04 May, 2013

Review: The Girl With The Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir

My intention was to love The Girl With The Cat Tattoo.  Other people (people I like and generally agree with) loved it. The cover is absolutely adorable. It's all chick lit and friendly and hipster cool. With a few changes I would have absolutely adored Weir and signed on for her back catalogue. As published, I don't think Weir is for me. I was moved to tweet a few times while reading, here's the first one.

Reading Girl w/ Cat Tattoo. Heroine thinks about taking cat to work. Few pages later, hero suggests it. Concept new. She should flip back.

I have a two per book WTF limit and Weir handily exceeded it. She alternates between grounding her characters firmly in reality and taking them so far into Romancelandia that the reader can't follow. The most egregious examples are a television show segment that would have worked well as a dream sequence but blew the book apart for me instead. It set me up to question everything about the last chapter. (Why would he go? Why would he then do that? How would that work, exactly? Why would the host know? How would the host pull that off? Does that even fit who the host is?) There is, of course, a Bad Dude. When the heroine realizes who he is she is placed in a life threatening situation. At the end of it, the Bad Dude just leaves. He knows the hero and heroine are aware of his transgressions. He thinks he has the evidence they were holding. So he... goes home and I go WTF? Then the hero and heroine decide to have a quickie. And I quickly say OMGWTF? After sex, they traipse off to outfox and shut down Bad Dude. I just couldn't. I get that by Romanceland standards this is hardly unprecedented WTFery. I'm not trying for hypocrisy here. When it was good The Girl With The Cat Tattoo was very very good and when it was bad it was sorta awful.

On the positive side, while this wasn't the first romance I've read that used the animal point of view, it was one of the freshest. The heroine has a cupcake affinity and a cosplay bent. She is very of the moment in her thoughts and interests. The hero was pretty standard issue yet honest enough not to love cupcakes just because the heroine is baking. He's not her only hookup, (although he is the only one after they meet). There is no slut shaming or dude shaming of the prior people in her life. She's young, she's single, and she sometimes gets drunk and takes someone home. Sometimes she falls in love too fast, sometimes she prefers the company of her cat to humans. Melody was well conceived and well executed. I felt like she was a girl I might know instead of a Heroine. I can certainly see why Weir is getting accolades. With less WTF moments I'd be raving about The Girl With The Cat Tattoo, but as it stands I doubt I'll check out Book Two. (Why do all books come in threes now? What happened to the single title? Discuss.)

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