I'm clearly in denial. I keep thinking it'll actually be good and that all of the potential I see will come into fruitation.To me, it just reads as painfully melodramatic. Part of it is the diction, I think. The genre is high fantasy, and so as such, the universe feels like it needs a diction more eloquently streamlined than normal romance fare. It attempts to encompass the plot of intrigue of high fantasy, but doesn't quite manage it, and because of that, the whole thing ends up falling apart.Tristan still makes no sense. If anything, he makes less sense. The plot is boring and the intrigue doesn't make sense. The hatred against the north can't even be put off to traditionally instilled bigotry.The insinuations of Kherin liking his sex a little rough came out of nowhere. Did I read the first book? The sex scene at the way-stop in bk 1 apparently had some rough handling in it? All I remember was bullshit about desperation, the trite little "and then his resolve crumbled and sexing happened," and a rather unsatisfactory and quick climax before they went their separate ways.It's haphazard, inconsistent, and far too obvious. Part of the problem is the author's trying to build intrigue, but not much of it is subtly worked. It relies on the author telling us about whatever more than laying the scene out and letting it unfold. I suppose this one isn't as reliant on the narration as the first one was, but it's a close thing.As motives go, Tristan's seems kind of stupid. What, the author really couldn't come up with something better than "you got me kicked out of the stables! You cost me the only thing I cared about!" (the stables? really? that's all you aspired to be? possible stable master one day? sheesh)?And Kherin's Holier Than Thou bit is just annoying. Clearly, he's a spoiled, rich, royal brat and he doesn't actually care. He might not be, but I'm a bit fed up with this whole farce of a subplot right now.This made me laugh:“Northerners, my lord! They’re gathering on the northern bank!”Northerners on the northern bank, you say? You must have a goddamn IQ of 160.I so lost interest that I didn't notice I'd been zoned out and pressing the next button anyways until this line finally registered: “It’s over, my prince,”And yet, I had no inclination to go back, so I just kept going.Blah, blah, blah. Boring, bland, balderdash. The end. Well, I suppose it makes sense. It's Dreamspinner, after all...*sigh. The ratings gave me hope. Misplaced, it turns out.There is what appears to be a duplicate rating/review, one by an account made on behalf of a blog, one posted by the blogger's personal GR account.*squint* That seems suspicious. I wish I'd noticed this before I decided it was a good idea to read this series.