As I grew closer in the series to reading Daniel’s story, I was becoming more and more apprehensive because I was not connecting to Daniel in any of the places he had showed up in the series thus far, save for The Many Sins of Lord Cameron. He was just too glib, too smooth, too…perfect. It’s clear that he’s one of Jennifer Ashley’s favorite characters — either he or Ian show up in every single Mackenzie book even when there’s very little purpose to his presence.
And my opinion really didn’t change as I read this book. Daniel felt…superficial. Smooth. I think I was supposed to connect to his troubled upbringing and there was definitely some moments where I could see those hints, but there just wasn’t anything there. Violet, however, is a lovely lovely character. I love every moment she’s on the page, and the real reason I decided to root for Daniel and Violet was because Violet wanted Daniel, and that was good enough for me.
There’s not much of a central narrative here. It’s mostly Violet’s journey to trusting Daniel and dealing with her past. Daniel is really incidental to it, which is good. Because if he’d been the main character, I don’t think I would have liked this.
I really love the time period this is set and the focus on inventions, engineering, and cars is really different. Right now, this is the latest book in the series — there are three more books set with this generation, but they both go back a few years. The next three books are set a century earlier during the 1740s, I think. I haven’t read the two that are published yet. I hope Jennifer Ashley returns to this generation and decade.
A couple of things really drive me insane in this book, so let’s start with the biggest problem: I’m not a huge of fan of EVERY Mackenzie character showing up in EVERY book. Sometimes it feels like they’re in here because they exist. Like. why are Cameron and Ainsley following Daniel to France? Daniel has, apparently, traveled the ever loving world. He’s been every where and done everything (at the age of twenty-five, lord help me), but Cam and Ainsley pick up their daughter, leave their son in London, and hot foot it to France because…? Don’t get me wrong, I love Cam and Ainsley, but there’s no point to them here. Daniel could have gotten Violet out of jail on her own. They’re here because we like Cam and Ainsley, not because they’re important to the plot.
Daniel is just a huge issue to me. He’s the male equivalent of a Mary Sue — the fanfiction character that shows up who is just completely perfect in every way. Daniel has no real vulnerability, no true flaws. He’s charming and funny, but he’s just one dimensional and I spend half the book being annoyed at him because he’s so flippant, offering Violet the world and promising things and then he’s surprised because she didn’t take him seriously. Dude, you’re not an idiot. She’s not even a respectable middle class girl, and you’re surprised she doesn’t believe you’re going to take her home to meet the family?
Daniel is twenty-five and he reads like someone who has both lived for forty years and for five minutes. I was actively annoyed by how much I didn’t like him.
I’m also kind of over rape as the backstory for a heroine. This isn’t Jennifer Ashley’s fault, it’s just the world we live in which like 65% of all historical heroines have some sort of sexual assault in their background. It’s exhausting and it’s the easy thing to reach for. Male characters have daddy issues, females are raped.
Anyway, Violet is what this book worth it, and I’m here for her to get what she wants. If it’s Daniel, great. Make it so. But Daniel is, at no point, fun for me. I’m bored by him. He’s been everywhere, done everything, and I’m just like rolling my eyes half the time.
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (MacKenzies & McBrides, #6)
Overall Response As I grew closer in the series to reading Daniel's story, I was becoming more and more apprehensive because I was not connecting to Daniel in any of the places he had showed ...