My review contains spoilers and they're are mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Well, my feelings about this series, so far, hasn’t been very positive. But fool that I am, I still keep reading this because I still love GF and her older books (read her whole backlist) would always stay in my mind as something superb! I’m just so frustrated with Inferno Club right now, can’t explain. Sorry for the rant ahead but I’ve got to get this outta my chest.
My Scandalous Viscount was not only meh, but also, annoying and full of my pet peeves and cheesy stuffs. GF tried SO F*CKING HARD to show that Beau is a rakehell that I’m not sure what to say. I hated book 2, just because Rohan was something akin to Beau. I was grossed out, the whole thing was so unsubtle, no intensity between him and Kate. I can repeat almost the same here.
If you haven’t read the whole series, it should be read in order because the books are linked. Max (hero of book 1), Rohan, Jordan (hero of book 3), Drake (hero of book 4) were childhood buddies when they were recruited as spies (among other things) and trained by a Scot named Virgil on behalf of the Order. The Order is a ancient, secret clan and Max, Rohan, Drake and Jordan’s ancestors serviced the Order before them. These men, they frequent this house called the Dante House, which is, outwardly, known as a place for all sorts of debauchery and they are the connoisseurs. But Dante House is actually their meeting place for everything connected to the Order. Now, don’t think it’s all work and no play! They do bring whores and all to ‘keep up the façade’ to the Ton. Yah right! They have an ancient enemy too, the Promethean Council or plainly, the Council. These people are pure evil and want to control the world by any means necessary. The whole concept is quite complex and could’ve been a great series IMO... but it hasn’t been so far. Max wasn’t given the impression as that worse a rake and I liked him in his story but hated the h, Daphne. She was annoying. But Rohan, OMFG, he’d f*ck anything in skirts... He was plain, yuk!! Jordan was something entirely different. He was the brainy sort and I loved the chemistry with his childhood flame Mara a lot. Their’s was the only book in this series that gave me a glimpse of GF’s earlier writing. Drake was held and tortured by the Council members, which we knew from the start and I felt instantly interested in his story. It was not bad, because there were a lot of actions in the end but still, the chemistry between the Drake and Emily didn’t hold me much. We saw an end to the horror of the Council in their book... at least for now.
MSV takes place simultaneously with My Ruthless Prince. Max, Rohan and Jordan are in Waldford Castle, Bavaria to save Drake and Emily, while Drake is planning the big surprise, the showdown of sort because the majority of the Council members were present for a major announcement. Drake had some psychological problems that led the Order men to believe that he’s with the Council. The Order believed Drake might have to be executed if there’s a chance that he’d betray them. Drake was even masquerading and earned the trust of someone important there. In London, Beau, who is a bit junior than the other four, is trying to sort the mess that Virgil’s evil son (brought up by the Council) Niall, left on his wake. They caught the blackguard but couldn’t really do anything. Virgil was killed by him. Without any help from the seniors, Beau is at a loss because now, some of the government MPs are after the Order’s members. Of course, the Crown knows about the Order and its activities but so far, the members had free reign to do anything they will for the safety of the Crown and the world in general. This sleazy MP called Mr. Green has formed a committee and wants Beau, the currently acting head, to answer on behalf of the recent upheavals that the Crown knew somehow involved the Order men.
It all sound soooo serious, doesn’t it??? But actually Beau was spending his time shagging left and right, with various loose women. It’s his pastime, when he’s not working for the Order of course (fail #1). Sadly, he has his eyes on a virgin and virgins aren’t allowed in his menu! Carissa, Daphne’s friend. Beau had been warned off her by Max and Jordan (who has taken a sisterly affection to her, I don’t remember any such thing though) because of Beau’s manwhore reputation. Beau is also very worried about two of his other friends, also works for the Order, Nick and Trevor. Both have disappeared without a trace. We never heard, nor were introduced to any of them in the earlier 4 installments, until I read about them in one of GF’s interviews in some blog with the news that the series will continue after Beau’s story.
