Are Eve and Roarke archetypes?


  1. A very typical example of a certain person or thing.
  2. An original that has been imitated.
Wikipedia has an extra definition:  An epitome— a personality type exemplified, especially the “greatest” such example.
I’ve been listening to some of the In Death books on audio lately and then I found I just had to skim the first 3 books for the Eve and Roarke bits (plus a bit of Portrait in Death too) because I just enjoy them so much.  I started to wonder if because I enjoy them so much I am seeing them everywhere lately – or, are Eve and Roarke archetypes?
 Eve Dallas:
*  kick ass cop
*  devoted to justice and the rule of law
*  tortured childhood
*  tough but has a streak of vulnerability associated with said tortured childhood
*  has very few close relationships
*  criminal past, now (mostly) legitimate
*  super rich at a very young age
*  has his own idea of justice and the value of the law
*  tortured childhood
*  is totally and completely devoted to Eve

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this post is intended in any way to insult any author or suggest anything improper –  as much as there may be similarities, there are plenty of differences and I do not wish to suggest in anyway that the books I discuss below are anything less than original works – all of which I very much enjoyed.  This post only works if I talk about the similarities I see – even if I stretch the analogies occasionally – I’m not here to point out the differences but they’re absolutely there.  For me, being like Eve and Roarke is a compliment.
I read Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke recently.  I was having a bit of trouble getting into it but then suddenly it occurred to me that Mina and Rhys were a bit like Eve and Roarke.  I felt like I all of a sudden had a handle on the characters and found myself sliding happily into enjoyment.  Mina is a very accomplished murder cop, like Eve and Rhys is basically a pirate  who fell into a dukedom.  He’s now super rich and mostly legitimate but he has little regard for the law,  unlike Mina.  (I could totally see Roarke as a pirate – the romantic kind, not the real kind-  if he’d been born earlier).  Both Mina and Rhys had tortured childhoods (albeit for different reasons than Eve and Roarke) and both bear the scars.  Also like Roarke, Rhys is devoted to Mina – so much so that he plans to single-handedly change the hearts and minds of everyone in England (possibly the world) so that Mina will no longer be villified or discriminated against – so she can be happy and they can be together.
In Sylvia Day’s Bared To You, Gideon cross is at least mildly stalkerish – at one point he recreates Eva’s apartment bedroom in his house so that she can be comfortable there.  In Glory in Death, Roarke recreates Eve’s apartment in his own house so that Eve can be comfortable and have her own space.  Because I “know” Roarke, I had no difficulty seeing Gideon’s actions in doing this for Eva as a positive thing rather than super creepy.  And, because I know Roarke, I had little difficulty in accepting Gideon as being the young billionaire (which really is fairly improbable when you think about it – on both cases).
I’m listening to Gunmetal Magic (review to come) at the moment.  It made me think of Kate and Curran.   Like Eve and Roarke they both have family trauma in their pasts (although again, for different reasons).  Like the other man with only one name (yes, I know that Curran has a last name – Lennart – but no-one uses it), Curran’s view of the law (in terms of human law anyway) is less than strict.  He’s fairly young and wealthy, as Beast Lord, he has control over and/or care of significant business and real estate interests and thousands of people.  He’s so devoted to Kate that he’s prepared to walk away from it all to keep her safe.  Curran even has a “Summerset”  in Mahon.  Kate is a private investigator (and before that she was a Knight of the Order of Merciful Aid which was a cop for poor people) and like Eve, values order.  At the start of the series, Kate has virtually no-one she is close to.  But as the series progresses she develops close friendships with Andrea (her “Peabody”?) and Derek and familial ties with Julie and Ascanio (although the latter is a work in progress).  Eve Dallas had Mavis and Feeney in Naked in Death but 30 books later, she has Dr. Mira, Louise and Charles, Peabody and McNab, Nadine Furst – and Roarke of course.  Kate was basically alone as a child – so was Eve. And Kate definitely kicks ass.
In “importing” the characteristics of Eve and Roarke to other characters I also import my love for them – it helped me to connect and find comfort in an unfamiliar setting (as in The Iron Duke).  It helped me see Gideon as more noble than perhaps others who don’t see any Roarke in him would do.  Perhaps it even makes me see more romance in the Kate/Curran dynamic than only appears on the page.
So, my question was: are Eve and Roarke archetypes? It occurs there are three possible answers to that question:
a)  Yes
b)  Yes but only for me
c)   No – late night pizza is dangerous to my synapses
What do you think?

