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05 May 2008 @ 05:46 pm
Pirate by Fabio  
Publisher: Avon, 1993
Genre: Romance
Sub-genre: Historical
Rating: 2 pints of blood

This book was awful. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Yes, it was one of those books. By all rights, this should have gotten a much lower rating, but it was so unintentionally hilarious, I could not stop laughing.

As for the cover itself... do I even have to tell you how much this makes me laugh? I mean, who wears leather breeches on a pirate ship? And isn't it kind of dangerous to wear a loose knife tucked into his belt like that? Also, I wasn't aware it was common for pirates in the 1700s to wax their chests like that. I guess you learn something new every day.

I found this book in the midst of a huge used book sale, and it was worth the full 50 cents just to be able to tell people I had a novel that was written by Fabio. At that point, people are already cracking up, and they don't know the levels of ridiculous contained within the pages. Personally, I'm rather fond of the inset included:

I'm so touched. Clearly, Fabio intended this book for me. I wonder if he also intended me to laugh so hard I cried.

The plot is a muddle, so you'll have to bear with me. If it makes no sense, well, I take none of the blame for that. Marco (I have to admit, I was mildly disappointed his name wasn't actually Fabio) is a burly, pacifistic pirate. No, seriously, I'm not kidding. He hates violence, and in the opening action scene, he has a swordfight with one of the EVIL Spanish pirates, which ends when Marco smacks his opponent in the head with the flat of his sword, knocking the other pirate out instead of killing him. Clearly, this guy has made a wise occupational decision. While Marco the blonde Italian (I guess if they wax their chests, they could also bleach their hair) is trying to save the peaceful village from the raiding and pillaging of the Evil Spanish pirates, led by the Supremely Evil Carlos, Marco comes across a twelve-year-old girl caught in the middle of the fray. She's the most beautiful child he's ever seen, and instead of finding her a safe place to hide, he decides to take her with him on his ship. The girl's nurse protests, so he takes her, too. Because it's obviously not kidnapping if you take the woman who's supposed to care for the child along for the ride.

We get a couple chapters of Marco bonding with the child, Christina, as he takes her to his island hideout. There, he and his crew spoil Christina rotten, much to the chagrin of the nurse, who wanted to teach the girl obviously unimportant things like reading, math, and manners. Christina has a huge crush on Marco, which he thinks is charming, although his whores are considerably less amused.

Six years later, Christina is eighteen, and as ridiculously beautiful as you'd expect of a romance heroine. Now that she's an adult, she's determined to have Marco for herself, although he's less than co-operative about the idea. Christina pulls a series of childish pranks to ensure none of the island's whores will have anything to do with Marco, and because he's such a manly man with such manly needs, this creates a huge problem for him. He has urges and no way to relieve them! So he decides the best thing to do is to get the girl married off to someone respectable. Following a thoroughly convenient sequence of events, Marco runs into an old friend and manages to arrange a marriage between Christina and his friend's son. He thinks it's a great idea to tell his friend he runs a sugar plantation and then invite the whole family to come visit the pirate island. After which Marco is astonished at how difficult it is to make his pirate crew behave like respectable sugar folk. Frankly, I'm astonished they didn't just tell him to shove his orders and go on merrily doing whatever they liked. Marco may be the ship's captain, but he doesn't have any power over them on land.

Christina is outraged when she hears about the arranged marriage, since she's determined she'll only marry Marco in spite of the numerous times he's told her it's never going to happen. He tells her he refuses to marry her for her own good, and then proceeds to make out with her. Repeatedly. Christina's fiancé and family come to the island, and Christina decides to flirt shamelessly with her fiancé to make Marco jealous. It works. He makes out with her and hopes nobody will notice, especially since he's told everyone he's her uncle.

Word about Marco's niece Christina spreads, and soon her legal guardian and the man in charge of her trust account hear word. They come down to the island and generally spread confusion, but Marco manages to convince his friend to keep the engagement by upping Christina's dowry. Then, as would be anyone's normal reaction under the circumstances, he decides to make out with Christina some more. Random assassins start showing up on the island, and Marco tries to hide them from his guests, assuming they were sent by the Supremely Evil Carlos. Predictably, the assassins can't be kept secret for very long, and everyone is shocked to hear that Marco has nothing to do with suger; he is, in fact, a pirate!

The Supremely Evil Carlos uses some of Marco's recently spurned and bitter whores to find out the whereabouts of his secret island, and shows up to kidnap Christina. Marco runs heroically to the rescue, to find Christina poised to castrate the Supremely Evil pirate. He laughs and takes her home.