Beau comes from a privileged family and his name’s actually Sebastian, though he wasn’t called by that (and thanks to the Book Gods because Sebastian is one of my favorite hero names!). He’s the heir to an Earl and a viscount on his own right. He’s very good looking too, (I think Chris Hemsworth was imagined here, but sadly, NO is my opinion. I actually *heart* CH) and has no conscience about using this to charm any lady he wants, be it a whore or some Ton slut. He has had his fair share of widows, whores and Ton wives. When the story starts, he goes out the door of the opera with a note from this Duchess, to meet her outside for a tryst. Beau is up for anything, anywhere and so, he obliges. But, what he didn’t know that trouble was waiting for him. (I’m not sure how he didn’t get into trouble before with anyone for using his d*ck in every nook and cranny... *eyeroll*)
But Carissa knew of the trouble, or so she thought. Carissa is a ‘snoop’ by her own admission. But she likes to go by the honorable position of a ‘Lady of Irritation’... oops, sorry, ‘Information’! An orphan, Carissa’s background earned a lot of sympathy from me though. She was floating from relatives to relatives until her slutty aunt took her in. Under the woman’s ‘worldly’ guidance and free reign, at a young age, Carissa fell for this dilettante rake, a poet of sort and lost her virginity. After this incident, the rake was shut off with money (which he needed for his opium addiction). Carissa’s Uncle, the Duke is more prudent about these things and was disgusted by his sister’s wrong guidance of his niece. He takes her in his own household, where he had two of his own daughters. Carissa wasn’t abused or neglected but she never had a warm hug or a kiss in turn from anyone. Daphne is by far her closest friend. But, Carissa is very worried that she heard nothing from Daphne or Kate recently. Beau won’t tell her anything but that the women are fine. She heard that their husbands are out on hunting trip or some such thing. But a lady of information can’t just sit back and relax! She snoops to get the information she needs!!! *eyeroll*
There is also Beau, for whom Carissa has fallen like a heavy log. She knows this is bad news but seems like she has an itch for bad boys. She turns into a veritable mush whenever he’s near or bestows one of his ‘beauteous’ smiles on her. It’s not that she hasn’t heard about his ‘scintillating’ character of a manwhore but who cares? If nothing else (not even STD), he’d be at least good with his d*ck. So there she is, snooping again... and then, things go wrong. Carissa finds out the man who sent the note to Beau, following the Orange girl who gave the note to Beau. Yep, she’d been looking at Beau through her opera glasses. Now Carissa thinks it’s her ‘moral duty’ to save Beau from danger, because she thinks he’s in danger. She very well knew that he’s going out for a f*ck with some society hussy and yet, she followed him. She wants to rescue him, mind you! Ugh!! Then again, she was always aware of his sluts everywhere.
So Beau comes out for the tryst, thinking where to do it... maybe in the carriage or something, when he finds Nick instead. We finally know that Nick is giving up on the Order and working as a hired mercenary. He’s also holding Trevor as collateral against the Order men. Beau and Nick have some word exchange on this, with Beau trying to make him understand that it’s just not done. Meanwhile, Carissa was almost back to her sit (and I thought that she’s doing the right thing), when she begins to have the urge to save Beau from harm. Don’t even ask! She comes out of the opera to warn Beau when Nick shoots at Beau, Beau shoots back (friendly fire? Ugh!). Both Beau and Carissa are injured, while Nick flees.
The torture has only just begun!
Beau the moron takes Carissa to Dante House, the closest places he could think about. Carissa gains consciousness but isn’t sure where she is. Oh, well... Dante House (as Beau confirm). She’s like (in her mind) BINGO!!! The best place to snoop and find titillating information about these men! What do they do here actually, apart from diddling whores? Hmm... *think Carissa THINK* After Beau takes care of her injury, which was a minor head wound, he goes to take care of his own with the assistance of the butler. He asks Carissa to stay where she is and rest. Rest? What the hell is that? Nah-uh! The Lady of Irri... Information needs to snoop. As Carissa starts her snooping, she comes across ‘interesting’ revelations, starting from the secret door that Beau used, thinking her unconscious (fail #2). She uses that to get into the dank, dark and secret tunnels of the Dante house to find some crazy things; such as more secretive tunnels, a big hole that leads to somewhere below etc. If you’ve read the earlier installments, you’d recognize these places. But her luck runs out when suddenly her candle goes poof! She’s scared as well and now berating herself for this. Then somehow she finds a ray of light, coming from a concave mirror on the wall... Ooh lala, what’s this... Beau-the-stud in his manly glory? (insert some of the sickening description of Beau’s ‘angelic, manly beauty’, first of many such descriptions) Beau was talking to the butler about the secret Order stuff and Carissa hears it all (fail #3)... OMIGAWD, a spy? OH Meh GOODNESS!! A warrior (insert my snort here) alongside his studly good looks? A manly (manwhore) man? Carissa can’t swoon over him enough!!
