The Serpent Prince (Princes Trilogy, #3)

The Serpent Prince (Princes Trilogy, #3) - Elizabeth Hoyt I was seriously enjoying this book up until it fell apart a little for me at the 75% mark when Lucy did something that I thought was very much out of character and left Simon!!! (thankfully she comes to her senses on her own, but still! I thought she was more of a fighter for what she wanted and the man she loved. Sheesh!). Before that part, I devoured this story and thought the portrayal of Simon's obsession with, and falling for, Lucy was wonderful, intense, and romantic.

Simon is a viscount, an urbane Londonite, an expert swordsman, and a man hellbent on seeking bloody revenge for a grossly unjust crime done unto his family for which the perpetrators were never punished. This vengeance - both the duels he's fought in pursuit of it and the action against his family that led to it - haunts him and eats away at him from within. He's quite a tortured soul, and he's utterly fascinated when fate (and, indirectly, his vengeance) throws him into the path of a pure-hearted and honest country miss, Lucy Craddock-Hayes.

For her part, Lucy has never met anyone like Simon, and she finds herself awakening to a whole new potential world out there. He makes her feel alive, and Lucy's determined to unveil the man hiding behind Simon's carefree wit and gilded sophistication. While I think she succeeds in unmasking him to an admirable extent, I think we may have needed a little more heroine self-badgering and revelatory moments towards the end, after she remedied her aforementioned uncharacteristic actions. I'm just not entirely convinced that she loved him and knew him enough at that point, since she still went ahead and (selfishly, in my opinion) did That Which Shall Be Hidden By Spoiler Tags.

With all that being said, I really liked this story and just felt that That Spoiler Thing was a speed bump in an otherwise very nice romance. I think it would have played more to character if she'd done otherwise, plus it would've made for some deeper character interactions. Also, I didn't feel that The Serpent Prince story was as well-integrated into this book as the fairy tale stories were in the other books in the trilogy.

Overall, I'd say a 3.5/4-minus read for me, and I think I need to go make my rating for The Raven Prince a 4.5/5 star rating because (a) it's been weeks since I finished it and I still think about rereading some parts, (b) it really is an excellent story, and (c) I just spent the last couple of days trolling around Amazon and eBay to find a copy (with the original cover!). *shameless grin*