April Reads

on Paper/eBook
Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino – B- Brad Feller is a college student on a fraternity and athletic scholarship who, at the beginning of the book, realises there’s no hiding from himself anymore – he’s gay.  Sebastian is a TA for one of Brad’s history classes and after Brad buys a paper online to get his attention, they start a relationship.  I found the second half of the book much more enjoyable than the first.  I was really struggling to get through the first half, but persisted because Sarah at DA liked it so much.  I didn’t really get the humour in the first part of the book and I did not like the phrase “the nail in the coffin” which Brad’s dad used when he was giving an example of why he thought Brad was gay – that seemed very negative to me.   Some of the phrasing confused me and I had to read over it a few times to work out what was being said and that threw me out of the story at times.  It’s a fairly gentle story with not a lot of conflict – Brad’s coming out is fairly easy from what I could see in the book and any struggle he may have had with being gay had been resolved before the book started.
However, thes scenes when Brad came out to his friend Kyle and later, to the frat itself, were very funny and the sex was definitely hot.  It’s a short book – only 165 pages but it retailed at $6.99 which I thought was pretty pricey.  Between that and the title, I don’t think I would have picked it up at all if not for Sarah’s recommendation. It was one of those rare books where her tastes and mine didn’t quite mesh – go figure.    Am I sorry?  Well, no.  But, I wish I’d managed to buy it on special somewhere.
Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black First off, I really like this cover. Did I like the book though?  Well, I did. But.

It was one of those books where the more I thought about it, the more things I came up with that bothered me.  The men said “I love you” too fast for me to really believe. There was a bit at the end where it took me a few pages to work out what had actually happened.  I might be a bit dense but it wasn’t obvious to me WHAT had actually happened. I thought it was a stunt at first.  The resolution (or lack of) that part of the storyline was a problem too but there wasn’t time to develop the storyline (it took a sharp right turn) or to resolve it properly.
I was uncomfortable (to say the least) with what Jessie did as regards his painting and his betrayal of Lorenzo (I’m sorry, I just can’t call him Mary – Lorenzo’s last name is Maryboy-  or zo-zo – Jesse’s “sex” name for him) by his art.  I was uncomfortable that even though he knew Lorenzo would be upset he said up front he wouldn’t change anything and then he still expected not only forgiveness but happy families too.  After I came out of the book, I thought about how Jesse needed to go to San Francisco from time to time to get the vibe and take in the art scene and how he also needed to go to Marathon to get away.  I’m not sure that where Lorenzo fits in to this was dealt with.  I don’t know that I believed that Lorenzo would be able/happy/comfortable fitting in to the San Francisco scene where I gather things were pretty frenetic.  I wondered whether he’d forever feel an outsider.
I had more sympathy for Lorenzo overall – the story is told from his 1st person POV so I got to know him much better than I did Jesse but I don’t know that I trusted that Lorenzo would be happy with Jesse forever and ever.  He just seemed too flighty to me.  The book was just over 120 pages long so it was pretty short and I’m not sure I was sold on the HEA.  That said, I did enjoy the book while I was reading it.  I liked Lorenzo and I liked the way he thought and spoke.  I enjoyed the parts of the book about his comic strip and the thought process he took to get it up and running.  I liked “The Original” too.   Jesse, I’m not so sure about.   I found this very difficult to grade.  I’m going with a C.