But she’s discovered by Beau soon and now they have to marry. One, because she’s compromised by being in Dante House (even though no one still knows where she is). Two, she knows important Order secrets that, apparently, is solved generally by marrying the person (hmm, what if it’s a man??). Three (my opinion), GF needs to refresh her plot structure and characters really badly, because trust me, even the butler wasn’t impressed with Beau (it’s fail #4 in itself because I thought he was more discreet).
Later Beau accompanies Carissa to her house and announces his intentions to her uncle. Her uncle is duly worried, knowing Beau’s scintillating character but Carissa is still a mush where Beau was concerned (thus she can’t hear, see or think, otherwise, an intelligent girl would stay miles away from him), so she’s perfectly ok with this marriage. Beau isn’t happy at first because Carissa seemed not interested in a match with him. It grates because he’s an arrogant little pr*ck (read the first paragraph of chapter 7, and imagine me kicking on his nuts!). But, they eventually marry, blah-di-blah, Beau gives her a host of gifts (which I thought are guilty feelings), making Carissa happy. She now knows about her friends’ whereabouts also. The wedding night proves to be studly, and Carissa is still all swoony over Beau’s skills. But, she didn’t mention her non-virgin state, to which Beau took umbrage! Huh? No, he didn’t push her but in his mind, he gave her time to fess up, which Carissa doesn’t for a while. She thought if she fakes pain and stuff (which she forgot to), Beau won’t notice. Huh??
My reaction? When will this end, God?!
They hold a ball in honor of the marriage. Carissa’s slutty aunt returns from wherever-the-hell-she-was to help her out. It was also her idea that Carissa show ‘olive branches’ to Beau’s ex-sluts because she can’t possibly avoid them always (there are so many of them, probably half the London). Carissa, the good little wife, finds it’s reasonable because she has already been ‘forced’ to accept the fact that her husband was a used up little manwhore. So the little TSTL baggage is ok with this too and even thinks of making friends with them (trust me, the way she was, she’d end up doing just that, even though it wasn’t explicitly mentioned).
Beau’s reactions were not known at that time.
My reaction? *barf*
Nick pays a visit to Carissa when Beau was out arguing with creepy Mr. Green, again, to bide some times for the other Order men. Nick doesn’t say much but asks Carissa to inform Beau that he was here. When he returns, Beau is mad at Nick. How dare Nick come close to his wife? Oh, BTW, Beau is now having all sorts of possessive thoughts about Carissa, which doesn’t, at all go with his manwhore history and thus, I couldn’t believe in his sh*t.
Now Beau wants to investigate what Nick is doing. His assumptions are: Nick has a habit of gambling (when he’s not f*cking anything in skirts and working for the Order that is) and Beau thinks someone owes Nick a big deal of money. To pay that, he’s now letting himself hire as a mercenary killer... Which led them to this French whore, a Madame, who also works with the Order from time to time. Now this Madame Whore, she’s quite the thing. She runs a big gambling house in France, which is part whorehouse and various other shady businesses of hers. As they sail to France to have a look, Carissa asks Beau about her. I knew something gross is coming... and it was. It seems like Madame Whore has ‘an itch’ for the Order boys (I mean, GF had to, HAD TO insert it, gawd!! fail #5). Nick has been her stud boy on and off for quite a while and paid off his gambling debts by servicing her (*gag*). Carissa is shocked and titillated at the same time, after all her own husband is a stud and a rakehell, so what the heck? What Beau the manwhore doesn’t tell her that he has also slept with Madame Whore, even though it was a onetime thingy (and probably a drunken f*ck). I mean you have to hide such a thing from your dainty little wife, right? Didn’t he shag her silly the night before, making her still swooning over his ‘studly’ service.
(Carissa’s words on Beau and his ‘angelic beauty’,‘pink c*ck’ and ‘studly activities’ grated on my nerves. I just wanted to SCREAM at her for being such a twit!)
