Title: The Bourbon Kings
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings, book 1
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Source: Review copy from publisher
For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.
For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.
As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.
J.R. Ward is one of the authors to whom I owe thanks for made me fall in love with books again, after many years of not reading. I remember, years back, when I discovered The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and how much I loved those books. But although, the first seven or eight books will always hold a special place in my heart, I cannot say the same of the last installments. Unfortunately after many unsatisfactory books I decided to give up on that series. Despite that, I still had faith in J.R. Ward and her talent as an author. For that same reason I was very happy when I hear she was writing a new non-paranormal series. I thought that maybe this new series would be another great hit as the first installments of BDB were for me. Sadly, that was not the case, and now, after weeks of trying to finish reading The Bourbon Kings I have to be honest with myself and with an aching heart, DNF the book.
I tried, I really tried to finish it. I read couple of chapters at a time. I tried to find something good in each of them. I tried to find something to connect with the characters or with the story, but after many fail intents and only reaching the 40% mark in five weeks, I just couldn’t continue, I knew it was time to quit.
My problems with The Bourbon Kings were too many, but I’m going to tell you some of them for you to get an idea. My biggest problem is that it reads like a 80s soap opera and I hate soap operas. My second problem was with the characters. Apart from Lizzie, none of the other characters have any appealing qualities. They all felt like caricatures of spoiled kids. Lane, the “hero” is married, he abandoned his wife in his family home and lived for two years in New York, sleeping on a friend’s couch, drinking and gambling everyday, with not care of the world because he didn’t want to do the mature way and confront his problems, and I, as a reader, I’m supposed to liked him and understand his behavior because he was brokenhearted. Now, thanks to unforeseen circumstances he’s back to his family house and wants to save what he had with Lizzie (who is not his wife) and doesn’t take no for an answer. Really? No, no and no. Why he didn’t do that months/years back if he really wanted her in his life.
The other characters are the same or worse. Lane’s sister Gin is Mrs. Rich Girl Clichés and so over the top that she was annoying and not compelling. The other siblings and parent figure don’t fall far from this characterization.
Another thing that I hated in the last BDB books and is also present in this book is the brand name dropping. There was a scene, with Gin, in which I counted 20+ different products named, from clothes, to jewelry, to cars. 20+ times in one scene!!!
For those and more reason I’m DNF-ing The Bourbon Kings, and with a broken heart, I’m also breaking up with J.R. Ward.
My Verdict: DNF
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