Only it turns out Supremely Evil Carlos is not acting on his own Supremely Evil plan... Christina's guardian gets all the money in the event of her death, or if she's missing for seven years, and he's now desperate to get her out of the picture. He kidnaps her, and Marco teams up with the Suddenly Less Evil Carlos to get her back. Christina forgives the Suddenly Less Evil Carlos for his earlier kidnapping when she hears he's marrying Marco's former mistress, who's having a Suddenly Less Evil baby. They all laugh like good buddies, despite having hated each other one chapter earlier. Oh, and Marco decides that maybe he wouldn't be the worst husband in the world after all.

I seriously don't think I'm doing justice to just how many "wait... what just happened? Are you kidding? But that makes no sense!" moments there were in this book. The prose was so purple I was amazed the pages hadn't been stained that colour, there was some excessive abuse of exclamation points going on, and the dialogue was wooden and awkward. Christina was annoying and immature, her eighteen-year-old incarnation apparently not having grown emotionally from the twelve-year-old version we meet at the beginning of the book. Marco whined and suffered from severe mood swings, and did I mention he's not only a pacifistic pirate but a blonde Italian?

The book more or less ends with a James Bond-esque villain speech, followed by a last minute heroic escape from death involving much swashbuckling. Literary-wise, I don't think this book had any redeeming features. It was horrible. And it lived up to all the hopes and expectations I held for it.

Alright, hilarious quotes and a few other things that particularly made me laugh:

-Marco believes that girls of 14, 15, or 16 are too young to be getting married. In the 1700s. He believes this so firmly, it requires an exclamation point!

-"Oh please do it," she begged, her impatient fingers popping buttons on his shirt. "I do so hunger to feel your large hands on my backside." What was that I was saying about purple prose and awkward dialogue before? I can't quite recall...

-(about young Christina) "He knew then that they were friends now, and she was a part of his life, whether he wanted it that way or not." Just a thought... if you don't want it that way, maybe leave the girl with her nurse and her village.

-"...if Rutgers should learn the truth regarding Christina's disappearance and Marco's role in it, he feared that the magistrate would almost certainly misunderstand his motives in rescuing her and might well have him arrested for kidnapping instead." Could this be because... you kidnapped her? I mean, come on. Let's call a spade a spade.

-"...he realized that if he did so, he would not stop until she was pinned beneath him on the sand, her maidenhead breached by his driving heat." Few things crack me up faster than a terrible euphemism.

-"He quickly shucked off his breeches, then his hair-roughened thighs spread hers wide..." Yeah, nothing says sexy like hairy legs. Guess he ran out of wax after he did his chest.

-"What do you mean by that?" she cried, exasperated.
"If you do not know, then I cannot make you understand," he said stubbornly.
Dude! Marco's a chick! And clearly caught at that special time of month, at that. Which... actually, might explain a lot...
Shannon: Labyrinth: Just Fear Meaurillia on May 5th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
*laughs and laughs and laughs*

So Fabio "writes", does he? I had no idea....

"her maidenhead breached by his driving heat" - oh oh that's bad. Nearly as bad as Christine Feehan's darkly brooding males driving their "hard shafts" into their lifemates "velvety sheath" ugh ugh get it off me!

Edited at 2008-05-05 10:59 pm (UTC)
Anna_ocelott_ on May 5th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Ha! I love the bad euphemisms. This book was just swimming with them, and I laughed every time I came across a particularly colourful one. The maidenhead one was my favourite, though.
Muse's Booksmuse_books on May 6th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
There is some of those kind of lines in Kennyon's 'Dark Hunter' series. Had me in giggles. Maybe it is standard romance fare?
Anna_ocelott_ on May 6th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
Umm... semi-standard. I think it was more popular in the late 80s and early 90s, and a lot of the cheesier ones still do it. But the more recent and generally acclaimed romances manage to avoid the horrible, horrible euphemisms in their love scenes. Which misses out on the whole comedic effect, but I rather suspect that's the point in leaving them out. ;)
nuncatedije on May 5th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
This review seriously has me lmao. The quotes alone must have sent me into spasms for 5 minutes. "Guess he ran out of wax after he did his chest" was the best snark ever. I love books like this where the plot is completely convoluted and then wraps up at the very last second through a series of events that make absolutely no sense. Great review!
Anna_ocelott_ on May 5th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed! I had far too much fun reading and reviewing this critter. It almost didn't need the snark, it was that bad.
time_freak on May 6th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
I'm cracking up! I need this book, NEED IT!
Anna_ocelott_ on May 6th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
Apparently he's "authored" a few books, so keep your eye out at the used book stores! Or if you get really desperate, you could always pick up a cheap copy from Amazon.
sidhevicioussidhevicious on May 6th, 2008 06:41 am (UTC)
This post was great! I'm L-ingMAO! Thanks for that. :) I did actually read a few of the Fabio books when they were first published about a thousand, er I mean, what, 15 years ago? I can vouch from experience that cheesy was in back then, lol. Not so much now. Sadly, I did not save these books for my Keeper Shelf... ok, I'm not sad about it. But your post was priceless!
Anna_ocelott_ on May 6th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC)
I actually haven't determined if this one's going to be a Keeper or not... but I do have a list of friends who want to read it now, so I think it might be destined to be passed around for quite awhile.
sidhevicioussidhevicious on May 6th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
I'm still giggling my butt off just from your first line, "This book was awful. I enjoyed every minute of it." Talk about hooking your readers! And I'm not at all surprised that your friends want to read it to see if it truly is as hilariously awful as you said. :D It's worth the read for the laugh/entertainment factor alone, and I can vouch that it really is that bad, lol. Thanks again, I needed a good laugh.
mecoopermecooper on May 6th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
bwhahahaha ...I haven't heard the word "maidenhead" since highschool ... which is around the time that Fabio was showing up on all the Hysterical Romance covers. Reading the plot (and seeing the cover) brought me back to when I used to read a lot of romances. The plot actually didn't sound that out of step from some that I'd read.

As painful as the plot appeared to be, you sound like you had a hell of a good time reading it - sometimes bad is good. Thanks for the review - it had me laughing out loud while I sipped my coffee this morning.
Anna_ocelott_ on May 6th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, I had a fantastic time with this book. I think it's one of those ones you just have to be in the right mind set to enjoy, but considering the tagline on the front cover was "The Sexiest Man in the World Invites You to Join Him in His Romantic Fantasy" (excessive capitals and all), I had a pretty good idea what to expect/hope for. I wasn't disappointed.
Katastrophic Katkat_nic on May 7th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
*falls over*

At some point, you'd think someone would have said, wait, what the hell are we doing? and stopped. What is it called? A moment of clarity? Do you wonder if Fabio and the publisher are really serious, or if they're being tongue-in-cheek? Because it can be hard to tell, sometimes.
Anna_ocelott_ on May 7th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
I kind of assume someone in marketing thought they could sell a lot of books by using the tagline "The Sexiest Man in the World Invites You to Join Him in His Romantic Fantasy." I have no idea what Fabio's intentions were, but I do know that 15 years ago, when this was published, a lot of the romance novels were cheesier than Velveeta.
Katastrophic Katkat_nic on May 8th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Oh, in that case. I was under the impression that this was a recent book.
psychoticrabbit on May 10th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
:rofl: Makes me wonder why the Supremely Evil/Suddenly Less Evil Carlos doesn't use his sword and put an end to the ridiculous writing by lopping off Marcos' hair. You know like Sampson. Maybe the writing would have stopped. But then you did seem to have too much fun reading it.
Anna_ocelott_ on May 11th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
Well, how could I not have fun reading it? It was, after all, for me alone.
(Anonymous) on May 11th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
I've found my next present!
I can't thank you enough for this review! My BFF and I love to gift each other the cheesiest, over-the-top romance novels we can find. She's had me beat for ten years but THIS book will put me in front. Thanks! And just for you- Thanks!!!!!
Ren: Fraggle Rock - Readingred_ajah on August 11th, 2010 09:24 am (UTC)
......................................................................BWHAHAHAHA!! What the??? What!!???

Ok, ok, first, Fabio writes? This is made even funnier to me as my sister a few weeks ago asked me about the dude from the not butter ad and what he did. I told her he was a romance cover dude, didn't know he wrote too.

Terrible stuff. But yeah, it's a train wreck you can't look away from.

For me, my guilty pleasure is Madeline Hunter. Unlike Fabio though she is actually a good writer. Her Regency series....oh lordie. I can't stop reading! I actually started to resent the books as whenever I got one I would do nothing - my life would halt - until I had finished it. I got Lady of Sin and I don't even want to crack the cover...
LiveJournal: pingback_botlivejournal on March 27th, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
My collection of funniest reviews EVER!!...
User soleiltropiques referenced to your post from My collection of funniest reviews EVER!!... saying: [...] novel called 'Pirate by Fabio (yes, *THE* Fabio wrote a romance novel). Here is the review [...]