When they arrive in the gambling house, at first, Beau leaves Carissa in the carriage, mostly because (I felt) he knew she’d discover his f*ckbuddy relationship with Madame Whore. But Beau is a moron of the first order and the Madame manipulates him (as she did him by his d*ck once and reminds him with dirty little description of what they did together). As they talk, Beau finds out his assumptions on Nick are correct. It was the Whore’s idea to work Nick with something else other than his d*ck. Then she asks that in return Beau let her use his d*ck for this night. (seriously?? *facepalm*) Beau very sadly informs her that he is married. Madame Whore is unhappy that her stud boys are getting married one by one, first Rohan the d*ckman, and now Beau the manwhore? Oh, what’ll happen to her old little vagina!? Ok, calm down! Nick is still here and can service her. Yes! She has a hold over him, right? Still in anger (of being denied of Beau’s d*ck and also his insinuation that he prefers his wife to a whore), Madame Whore asks one of her men to bring Carissa in. She even insinuates that Beau’d be ‘back to her’ after he’s bored with his wife.
I WANTED TO KILL THAT WHORE, I was SO f*ckin’ mad!!!! (fail #6)
And Beau, like a little boy-toy without any brains, just gives into her (fail #7). Carissa, of course the expert snoop that she was, sees the guilty glances they share and surmised their relationship but she’s perfectly fine with this, as we already know. She’s even very impressed by everything she’d heard of this Whore (fail #8). Beau, on the other hand, is happy that his wife meets Madame Whore’s approval (fail #9).
I mean What????
After they’re back to London with information, Beau is feeling love-love (O_o) and he’s scared. He doesn’t want his feelings to be known. In between, Carissa’s ex-lover comes to blackmail, which Beau finds out soon and catches them together while making a bargain. Beau doesn’t blame Carissa exclusively (I’d chop his balls off if he did) because apparently, now he knows how those husbands felt when he diddled their wives. Besides it grates him that Carissa doesn’t trust him enough to fess up. With the Order’s current state in shambles, no news from Bavaria, Nick’s activities, Green’s threats and his messy marriage life, Beau finally looses all his screws and goes cold on Carissa; punishing her. OMG, you have no idea what I wanted to do to this vain, arrogant little pr*ck! He turns his back and sends Carissa away to the secret house where other Order wives are residing (fail #10). Carissa breaks down emotionally. Whereas she should be angry at Beau’s asshatty behavior, she finds herself guilty, and over and over again she just berates herself for not fessing up about her lover. That her darling husband thought the worse of her, she can’t take it... I mean WOMAN YOUR HUSBAND WAS A USED UP LITTLE MANWHORE HIMSELF! Why do you keep torturing yourself with this sh*t?
I was sooooooooo bloody pissed and annoyed by this time, can’t even explain!
Then she finds some clues while talking with the other Order wives, that matches with some information that Madame Whore gave them. Now Carissa is scared of Beau’s safety (and the other Order men). She runs out, in the middle of the night, to save her warrior husband.
Someone f*cking kill me now!!!!
This was about 80% of the book and by that time I was sure this is going to be my first 2 star for GF and the last Inferno Club book. But, on the last 6/7 chapters, GF started working her magic and I finally got hooked because of the suspense and the incredible action. I liked those few chapters wayyyyyy better than the rest. Green’s betrayal of the Crown was busted with Carissa’s help *eyeroll*. Beau was still a fail, even though he was made out to be some kind of hero. Nick is now in prison, very narrowly escaping the noose for being a traitor himself, thanks to Beau. The Order’s work is now no longer a grave secret because of something Green did. Max, Rohan, Jordan, Drake and Beau are knighted by Prinny for their services.
Yep, I thought I saw more intensity and meaning in these chapters than the trash I read so far, which is why 3 stars.
For the next installment:
1. From the excerpt, it’s going to be Trevor’s. I’m very interested in him because he was already in love with a girl and not a ‘manwhore’, per say. But in the excerpt, things don’t look well for him. I just hope the poor, lovelorn guy doesn’t turn out to be another of Madame Whore’s victims aka stud boy!
2. The ending showed that a whole new era is opening up for the Order men. We’re still not sure where it’s going.
This ARC was provided to me by Avon/HarperCollins via edelweiss which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.