Review: The Butcher and the Beast by Sean Michael

Stephen is a doctor, a practical man who wishes his sister wouldn’t worry so about the pirates that plague their island home. So it’s ironic that Stephen himself is set upon by just those pirates, who carry him off to heal their wounded captain. John is a pirate Captain, master of his fate, and used to getting what he wants. And he decides he wants Stephen, even when the good doctor wants nothing more than to run away from him. Can the beast convince the doctor the sailors call the butcher to stay with him?

Review by Erastes

First off – the cover. I don’t get the cover. I don’t know what that triangular shape is in the middle of the shot, it looks like a nose– I’ve seen this pose on a couple of books now and I still don’t get it. Perhaps it’s sort of like one of those pictures where there’s an old woman and a young woman in the same picture and one day I’ll see what it’s supposed to represent. But it’s creepy.

I admit that I nearly gave up reading within the first six pages due to some extremely clunky prose, and then I wanted to give up when it went downhill from there.

Very hard to ascertain when this was set by the clues set therein. Ether wasn’t used until the 1840s, “roustabout” wasn’t used until 20 years later, “hooligans” not even in the 19th century and yet, pirates were in their heyday a lot earlier than this.

The main character, Stephen, was so obviously a girl that I couldn’t help but think that this book had been converted from a hetero romance to a gay romance without any care for re-characterisation. He stamps his dear little feet, he shouts “Demon. You beast!” at every available opportunity, along with “Unhand me ruffian” and my eyes were rolling madly. As for the Pirate Captain, I think he’s a cat as the only thing he ever seems to do is purr.

The story is predictable: eroticised rape, lots of “unhand me you imprecator of penisy goodness!!” which gradually turns to desire and love–it might hit someone’s buttons but not mine. There’s no plot. It’s just sex.  “Do you do nothing but rut?” asks Stephen at one point. No. He doesn’t.

The editing…well there’s no word for it but appalling. Unforgivable homonyms such as passed instead of past. Missing apostrophes, plurals where there shouldn’t be plurals.  Standard Torquere output. Some people have said that it’s not fair to mention editing in a review but I disagree hugely. The author and the publisher are jointly responsible for bringing a book to the public eye and the book–any book–deserves better than this.

Quite aside from all that, endless repetitive conversations, 90% sex, and the blatant rip off of the Pirates of the Caribbean themes of kidnapping due to a misworded promise and phrases like “so we have an accord,” this is simply a book that will make you laugh, but for all the wrong reasons.  The only research that went on for this book seems to have been watching cliched pirate movies, and is nothing better than a bad wallpaper historical.

I can’t recommend it in the slightest.

Buy at Fictionwise

3 Responses

  1. Have to agree. Not a favorite of mine.

  2. LOL the pose on the cover threw me the first time I saw it used on a Torquere book – it’s a guy leaning backwards and the triangular thing is his arm with his hand behind his head in a flagrantly ‘take me, big boy!’ pose.

    So it’s a POTC/Master and Commander crossover fanfic with the names changed?

    I agree editing should be part of a review. I believe quite strongly in that and would rather know from a review if there’s more than a handful of typos and grammatical errors in the story.

  3. That’s an arm??? Oh, okay. My guess would have been a rather pointy knee. 😀

    Thanks for the warning. Have to admit I didn’t enjoy a previous book by the same author, either.

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