Adora (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)
Pages: 440 (agonizingly slow) pages
Author: Bertrice Small
Year Published: 1980
Summary: Theodora, or “Adora” is the daughter of a Byzantine prince, John Cantacuzenus. At a young age, she is wed by proxy to an Ottoman sultan, Orkhan, and sent to a convent ’till her monthly flow appears (which would evidently make her “prime” for “breeding”). Until! She falls over the garden wall (“Oh noes! The garden wall has flung me over itself! Oh!”), directly into the hands of the prince, Murad. She was thirteen at the time, and had grown tall and had long, beautifully shaped arms and legs, a slender torso, firm, high, cone-shaped breasts (WHAT?) with long pink nipples (double WHAT?), and a beautiful heart-shaped face. Her skin was like smooth cream… she never tanned. Her dark, mahogany colored hair with its golden lights… Her violet eyes were startlingly clear, and as candid as they had always been (because every man wants a girl with long nipples and purple eyes!).
Anyway. They become sort-of lovers, until Adora is sent to the Sultan, who forces her into bed after two other virgins (because yay, virgin party!). Eventually, she gives the sultan a son, but a son who was injured. So she takes the boy across the sea, to Bursa, where he is supposed to heal. On the way, they run into a storm and almost drown (“Oh noes! The sea has flung itself through my window!”), but they are waylaid by none other than the pirates of Alexander the Great (“Yarrrrr! Princess Adora of the Purple Eyes!”). She, of course, seduces Alexander the Great, but retains her honor. This romantic interlude in the gold-infested palace gives the author Adora time to show off her fancy “Greek logic” (which would be a great perfume name, come to think about it. “Seductive yet smart, with a hint of smarmy… Greek Logic”). Alexander mopes after her but eventually ransoms her and the boy back to her husband for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!100,000 GOLD DUCATS!
So. Then, she goes back to the Sultan, who conveniently dies, and Murad takes the throne. He gives Adora (whom he lusts after) an ultimatim: Either marry Murad, or marry Murad! Adora uses her Greek Logic (+2 intellect) to deal a crushing blow and… runs away back to Constantinople, after dyeing her skin brown so no one can recognize her (because, you know, bright violet eyes are SOOOO common – she was using her Greek Logic again, if you couldn’t tell). Adora is conveniently married off to Alexander, who just happens to show up at a dinner party (YARRRR! SurpriseyarrR!).
But Adora’s sister schemes in secret! Because… uhm… something or other to do with Adora’s beauty or something. She plots to have the beloved Alexander killed and Adora signed off to Sultan Murad as a slave! In fact, she does so, over the course of two chapters (two agonizingly awful chapters). Then, Adora goes home to Murad and the Ottoman empire (motto: Rest your feet and we’ll cut off your legs!). At first, she hates Murad and his 50-virgin harem. Then, using her Greek Logic, she comes to the conclusion that she should love him. After that, of course, it’s all babies and war and some complicated things that result in Murad’s death and Adora’s eventual consignment to the glue factory convent, where she will be made into a pair of nice shoes ending out her 90 year life happily, and surrounded by peaches and virgins.
Reviewer’s Notes: The Beauty of Greek Logic unaccountably uses Victorian British slang, knows complicated medical techniques that weren’t invented until the 1400’s, and transforms from sweet Christian Girl to bloodthirsty heathen. Over half the book could have been eliminated if the author was forbidden to use the word “manroot”, “pearls”, or talk about any historical event that did not happen. Overall, the entire story revolves around a thinly veiled Mary Sue.
By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost” virginity: 25
Plot “Twists”: 9
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: Entire Byzantine Empire, +5 Ottomans (motto: Put up your feet and you will be beaten to death.)
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: The entire book is a Mary-Sue incident.
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 2 important battles, 1 minor fight
Times “Fate” Intervened: 2
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 2/2
Overall Grade: F, for being a terrible Mary Sue and vast, complicated explanations of the word “manroot”, virgins virgins everywhere, and murdering all of history.