Genre: erotic romance
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Berkley
ISBN 0425247538 (ISBN13: 9780425247532)
Summary via Goodreads:
Enticed to the island paradise where an enigmatic prince is living in exile, beautiful, virginal Talia is introduced to a world of forbidden pleasure where the prince's every whim is fulfilled and her fantasies are rendered in exquisite detail. But when the prince is summoned back to fulfill his duty to his struggling country, reality is thrust upon Talia all too soon. She returns home, heartbroken, convinced she was a passing fancy for an idle ruler and his most trusted men. Until the day they arrive on her doorstep, determined to have her back where she belongs.
Exiled was going to be my introduction to Maya Banks as an author and I looked forward to it. The blurb almost had an 80’s harlequin romance feel to it. Wealthy prince of an exotic land, an innocent woman whisked away to a place where they meet and romance would blossom. It made me a bit nostalgic but that feeling faded away quickly while reading the first chapters. Right then I didn’t know if Xander was going to be my kind of hero. I found him obnoxious in his demands and alpha behavior. I like it when a hero shows his devotion through his love but Xander pampered, Talia. She was to be treated like fragile porcelain, every wish of Talia should be fulfilled and it rubbed me the wrong way.
Talia was also a character I couldn’t connect with. She was somewhat clumsy, innocent, and the repetitiveness of her inner dialogues of what she was; whore, lover or mistress, was becoming boring really quickly. She signed a contract, knew what was expected of her, at some point I begged her to grow some sort of spine and just follow through on her promise she made in that contract! Also the fact that she instantly submitted her will to four men, without any emotional conflict felt very unrealistic.
The introduction of Xanders trusted confidantes, Sebastien, Nico and Garron, was interesting and they had enough characteristics for them to come alive. With all characters in play Maya Banks took some time to lead up to the night where Talia’s prized possession, her virginity, was to be taken. Of course as Alpha of the pack there was no question this was going to be Xander’s privilege. After that night it felt like reading a ‘red shoe diary’ story of sexual play between the handful of characters on a beautiful island. There was little to none emotional conflict or development. From beginning till end the characters remained the same only at the end the external conflict was solved and Xander and Talia professed their love. Too much sunshine and daisies for my taste to draw me in at any level.
The plot, where Xander was exiled from his country because rebellions took over his country, was nice in the set up but never did I feel any suspense or danger. And then the resolution, it made me roll my eyes as I read it. It was so easy, it almost felt like an afterthought and this added to the disconnected feeling I had regarding the whole story. I have no doubt the characters liked each other, there was definitely some fiery sex play between them but as a polyamorous romance it didn’t even came in the vicinity of hitting the bulls eye.
I’m not a fan of stories where all that is offered is romance fluff. I need a certain character growth and conflict for them to work through will it be able to give me a satisfying level of emotional gratification at the end. Plus it also left me with a double-edged feeling towards the happily ever after, Xander and Talia got their fairytale ending, but the three friends get what? Exiled just didn’t work for my across the whole of it.
Tomorrow I'll have the second story; Sway by Lauren Dane up for review.
“Fucking a beautiful woman,” Sebastien said sardonically. “Such a chore. I think we should ask for raises.”
Xander’s gaze sharpened. “You won’t be fucking her, Bastien. You’re going to worship her and pleasure her as you’ve never pleasured another woman.”
“I have no problem with that at all,” Sebastien said in a lazy voice that was full of satisfaction – and anticipation.
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