me and your vampire books. I loved the first book. The hero, the heroine, the whole new world you’d created. I couldn’t wait for the second book. That is until I read the second book. I disliked the second book. I was tired of Asharti, I was tired of vampire ennui, I was seriously tired of heroes getting anally cleansed so they could get it up the ass. Is this the new way to characterize skanky villain sex? Enough already. At one point in The Burning you said “pain and lust and terrible guilt.” You said it all right there. The whole plot of this book.

But I thought, Stephen Sincai is an interesting fellow. Maybe, just maybe, The Burning will take me back to my delight in The Companion. The blurb sounded good and I was ready to go. Until I read it, that is. God…more soaping, more bizarre sex. And guilt. Oh, the endless, all encompassing eternal guilt that Stephen thinks he bears. I’m surprised he can stand up straight under the weight. He should be whipping himself nightly, walking on hot coals or something to atone for all this deep, dark, soul destroying guilt you’ve loaded on him. I really got tired of hearing this over and over at least twice a chapter. Trust me, I got the message the first time.

And the sex. What is it with erotica writers now? Are you all trying to outdo each other with bizarre sex? Does Stephen really have to be sexually tortured by the trio of sister vampire dominatrices for two years? Do we really need *that* many scenes showing him services all three women, multiple times, in one session? Stephen with little chains around his member, Stephen being burned with brands while suppressing his ejaculation, then f*cking a block of ice? “Better Strength Through Sexual Repression” ought to be the Sisters’ motto. And all this is supposed to channel and increase the power of his Companion so that Stephen can be sent to kill “made” vampires?

I had also been interested in the unique heroine you’d created. I thought the handicap of being able to instantly sense everything about a person when she touched them would be cool when combined with Stephen. Only touching him sent her into a coma for 40 pages and we got even more guilt for poor Stephen. And did you have to be so heavy handed with the Blond=Pure Goodness symbolism? Ann is so generous and giving and won’t upset anyone and must be a new form of Romance Martyr. I’ll be honest and admit that when she wouldn’t tell her uncle just what a cocksucking bastard her cousin was and then wouldn’t leave when she still could have just before and after her uncle’s death, I really scared my cat by yelling at my book. Stupid Silly Bitch! This idiot bint deserves to be driven mad when her cousin violates her in all the many ways he’s already told her more than once he’s going to do!

Well, my cat still hasn’t gotten over his fright.

And then the chants that Stephen has to use to control his mighty ejaculations (which can drive vampire women to madness)….Tuatha, rendon, melifant, extonderant. After a while, I would start mentally changing the words. Tofu, radon, mellifluent, exfoliate. See? It’s fun.

And just when I thought things were finally almost over, you put us through it all again. Stephen with the BDSM sisters and Ann in her evil cousin’s clutches. By this point, I was skimming like mad just to end my suffering.

So, you see, I can’t continue to put myself through this, regardless of the fact that I love this cover. Stephen is the only reason this one doesn’t get an F. As it is, D for you.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

7 Comments

  1. Rae
    May 07, 2006 @ 07:01:18

    Your review is a direct hit! As a fellow reviewer, I too loved The Companion and was disappointed with the second book. I passed on reviewing The Burning and was stunned to see that my fellow staffer had hated it even more! What could hae been an outstanding series jumped off the tracks and plummeted from a bridge! It’s a shame.

  2. Jayne
    May 07, 2006 @ 07:23:57

    Jumped off the tracks and plummeted in a plume of flame from the bridge. While screaming. And holding an anvil. It really is a shame that she’s taken this series the way she has.

    I loved her first historical and if she ever writes anything like it again, I hope someone will tell me. But this mess….no more.

  3. Rae
    May 07, 2006 @ 09:05:38

    Agreed….unfortunately she loved my first review and it was featured prominently on her site and in the subsequent books. And I will be seeing her face to face at RT next week. I plan on a disguise…LOL

    Seriously though, my op is that the promise The Companion had was completely undermined by Asharti’s story – like we cared – and Stephen was dragged down the same sordid path. Once started, there was no way to escape total annihilation, which it appears was the case. I hope she is not doing any more with this series.