According to Luke (The Gospel of Love #1) by Jackie Barbosa  – B-  Sexy short story about serial monogamist Luke, who finds unexpected love with a close friend.  It moved too fast for me fromt he getting together to the falling in love to the turn around to marriage (but then again, it is a short story).  Certainly entertaining and easy to read.  There aren’t many books told entirely from the male POV and while some of it seemed to me to be more what a woman would want to hear rather than what a man might actually say, a lot of it felt pretty authentic.
At 76 pages, I think $4.99 is too pricey, but I picked it up in the St. Patrick’s day sale at ARe and got a 50% rebate so it’s all good.

Nine Tenths of the Law by LA Witt – C+ Mostly enjoyable story about two guys who were unknowingly dating the same man – one for 6 months, the other for 4 years.  As they work through the betrayal they connect with one another, but the ex (Jake) tries to come between them and jealousy and lack of trust is a continuing problem.  Nathan in particular finds it hard to trust Zach and while that formed the conflict in the story, it did get old.  While I suppose that was the point (the story is told from Zach’s POV), it meant that the end kind of fizzled for me and I’m not sure I bought into Nathan’s about face – what?  he just decides and it’s all better? Some of the sex scenes seemed a bit on the repetitive side but overall, it was an enjoyable enough story.

Sweet Addiction by Maya Banks – see my full review here.

SomebodytoLoveSomebody to Love by Kristan Higgins – B – see my full review here

IsolationIsolation by AB Gayle – C/C-  I reviewed this one for ARRA. I’ll post a link when the review goes live.

Learning from Isaac by Dev Bentham – B/B+  Nathan Kohn is a college professor.  Isaac Wolf is one of his students and 17 years his junior.  It is of course, forbidden for Nathan to have a relationship with a student but it is clear that there is mutual interest and attraction.  Isaac is due to graduate in a few months so they plan to wait to do anything about it.  After Isaac came out to his family, he was disowned and he is now weighed down by student loans and tuition fees. In order to try to get out from under this mountain of debt, he works at a gay club in the back room.  He and Nathan have an encounter there when a friend of Nathan’s takes him out to “buy him a boy”.   In the Chicago area it seems that Isaac is easily recognised and even when he quits being a rent boy, he is constantly recognised and propositioned.  The main conflict between the two men is Isaac’s sex worker past. Nathan doesn’t have a moral conflict with it, but he dislikes being confronted with it all the time.  He starts to feel that Isaac has been with almost every gay man in the Chicago area.  I liked how this was eventually resolved – with Nathan taking responsibility for his own jealousy and their practical solution made sense. I also liked how not a lot was made of the age difference between the two.  At one point Isaac says that it’s Nathan’s hang up, not his and I think Nathan realised that he would only push Isaac away if he kept on worrying at the issue.
While I was reading the story, I was engaged and enjoyed the characters and the writing but after finishing I realised there were a couple of things missing for me.  Early on in the book Isaac comes to class bruised and battered.  It isn’t made clear but I inferred he’d been beaten by a client.  Nothing was made of this in the book at all and I would have liked that explored.    The other main thing which I felt was lacking was that I didn’t see on the page the reasons that Nathan and Isaac felt so deeply for each other.  Part of this might be because it was told from Nathan’s first person POV I guess and maybe because it’s not a super long story at 99 pages.   I saw the attraction and mutual lust but not how that changed into a desire for an long term exclusive relationship.  It just kind of happened without me seeing how it had.    It’s why I’ve dithered on the grade a bit.  It was a B+ when I was reading, but a B when I thought about it later.
There has been discussion around the place recently about the portrayal of female characters in m/m romance and how they are often cardboard, eeeevil and/or absent altogether.    This is one book where that is definitely not the case.  Nathan’s flower child mother is a positive force in his life and students Jane and Sue are also positively portrayed.  The “villains” in this book are all men.
I liked this one better than Moving in Rhythm and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.
 Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day – B+  See my full review here.

Two Tickets to Paradise Anthology (Dreamspinner Press).  Full review to come. (I’m only halfway through!).

