Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Vampires are Forever (Argeneau #8) by Lynsay Sands

The Argeneau family matriarch Marguerite has gone missing.  Thomas has always been considered the irresponsible one in the family but when all of Marguerite's children find themselves entangled in commitments that are difficult to separate themselves from, it becomes Thomas's job to fly to London and locate his missing aunt. To help on this task, Bastien assigns the vice president of U.K productions for Ageneau industries, Inez Urso to help.  The search will take the two on a dangerous small European romp, with Thomas realising that somehow in the midst of all of the family drama going on that not only has he met his life mate but he has to find a way to woo her while keeping her safe from danger.

As with all of the Argeneau series, Vampires Are Forever, is essentially a paranormal romance with mystery thrown in as sort of an aside. The mystery gives the characters something to do while supposedly falling in love lust (supposedly because people don't fall in love in a week without the woo woo Sands uses).  Thankfully, because the missing character is Marguerite, it means that her children make an appearance in the story giving the readers a chance  to see a little bit of what has been going on with them.  Though each Argeneau novel is essentially a one off, the family connection helps to tie the books together.  

In this book, Inez is the female love interest and other than the fact that she speaks Portuguese when she is angry or horny, we don't get much of a cultural sense from her.  I really found this annoying because despite the fact that this series moved from the United States and Canada to Europe, it still reads like a one note cultural mishmash.  It's now book number eight and we have yet to meet any people of colour.  Inez being Portuguese with dark curly hair, is as close as we have gotten so far.  Where are all of the people of colour in this series?

Inez spends most of her time being fixated on the fact that she is twenty pounds over weight, is too curvy and has breasts that are too large. Does that remind anyone else of Merry Gentry?  It's just a ridiculous trope to have a female protagonist who is described as conventionally beautiful in every scene, then  have her whine about her large breasts and being too curvy.  Every time it happened, I found myself rolling my eyes.  Furthermore, if Inez had managed to work her way up to a vice president position, why exactly is she so socially inept?  Why does she have absolutely zero confidence in herself?  Why does she need Thomas to repeatedly tell her how smart, and sexy she is?  Calling Lynsay Sands, can we get a protagonist with a spine and a personality please? 

Much of the Argeneau series has touches of humor laced into the story and unfortunately, this element is missing from Vampires are Forever.  I think Sands tried to go that way when she had Thomas drink the vampire equivalent to Spanish Fly but it didn't go anywhere beyond making Thomas horny, which was going to happen anyway.  Reading about a man whining that he has an erection that he cannot satisfy becomes boring quickly.  I just kept wondering why the hell he didn't just masturbate in the shower like every other guy in creation and take care of it himself, instead of complaining about having a hard on?  If Sands has just added a little of her customary humor to this story, it might well have been tolerable but as it is, I found myself suffering to get through each page.

As aforementioned, Vampires are Forever has no people of colour.  Continuing on with the history of erasure in the Argeneau series, it has no LGBT characters either.  How is it exactly that all of the GLBT people simple vanished off the European continent?  Sands couldn't be even to put a same sex couple on the street of Amsterdam, when Thomas and Inez were sight seeing and instead we learned about people doing their shopping and having a girls day out together.  Apparently, GLBT people don't even rate becoming quick passing mentions in the series and the fact that this is now book eight, makes the erasure rather glaring.

Whenever I pick up a book in the Argeneau series, I don't expect high literature but a quick easy romance with a bit of humor tossed in.  Without this humor, I was left with a whiny female love interest and a patronizing male love interest who we are told ad nauseam was raised to open a door for a woman, grab her arm to lead her around and of course, match his pace with hers.  Considering that Inez and Thomas were the center of this story it was disappointing that they were both so flat and uninteresting.  If the book had been any longer than 229 pages, I doubt I would have been able to finish it.