Coming over from Goodreads, dipping a toe in the waters over here.
This book is still as much a favorite as I'd remembered, despite my reservations at 43%. I decided to persevere and was rewarded for doing so, as around 60% or so I got right back in the groove and read the remainder in one sitting. So although I might not have rated it 5 stars now, I'm going to let that rating stand.
This was the Zane and Ty I fell in love with: two proud and flawed men who seem to communicate best by fighting and/or fucking, and who complement each other perfectly. They were raw, and the writing was at times rough (the constant rubbing noses with a broken nose was excruciating to read), but I think that's all part of what made them "real" and lovable. The plots were over-the-top and unbelievable, but they made for a fun ride and were a great backdrop for the character development. No one ever read the C&R books for the plots, it was always about Ty and Zane.
Kate and I have hypothesized that the change came when Madeleine Urban stopped writing Zane, but that's also when Riptide started publishing them and it occurs to me now that could also be a significant factor. It's not surprising that Zane might become less Zane-like when his creator stopped writing him, but I also think it could be the Riptide over-editing that results in homogenized books that lose a great deal of their character. The newer versions of Ty and Zane seem like characters to me, whereas the original guys were believable as real people.
So it seems memory did not deceive me: the good parts are about as good as I remembered. Maybe the bad(ish) parts are a little worse now that some of the shine has been scrubbed off (I was going to say 'worn' but it didn't seem active or violent enough), but overall these books and characters are still appealing and worth reading. I'd thought I might need a break before reading more, but the end of this book rekindled my enthusiasm enough for me to want to continue on to Fish & Chips.