Dark Citadel by Cherise Sinclair – C.  I read this after it was recommended on the “If you Like Fifty…” thread on Dear Author.  I hadn’t read this author before and a commenter said the reader “learned” about BDSM along with the main female character so I thought I’d check it out.  First $6.99 for 146 pages?  Really?
Kari goes to the Shadowlands BDSM club for some beginner’s classes with the man she’s been (briefly) dating.  After she doesn’t like his form of “dominance”, she is offered by the boss to continue the lesson with one of the Masters there – Master Dan.  The story takes place over the course of the three beginner’s classes.
It was okay but very heavy on the erotic part of erotic romance.  I can’t really say why I didn’t connect with it super well.  I’ve read very erotic books before and enjoyed them.  But this one was okay but didn’t set my romance loving heart on fire.  As a primer on BDSM, I’m not sure it answered many questions for me, but I did appreciate the “safe, sane and consensual” message of the book.

on Audio
Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann, narrated by Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbank – C  See my full review here.
Ladies Man by Suzanne Brockmann, narrated by Kathe Mazur – B- This was one of Suzanne Brockmann’s earlier category books which was reissued a few years back.  Kathe Mazur does a good job narrating and I appreciated her slight New York accent for Sam and how she brought out his easygoing charm with her narration.    It’s a younger man/older woman story with limo sex!
Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison, narrated by Sophie Eastlake – B-  I reviewed this one for AAR.  You can find it in this column.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley,  narrated by Angela Dawe – B  Angela Dawe does a great job of the narration of this book.  Her Scottish burr for the Mackenzie brothers was very good and I liked the gruffness she instilled in their voices.  I did think her English accent for Beth slipped once in a while towards American, but that didn’t bother me too much.  I actually found myself enjoying the story more in this format than I did in print.  As much as the book was raved over when it was released, I couldn’t find the same enthusiasm myself.  I liked, but did not love it.  On audio however, I found myself connecting more with Ian and Beth than I had before.  For those who haven’t read the book, Lord Ian Mackenzie has some sort of Autism Spectrum Disorder (probably Aspberger’s) but of course, in Queen Victoria’s time there was no name for it.  He is regarded as “mad”.  His father had him locked in an asylum when he was little more than a boy and upon the old Duke’s death, his eldest brother Hart, immediately removed him.  When Ian meets Beth Ackerley, a beautiful widow who has recently inherited some money from a old woman to whom she had been companion, Ian is instantly smitten.   Ian is not like other heroes. He speaks very bluntly.  He doesn’t understand many social cues or  facial expressions and he doesn’t lie or prevaricate.   Beth is the perfect foil for him and I liked how she accepted him, happily and for himself very early on in the piece, never thinking of him as “less”.  Even his brothers, who love him dearly, do this.  At the end of the book Ian comments that everyone has their own madness – perhaps it is just that his is more obvious than others – and so, through Beth, Ian is able to accept himself also.
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, narrated by Lorelie King –  B Charley Davidson is a grim reaper – she sees ghosts and helps them cross to “the other side”.  She’s also a Private Investigator who assists her uncle, police detective Bob Davidson in solving various crimes – usually the ghost can tell her who the killer was.  She is snarky, sarcastic, tough and feisty .  There is a fine line between what is funny to me and what is annoying and Charley skipped over it and back throughout the listen.  In the end, I liked it, but I could hope that the snark will be scaled back a little in future books.   The romance aspect of the story is more along the urban fantasy line than a PNR – there is no HEA/HFN, but more of a hopeful nod.  The love interest is Reyes (pronounced Ray-Us) a gorgeous supernatural being in human form – and it is not until the very end of the book that we find out who he actually is – so I won’t spoil it here.   There is also a bounty hunter called Garrett Swopes who could potentially form part of a love triangle, but it didn’t happen in this book. I’m not really sure what he’s doing in the book to be honest.
Lorelie King is an excellent narrator.  I have listened to her narrating Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series and it was a little challenging to remember that Charley and Mercy are very different characters.  There are some similarities but Charley is way more over the top than Mercy ever could be.  Lorelie King has the ability to do male voices (a variety of them) very convincingly and she has more than one female character voice too.  I think I would have enjoyed this book less in print and I plan to continue the series in audio.  I’m pretty sure that this is the author’s debut so I’m expecting her writing to only improve with time.
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe, narrated by Rob Lowe – B Enjoyable listening from the sexy-voiced Rob Lowe.  I would have liked a lot more detail about The West Wing, but, otherwise, a fascinating glimpse into Hollywood and the 80’s movies I grew up with.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Why I read it: I picked this one up on NetGalley.  To be honest, the blurb didn’t sell me – it was kind of confusing and didn’t tell me what I wanted to know but I’ve read and enjoyed Sylvia Day before so I decided to give it a whirl.

