Twice Fallen (Ladies in Waiting #2) - Emma Wildes This was a weird one, friends. I almost rated Twice Fallen 2 stars to be generous - I did finish it, after all - until I remembered that a whole lot of nothing happens in this book. I'm not saying that the book is plotless, but I do think I read books with more plot in elementary school.

My main complaint is the lack of focus on the main characters. According to the blurb, Twice Fallen is about wartime spy Lord Damien and ruined spinster Lady Lillian becoming embroiled in a Ton mystery together. I expected some love wangst, some implausible sex scenes, and a tortured confession by one of them that they could never really love. Maybe some danger and knife fights. You know, a story about the main characters. Unfortunately, what I got instead were some glossed-over encounters between Damien and Lily, a half-baked mystery plot, and a shitload of scenes between a secondary couple that had next-to-nothing to do with the main plot.

In the first 100 pages, Damien and Lily take part in a couple brief conversations. That's it. They check each other out, she wonders about his crippled leg, he wonders why she's still single, and then they go their separate ways. Damien gets a few pages of text due to the fact he's getting pulled into some spy plot to track down the person blackmailing and sometimes killing aristocrats, but that's about it. We're told that Damien's a super awesome spy and that Lily's intelligent and, of course, "different than the other girls in her social circle," but they do nothing to support these claims. Everything is told to us instead of shown.

On the other hand, in the same 100 pages, the secondary couple - consisting of Lily's cousin James and some lady named Regina - have sex a whopping 4 times, three of which are written in full-blown sex scene mode. We don't see how they meet or why they become attracted to one another. I just opened up Chapter 4, and BAM! Two virtual strangers are fucking all over the place. James and Regina aren't bad characters, but their insertion into the story is so random and jarring that I kept wondering, "Why the hell are these people in my book?" There isn't any juxtaposing of the couples or social meshing. It would go from Damien nosing around about Lily's life and making a big deal about his limp straight to James and Regina meeting up and banging in an art studio. Near the end, the couple do end up in the same place. I think that was supposed to be significant, but I didn't really care at that point. So what? In Regina's defense, she does save Lily from a knife-wielding mad-woman by literally happening upon the scene. It was unintentionally hilarious because Lily has no idea who Regina is, nor does Damien when he enters the scene, because NONE OF THEM HAVE FREAKING MET YET.

By the time Damien and Lily have sex, it seems incredibly rushed and out-of-the-blue. One moment, they share politely inquisitive glances in ballrooms, and the next, Damien decides he can't live another minute without banging her. If a little more time had been spent developing these characters and their relationship, the timing for their hook-up would have been splendid. Unfortunately, they just seemed like strangers who had dragged me through a whole lot of misdirecting filler to get to an underwhelming declaration of mutual lust. The shame in it is that Damien and Lily seem like cool people. Neither of them particularly offended me, even if they didn't interest me. Unfortunately, no time was put into developing them into full characters, which seemed like a waste. There are no real obstacles in Damien and Lily's relationship. I'm not exaggerating, either. Not even a misunderstanding to stoke the flames. Just a bunch of blah, blah, blah.

So I definitely wasn't impressed with this story. It's also part of a series, and the epilogue suggested that the next book will be focused on a frumpy little miss who likes to garden and also likes to complain about people who don't understand her and also people who don't garden. Or maybe it will actually be about some distant cousin of the frumpy miss's who has an affair with Hero A from Book X's cousin. I won't be buying the next one to find out.