  4. Jayne
    May 07, 2006 @ 09:53:22

    God, I was so tired of Asharti. The bitch is dead and she still gets talked about all the time in The Burning.

    There is one character who stands out as a possible next heroine and that’s the kindest (actually least cruel would be a better way to phrase it) of the trio vampire sex sisters.

    And you’d better buy a wig and some dark sunglasses. “Read your latest book yet? Um, er, no haven’t had time lately. Bye!” ;)

  5. susan eliz
    May 18, 2006 @ 12:46:22

    i must say i was disppointed in this book. i waited for six months to read Stephan stor
    story in hopes i would find understanding in this relation and desire for Beatrix. all i found was one page that was a repeat of the last book, the last scence of him being in the barn and Beatrix discover that he was Asharti as well. what i was hoping for was was his desire and memoreis of his sexual relationship with Beatrix. at least i found out that he was aware of Asharti dealings with the hire help because i really wonder about that. i also wonder about his reasoning of having a sexual relationship with
    Asharti. i was depress that all he could say about Beatrix was first loves do not last, she did not love him the way he loved her and she had outgrew him. oh please, the poor girl was devastated in finding him in bed with Asharti. How could she have outgrown him in a few sentences where he was explaining to her the reason of his experiment. i would of like to seen his regret of doing what he had done instead of telling Ann Beatrix outgrew him and first loves don’t last.
    The sexual torture by the daughters were awlful. i almost made Stephan look like no
    he had an uncontrolable cock! Licking them, kissing them, sucking the nipples, after the first time around i was tired of reading what they were doing to him.
    Ann was a virgin and read him when she touched him. i did not like the love sence between that she knew what he liked, how to rub his balls. Wait minute here. She is a virgin not a well adverse women knowing everything about sex. This story had so many flaws to it i do not see how the people that always review Susan Squires books gave it such hard marks. The only person i was interested in was Stephan, mostly that i wanted to know more about his past, was his mother a vampire? He had lots of women in his years and i feel he had first love as well and that was Beatrix. in my heart he belong to Beatrix, he should of gone after her, tell her how he loved her instead of beating himself over the head again and again in how she left him. he pushed her away and still he says she outgrew him. i wanted them to have a rare but beautiful baby between them because he did love her even if she was young..
    it is suggest that another book is written on Stephan and Ann and there walks through life, forget it. She was not the true person i wanted him with and not only that the same reasoning he gave Beatrix in being young should of been more of it to Ann. Now , i hope to find other series that will interest me, this one i wasted my money on.

  6. Jayne
    May 18, 2006 @ 19:34:21

    The only person i was interested in was Stephan, mostly that i wanted to know more about his past, was his mother a vampire?

    Good, point about his mother. I remember that he’s supposed to be one of the rare vampire children but nothing else is said about it. I guess that his vampire parent dropped him off at Mirso as a child. At least he/she did more for Stephen than Beatrix’s mother did for her.

    I also wanted to see more of Stephen’s travels around the world. But all we get is a few more piddly things said then it’s back to the sexual torture! Ayyiiiiee, enough of that.

    it is suggest that another book is written on Stephan and Ann and there walks through life, forget it. She was not the true person i wanted him with and not only that the same reasoning he gave Beatrix in being young should of been more of it to Ann.

    Another good point. I was talking about this series with another reader and suggested that after 600 years together, these vampire couples are going to get tired of each other. Talk about “same old, same old!” ;)

  7. susan eliz
    Jun 07, 2006 @ 12:34:47

    Dear Author,
    from what i have been able to review, most of the people like myself did not like the book in several counts. most people wanted to see more of his life, and most wanted to see more of his relation with Beatrix. To Susan her book was a hit, rated by the same people who reviewed her previous two books. she will never know that thought it borning, disturibing and the characters were weak. Did anyone feel he loved Beatrix in this book of his confessions? or did it sound like he blamed her for leaving him.
    i did not feel any spark of his love even with Ann, maybe it was me..maybe all the scenes with the daughters having sex with him and him services them just turned me off. i just did not feel it was the same Stephan that caught my heart in the previous book. All i wanted to know was how did he think he could keep Beatrix when he told her she was nothing more then an expirement to him. There was nothing in this book that held my interest and sadly it ended with Ann winning him over because she knew everything about him.

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