What it’s about: Because I thought the blurb wasn’t very helpful, I’m not going to copy and paste this one – so I’ll give you my own.  Eva Trammell (24) moves to New York with her gay BFF Cary from California to pursue a career in advertising.  She is the stepdaughter of a very rich man and so has a lovely apartment (which she shares with Cary) but has insisted on an entry level job which she obtained without his help.  She works at the Crossfire Building and there she (literally) runs into Gideon Cross, a 28 year old bazillionaire.  There is instant connection. Instant and sizzling lust.   But, both Eva and Gideon have past traumas which come back to haunt them – can they have a successful relationship?  Are they soul mates or are they destined to flash, crash and burn?
What worked for me (and what didn’t):   With all the hype about Fifty Shades of Grey (50SOG) around the place, it is hard not to make a comparison between it and Bared To You.   I havent’ read 50SOG and I don’t plan to.  But, from what I’ve read about it, I think that Bared To You is what 50SOG could have been, maybe aspired to be (if it had left out many fanfic conventions and had some savvy editing)^.    Like 50SOG, there is a bit of the Harlequin Presents (HP) about this story. 

But, Bared To You takes a few somewhat old tired tropes, equalises and modernises and creates something compelling and different and good.  *rubs hands together*

Unlike (what I understand of) Ana, Eva is a little older and definitely not naive (she’s not clumsy either ETA – she does fall over when she and Gideon first meet, but she’s not generally a klutz).  She is sexually experienced and not afraid to express her desires or take the lead in her sexual encounters with Gideon.

“Don’t burn off too much energy,” I whispered. “I want you missionary-style the first time.  I’ve been having this fantasy of you on top, banging the hell out of me.”

She even shows him a thing or two (limo sex!).   Eva does not depend on Gideon for a place to live, friends, affection, a job.  She is not physically helpless (she’s learning Krav Maga).  Because of a rich stepfather, she doesn’t depend on Gideon for money either.  Plus, she has a job and ambition of her own.  That changes the dynamic straight away from many HP’s I think (and 50SOG too).  Gideon is a super bazillionaire sure, but in his relationship with Eva, I’d argue that it is she who mostly has the upper hand.  He’s jealous but so is she.  She makes demands very early on about a particular female acquaintance of his and he accedes – she is in the power position from the start.

Gideon wants sex with Eva from the beginning. But Eva doesn’t do sex that way.  She needs some sort of relationship, a connection, before being physically intimate with someone.  She doesn’t need hearts and flowers necessarily, but she doesn’t want to be “a vagina on legs” either.  She needs to know that Gideon wants her for her, not just because she’s convenient.   Gideon does not do this.  Ever*.  But, such is his obsession for her, that he very quickly agrees to “review and revise” in order to have her.  Gideon separates things in his life.  There is work, there are friends and there are sex partners.  They do not mesh.  A relationship where there is time spent with a sex partner “not actively fucking” is not on his agenda.  But, for Eva…

“Eva… If you just tell me what you want -” his throat worked on a swallow.  “I can become whatever you need.  If you give me the chance. Just don’t… don’t give up on me.”

It is not very long after that first “revision” that Gideon’s rules change again and he’s diving headlong into a traditional and exclusive relationship.  He wants to be with Eva all the time.  He can’t get enough of her.
This might be creepy except that Eva feels the same way about him.  It is the mutuality of the obsession which, I think, makes this book work so well.  Where Gideon shows dominance and “mastery” the reader sees it from Eva’s POV and therefore is implicitly aware of both her consent and her reciprocal feelings.  Where Gideon crosses a line (and he does from time to time), Eva calls him on it.  Refreshingly, Gideon quickly recognises where he went wrong each time (for the most part) and gives a genuine apology and then changes the behaviour (or at least, makes a good faith effort). 
He calls Eva out too and fairly.

