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A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
She lives in the midwestern U.S. with one of her significant others, and sees her other SOs not nearly often enough, because teleporters have inconveniently not been invented yet. If you would like far, far too much information on her, she has been keeping a LiveJournal for over ten years, and never did learn how to write briefly. Her obligatory Author's Cat is named Kali. Kali doesn't know she's not a greatcat. Shhh. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- Publication Date : June 23, 2015
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 644 pages
- File Size : 3064 KB
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B0109K63A6
- Publisher : Delight in Books; 1st Edition (June 23, 2015)
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #655,266 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In terms of story, I'd give this a 4. It's a rather simple plot and has some sudden tonal shifts that I didn't like (particularly the sudden explicitly described torture), but overall I was charmed by the main trio. I especially loved Wisteria and seeing how a woman who does not understand the unspoken language of social interaction would navigate a Regency-esque setting.
The score lowered to 3 because the writing occasionally went on tangents that became a bit tedious for my tastes. Exposition dumps on world building sometimes didn't flow very well or simply went on too long with information that wasn't really relevant to the plot. Sometimes the characters's internal monologues became repetitive and long-winded. Not a major flaw, but I am accustomed to reading very long-winded fantasies without ever feeling the desire to skim... so it influenced my score here. I also really wasn't a fan of how they rendered accent into the dialogue, making it so exaggerated at times that it was difficult to decipher what the heck those characters were saying.
The romance, of course, is the thrust of the story, but as with all great romances, it's really about the characters. Three people with their own flaws are pulled together . . and pushed apart . . until, finally (not really a spoiler), the title comes through in the end.
As with all of Rowyn's stories, her world-building is amazing. Somehow, with zero exposition, she manages to craft a whole world with surprising depth and complexity. Yes, it's a bit of a regency pastiche, but there is more to it. Religion, for once, is not an afterthought, but an important part of the story.
All over, a delightful tale.
One warning: There is a small amount of pretty graphic M/M sex, which may not be everyone's cup of tea.
That being said, I’m a crazy fast reader, and I loved the good stuff. The book description makes this sound like a standard real-world historical romance with polyamory. I glanced at some Amazon review headlines and saw something about cats, my favorite animal. I was delightfully surprised when I started reading and found out that the cats were, in fact, a race of giant sentient beings in a speculative fiction setting. Combine that with characters who include representation of bisexuality and autism, and I was more than hooked.
Again, this book isn’t going to be for everybody because of the length (much of which is “I did all this world building! Let me show you it!”) and the surprise fantasy element that is not well advertised by the description. But if neither of those things deters you, this is a happily ever after worth taking a chance on.
The story centers around three characters, Lord Nikola Striker, Miss Wisteria Vasillver, and Lord Justin Comfrey, their lives and their relationship to one another. The story does have third person narration, but the focus is on one of these three characters and changes by chapter as the plot demands.
Nik is a mind healer, a person able to see another's mind through physical skin-to-skin contact, and at the brink of poverty (for a nobleman). His parents live outside their means because they don't want to appear destitute to their peers, and are pushing Nik to marry so that he could receive a dowery from his wife and produce heirs, while Nik doesn't really care if he wears the same suit each year for the same parties and isn't interested in marriage. Despite not really careing what his parents and his peers think he should do or act, Nik can't help but feel inadequet for not meeting those standards, so sometimes he lets his family bully him into things he really doesn't want to do, like going to a marriage interview with the Vasilver family.
Wisteria Vasilver also battles with feelings of inadequency, but for completely different reasons. She is the only daughter of the Vasilver family, a family of traders, and the best business analyst in her family's company. When it comes to profits, risk assessment, negotiating business deals, and production efficiency there is no one better, but many people view her as 'cold' and 'unnatural' because she has difficulty showing emotion. She does feel emotions, but for some reason she just can't express it on her face. Wisteria is also very bad at reading nonverbal cues in other people, and often times inadvertently insults others because of her blunt speech and 'inappropriate topics'.
And then there is Justin, the master of hiding his own inappropriateness. He is Nik's best friend, a successful lord and business man, well connected, and is generally liked by everone. He is also gay (spoilers, but not really. This comes out within the first five chapters of the book and is a major part of the plot). Unlike Wisteria or Nik, Justin doesn't exactly struggle with feelings of shame or inadequacy, even though everything in his society tells him he should, but he does often regret how his own personal preferences get in the way of attaining long standing happiness.
The thing I really like about this book as that the characters feel so real. They do feel things like shame, regret, sadness, and inadequacy for not being able to live up to the strict standards their society and family tell them they should be, but none of them wallow in those feelings either. They mostly make the best of their situations while still trying to maintain their own identies. Emotions are also a really difficult thing to describe, especially messy ones like obligation and shame, but the author's descriptions are always spot on.
And the thing that amazes me the most is that this is L. Rowyn's debute novel (as far as I know, L. Rowyn might just be a pen name for an author who doesn't want a book with homosexuality and polyamory tied to them). This is a really well polished, well thought out book for a debute novel. There are no awkward passages, or meaningless scenes, or shoddy descriptions. Everything fits together in this story beautifully and with a surprising amount of depth. Its a book that challenges the idea of what is 'normal' and 'acceptable'. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a great read to add to their collection.
Warning, though, if you are offended by sex scenes, homosexuality, polyamory, or graphic torture then this is not the book for you.
Top reviews from other countries
To briefly summarize the story, Justin and Nikola have been lovers for six years. Justin is the Viscount Comfrey, wealthy with strong financial acumen, physically fit, handsome, of social renown, lives behind a mask and avoids showing his true nature. Nikola is the heir of an impoverish Count, as well a Blessed in mind-healing. He is what you would aim in a husband: handsome, full of integrity, honest, considerate and loyal. Our male protagonists lust for and love each other, but the latter is something they would never reveal to one another. Justin wants to take care of Nikola financially, and Nikola in response feels been bought for his body. So there is tension and misunderstanding between them.
Enters Wisteria, highly intelligent and with an impressive dowry gentlewoman. Nikola's parent are relying on him to enter into a marriage contract for financial benefit so Nikola was predisposed to dislike Wisteria at the first meeting. She leaves them with quite an impression by presenting a marriage document, listing the pros and cons of their match, and also including a section on procreation, which is not something done and is taken badly by Nikola's parent. Nikola on the other hand, is.. amused and intrigued by this. He keeps Wisteria's document on him through a good portion of the story, reading and re-reading her proposal. Thus begin their story :) Nikola appreciates Wisteria's honesty and forthcomingness, and gradually falls in love with her and her other bits of personality.
The beginning of Wisteria and Justin is alike. Wisteria stands out as having a high acumen in finances. Justin finds her boyish physique attractive. Her indifference, calm and cool exterior and never smiling face piques Justin's interest. So he decides to unravel the enigma that is Wisteria and gradually loves her as he gets to know her better.
The storytelling is nicely done here. We get to learn and love the three protagonist, all their pluses and minuses. We get a deep understanding of their lives and actions, and how they each react to events that threaten their lives. Their world and emotions are realistic. I strongly recommend this book if you don't mind a 3 person relation + bisexualism.