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December 9, 2014

Review: The Betrayed by Heather Graham

The Betrayed (Krewe of Hunters, #14)The Betrayed by Heather Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**I was provided a complimentary copy of The Betrayed in exchange for my honest review.**

I will start by stating that this is the first novel I have read by Heather Graham. I have no experience with any others in the series, or any of her other work, so this is a first for me, all ways around.

It was instantly apparent that Graham’s had mastered her setting and the characters within the her story, as they were all so vivid and clear, but still, I felt that the interactions of the protagonists was gawky and awkward with sub par dialogue that left me feeling unbalanced.

Additionally, this may seem like a small factor to some, but to me it drives me nuts - the over use of the exclamation point!!! It was extremely distracting and absolutely unnecessary. The point was driven by their actions and words; I didn't feel it was necessary to push it further out to the reader!!!

The actions in The Betrayed seemed more about moving from point-A to point-B, with little development or ambiance, thus I felt the character's growth was stymied.

I felt that Mo remained stagnant throughout the story. While she did serve a major purpose, in finding bodies and people, she was rather boring and unaffected, to me. Not exactly unlikeable, but she just didn't offer anything redeeming, drawing me to her. So, there was no like or dislike on my part - just blah; not the best feeling to have about a main character.

As for Aiden he was such a, ah hum, dick to Mo that I was thrown off instantly. Protect, to an almost alpha instinct level, but be a jerk. Nope. I didn't get this relationship at all. It seemed to me that there might have been some back story that I was missing, due to my lack of reading the previous novels, so there's a good chance I was missing something...or not.

On that note, one thing that really bothered me was that a condom scene. My personal feeling is that if you are going to work a condom (safe sex) into the scene, make it about safe sex, not just pregnancy. It really bothered me that they were searching for the nonexistent condom, until she says that she is on birth control. Then, game on?! WTH? Did Ms. Graham forget that the purpose of a condom is to prevent STD's, not simply pregnancy?

I understand, and don't like, the pressure that authors are receiving from their publishers about "safe sex" scenes. It stymies the author, changes the direction of their original story and, in my opinion, this scene is the result. I get that safe sex is mondo important - we all do. But, do we need to have the reminder of it in our fiction now, because of pressure from publishers? I say, no! If I want to write a fantasy about a woman being aggressively taken by an alpha male, dominating every aspect of her body and emotions, why should I have to add a condom scene to appease PR? I shouldn't. We all know safe sex is critical - heck, my thirteen year-old daughter can tell me that - I don't need it pushed into a story, that is was clearly not intended for.

Sorry to take so much time one this one point, but I want publishers to listen. Safe sex is pushed by parents, teachers, the community, heck, even other kids. If an author WANTS to have a condom scene in their story, great! All the more to them. If they don't? Leave it. There's a reason. We all know it's fiction...

On to the next... It's clear to me that the author does a huge amount of research on her settings, as I have never been to Sleepy Hollow, but I could picture exactly what she was describing. It's either that, or she's just that convincing! LOL!!

In the end, I enjoyed my first experience reading work by Heather Graham. Would I read another? Sure. Without a doubt. Am I intrigued enough to start at the beginning and work my way forward? Maybe if she wasn't fourteen books into the series already - while I enjoyed The Betrayed, it wasn't epic, which it would have to be to date-back fourteen books. =)

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