 “I can let you in, Eva. I’m trying.  But your first response when I screw up is to run away.  You do it every time and I can’t stand feeling like any moment I’m going to do or say something wrong and you’re going to bolt.”

Their relationship is very HP over-the-top dramatic – in fact, one of the secondary character in the book refer to it being better than a soap opera – the angst factor is intentionally dialled up to 11.

However, as much as there is on again/off again, the problems seem realistic and they are dealt with pretty quickly so there’s not lots of time where the couple are apart (another plus for me).

The writing is spare and yet evocative and I was completely hooked.

To call either of us virgins would be ridiculous, yet emotionally that’s just what we were.  Fumbling in the dark and too eager, completely out of our depths and self-conscious, trying to impress and missing all the subtle nuances.

The last 100 pages – read after a break of a day and a half (due to time issues not lack of interest) – didn’t work quite so well for me as the first part of the book had.  I wonder if I would have felt that way if I’d managed to read this in one sitting? The last part of the book, far from resolving their many issues, mainly served to introduce new ones.  And, it is here there is a discussion about D/s aspects to their relationship.  Gideon says he will take Eva any way he can have her but he believes that she needs the submission to be truly satisfied. Or, at least, I think that’s what he was saying. The conversation gets hijacked (as conversations often do) and I didn’t think Gideon was able to get back to his main point – therefore, to me it felt loose and unclear – I didn’t know exactly what had been in his mind to say and there weren’t enough clues for me in the text for me to put it entirely together.   I felt that this aspect of the relationship was introduced a bit late into the story as well – this was over 2/3 into the book.

I was also a bit nonplussed by the introduction, so late in the book, of the Corinne character and it seemed inconsistent* to me. Given his previous history with Corinne does that make the set up for Gideon’s character inaccurate – the part about him not doing relationships? And, with Gideon’s previous growth that he could be so clueless about her effect on Eva.

There was also a character by the name of Dr. Terry Lucas introduced around that time which confused me a little – it is clear he knows Gideon and there is history between them of some sort but he had such a small part to play in the book that I wondered why he was there.  Perhaps the answer is to consider Bared To You like Part I of a miniseries and taken as a whole the story will feel more balanced?

I did find this book compelling and angsty and sexy and dark and Gideon was sighworthy.

“Talk to me Eva, so I can tell you it’ll be okay.”

I enjoyed seeing his vulnerability to Eva and his complete intoxication with her. 

“Oh, Eva.”  He rubbed his cheek against my damp face. “I must’ve wished for you so hard and so often you had no choice but to come true.”

If Eva hadn’t have felt the same about Gideon though it would have just been stalkerish behaviour, but instead, their mutual obsession was compelling reading.

What else? The book does finish abruptly and there are many issues left unresolved.  While the couple are together at the end, I didn’t feel at all confident they had worked out enough of their issues to be certain they would make it.  On the one hand, I’m glad there will be another book (due out in October) so those issues can be explored.  On the other, will it be too much?  Will I be as engrossed or just exhausted by all the drama?  As much as the last 20 pages introduced a whole slew of new problems, there were some problems (e.g., Gideon’s traumatic past) which were barely touched upon – so there is plenty of conflict set up for the next book.

I did enjoy this book and I’m seriously hoping that the author can pull off the delicate balance between resolving their many problems, giving them a believable HEA and keeping everything interesting without becoming caricatured.  I have my fingers crossed and roll on October!

In the meantime, if you like sexy, dark and angsty,  go and read this book!!

Grade: B+

^In fact, Jane_L (from Dear Author) and LizMc2 and I had a Twitter conversation about this very thing.  Also, Jane wrote this review of Bared To You on April 7 and she actually said there that Bared To You was what 50SOG could have been, so she agrees with me.  Or rather, because she said it first, I agree with her! 🙂

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