So after we tore apart Fabio’s Viking, I decided to see what his ghostwriter, Eugenia Riley, could do when not hampered by Fabio’s weird cholesterol fetish. The result was… not pretty.
But I couldn’t do this review on my own, so I called in some help.
Jeremy Renner. BECAUSE HIS FACE.
You’re WELCOME, Bitchery.
First off, this fucking ebook was typeset in COURIER. COURIER.
So the premise is that we have Missy, a modern woman in 1992 Memphis who runs her parents’ ball bearing plant, who is about to get married to Jeff, who runs his parents’ tubing plant. (Monroe Ball Bearing and Dalton Steel Tubing. Yeah.) They are getting married because… it’s not all that clear, because neither of them like the other one, it just seems like a good idea ot have a merger of the two families.
Missy describes herself as a modern, liberated woman who one the one hand wishes she and Jeff could have a passionate, knock down, drag out fight about anything, but on the other says she would never put up with that shit because she’s… a modern liberated woman.
Jeff can never love again because his One True Love died in a car crash when he was in college right after they had sex and he hates Missy but will never love again so he may as well get married to someone. (She tries to seduce him the night before the wedding and he gets all angry about it.) (The line “What if her stud was a dud?” was actually in the book.)
At the same time, except 140 years before, Missy’s distant cousin Melissa is also on the eve of her wedding, to a neighboring plantation owner because they contracted the marriage at her birth. She is a total milksop, with no spine, no opinions, and is terrified of all the things. She’s so fucking boring, she makes plain yogurt look exciting as fuck. Her intended, Fabian Fontenot (yes, really), is an Alphole of the first order who yells and bellows at her just to get a reaction, and when that reaction is to cry and run away, he gets angry, because he wants a knock down drag out fight. (Also her mother has a weird sexual vibe with her daughter’s fiancé that is gross, like, “I’d take your place on the wedding night if I could” type of things. Ew.)
Both Missy and Melissa look exactly alike, but Melissa is five years younger. Missy has a picture of Melissa in her wedding dress, and had the dress copied exactly for her wedding and you can see where this shit is going, right?
Right before Melissa’s wedding, her father installed a malachite stone in the newel post which came from an Egyptian amulet that some relative stole from, well, Egypt, I guess. It’s still there on Missy’s wedding day, and both of them, at the same time but 140 years apart, trip on their skirts, fall down the stairs and whack their heads on the newel post after think “I wish I were anywhere but here.”
They both wake up in the other one’s life, freaking out over the new set of parents and the concerned fiancés. It’s seriously ridiculous. Well, Jeff is concerned because he’s concerned, and Fabian the Jackass just thinks Melissa deliberately fell down the stairs so she wouldn’t have to marry him. He storms and rages around her bedchamber a bunch and is generally, a well, a jackass.
So in 1992, they try to get Melissa to a hospital, but she is terrified by the ambulance and thinks it’s a monster that’s going to eat her. Jeff, the milksop fiance, argues against the need to get her head injury checked out because, he asks, “Do you have any proof that this concussion or blood clot even exists?” Jeff pursued. No, you idiot. That’s what the head CT is for. GOD.
In 1852, the doctor tries to approach Missy with what Riley calls a leech, but what she’s really describing is a lancet or a scarificator. I mean, leeches don’t have small blades.
Long story short, both women realize what’s happened by finding calanders or newspapers. Both girls pretend like they have amnesia because it’s easier than the truth. Both sets of parents like the new version of their daughter better. Missy’s parents wanted a quieter, docile daughter, and Melissa’s parents are all like “WOOOOO SHE HAS SPIRIT NOW”
Melissa excuses herself to the library to read up on the “lost years” and- seriously- the 1992 parents spend hours listening to her shriek and yell over everything that has happened in the intervening 140 years.
“All morning long, the house rang with the sound of her shrieks. Her hysterical comments ranged from “My stars, electricity!” to “Heavens, men walking on the moon!” to “Forevermore a doomsday bomb!” to “Great Jumping Jehoshaphat, a machine that washes dishes!””
In each time, people comment that Missy looks “exactly five years older” and Melissa looks “Exactly five years younger!” now, I don’t know about you, but other than weight changes, my face didn’t change much in the years between 20 and 25. And EVERYONE keeps commenting on it.
Missy refuses to reschedule the wedding to Fabian the Asshole, even though they’ve been contracted to marry since “her” birth. So he decides to start over on the courting (but enjoying the fact that she’ll argue with him, rather than just acquiesce and then cry). He takes her out on the town to Memphis, where first she ruminates on the fact that slaves exist and then seems to ignore it, and then they go to a restaurant.
Fabian the Dillhole orders food for her, including fried chicken. And Eugenia Riley, proving something, but I don’t know what, has Missy freak the fuck out over...
“Fried chicken!” Missy gasped. “Haven’t you ever heard of cholesterol?”
I swear to god, you guys, my thought process when deciding to read something by Riley was “let’s see what she can do when not hampered by Fabio’s weird obsession with cholesterol.” I WAS NOT ACTUALLY EXPECTING THIS.
Then she basically accuses Fabian of being too wrapped up in his honor for some reason I don’t care about, and he gets all offended, and then this happens:
“Very well, you have honor. Good grief, Fabian the way you’re carrying on, you’d think I called you gay-“
“Gay? But I try to be gay as often as possible-“
At the same time (kind of…) Melissa and Jeff are falling in love the way milksops do. It’s so boring. There’s ice cream involved.
“His voice trembled as he whispered, “Lift the ice cream to your mouth darling… that’s good. Now stick out your tongue…run it over the shaft of….my god, you’re an angel.”
Can I remind you all that this is all set in COURIER.
Missy and Fabian the Numbnuts go to visit their very best friends, three other couples they constantly hang out wife. Missy does not approve of the convention where the men and women separate after dinner and is super rude to her friends and this is the point where I put my ipad down, very carefully piled up my down comforter and very gently threw my ipad into the pile of down.
This is the closest I could come to wallbanging this wallbanger. You guys know that I usually finish everything, right? I’ve had ONE DNF in all my reviews up to this point, and I, the Sin Eater, the girl who cannot resist this shit, made it through THIRTY SEVEN PERCENT OF THIS BOOK.
Missy is the most unlikeable so-called heroine I’ve ever read. She has NO redeeming qualities and watching her verbally bitchslap everyone she meets for no reason whatsoever is boring and stupid.
Fabian is an alpha without a cause and stalks and blusters and blows and ugh. Like every other alphole but worse.
Jeff is a passive boring stupid fuck.
And Melissa? Uncooked French toast is more interesting than she is.
Seriously, you have to WORK to make these people so awful. Maybe this plot could work with better writing and characters that anyone gives a shit about. But we’ll never know. I feel really bad, because I was really really hoping that on her own, Riley could write a good book. I felt like there was a hint of a good writer in Viking, but there is NO evidence that that writer was Riley.
So, in conclusion, I give you a gif of Renner’s butt:
And a gif of arm porn:
Annnnnnnd some abs.
And here’s this: