the problem that's ocurred to me about doing these kinds of reviews is that i just don't have as many nice things to say about the bridgerton books i've read so far than i did about romancing mr. bridgerton. i did read the duke and i a while ago and i. did not like it! to say the absolute least!

necessary disclaimers, of course: i didn't watch the tv series, and if i do i will most likely skip the first season for reasons ill talk about later. apologies again to shondaland productions. it's not happening anytime soon. i read the entirety of this book like, three weeks ago in a park so there are probably things i'm going to miss and get wrong, so please forgive any inaccuracies. this review is going to be very negative towards daphne. i don't like unnecessarily hating on characters, so i will try to keep any negativity brief and in good faith, but if you like daphne a lot, this one may not be for you. none of this review is a commentary on the morality of julia quinn or the bridgerton series. i don't know her like that and this was written a long time ago, so.

before i start the rest of the review, i'd like to issue a trigger warning for rape and child abuse/neglect. from here on out, there are spoilers. you have been warned.


as it so happens, the duke and i is the first book in the bridgerton series, which may explain a lot of it's flaws. a lot of the time the first book published in a series just sort of sucks by default, yknow? like the grisha trilogy by leigh bardugo sucks mainly because it was the literal first thing she ever published. (six of crows is just well written, though). daphne, the fourth of the eight bridgerton siblings, finds herself fake dating the very scary and intimidating simon, duke of hastings. for her, it's a chance to get other men interested in her, because are interested when they see something they can't have? i guess? and for simon, it'll get the matchmaking mamas off of his back for a bit. little do they know they will develop Real Feelings for each other, only to be stopped in the tracks by simon's traumatic past and daphne's very overbearing family.


1.) so. daphne. i already mentioned i don't like her. and the reason for that is just: she doesn't feel like a real character as much as she does a vehicle for the reader to project on. and like, i like reader insert fic as much as the next very cool guy, but like, if i want reader insert fic, i will go and read it and have a much better time than i did with the duke and i. if i read a book i want to read about an actual character. granted, this was published like..sometime in the 90s? standards for romance novels were probably different then. and also i completely get the urge to read a book with a sort of blank protagonist that you can project on! i get that! i wrote that whole ass review talking about how much i related to penelope! but again if i, personally, want to read that, then i go and read reader insert fic.

daphne is just. i can't think of a single trait she has other than nice :) and kind :) and wants a big family :). her big stated flaw is that she's TOO nice, and men think of her of a friend rather than a potential wife. and that's just. that's not a flaw! that's like when you're a kid and you're making an oc for the first time but you don't want them to have flaws because they're half a self insert and you don't want to think about yourself having flaws (I DEFINITELY DO NOT SPEAK FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE)! that's why i said that it has first-book-in-the-series disease: it feels like it's baby's first writing project and it's got all the hallmarks of it. daphne's barely a character, man. a couple more traits: she's bold- she interrupts a duel by riding up on a horse. she punches a guy when he's harassing her. she's athletic- she likes riding. she's impulsive in the worst way. it feels like i'm scraping through layers of mud trying desperately to find something that will tell me who daphne is beyond someone to project on.

so daphne is nice, and kind, and sweet, and witty, and she has no flaws except sometimes she's TOO nice. ok. what about simon?

2.) as daphne is the cliche romance novel protagonist, so is simon the dark broody love interest. (not in the chicken way where they sit on eggs a lot and yell at you about the eggs if you're nearby. just in the edgy way). his backstory i actually do like- he was nonverbal as a child, and when forced to speak, he developed a severe stutter, causing his (very ableist) father to consider him an idiot and pretend he was dead to everyone he knew. his mother died in childbirth, so that left him to be raised by the servants. when he did go to school, he didn't speak in fear of revealing his stutter, and when he did he was blunt and straight to the point, leading to him unintentionally dragging people a bunch of times. when his father heard about this and also his very good grades, he suddenly thought "hm maybe i shouldn't have treated my son like that" and then tried to get back in touch with him, which simon ignored (good for him). after his death, simon determined that he would never have children, as to break the cycle of abuse.

and this is honestly a really compelling backstory! while he's still not all that developed of a character (again, first in the series), simon definitely feels more solid than daphne does. he is of course still a dark broody love interest, but it feels like there's reason behind his flaws. of course he doesn't open up ever and is blunt and...ok i actually can't think of any more of his traits. it's been like a month and this book isn't great. THE POINT IS, he feels more a bit more grounded than daphne does because of this backstory. he still isn't great- again much like daphne i can't think of many of his traits but it's again, somewhat better than daphne.


so. here's the thing. much of the plot, to me at least, is overshadowed by an event that happens late in the book, after they've gotten married: daphne, after assuming that the reason simon can't have children is because he medically can't, finds out that he can, medically speaking, have children, and hasn't been quite honest about the real reason he can't: his father's abuse of him. and then after they fight and talk about this, she...rapes him. there's no non-explicit way of putting this. they have sex, and she doesn't let him pull out, despite knowing that he doesn't want to have children. it's rape. he begs her not to, and she does it anyways. and he leaves after that.

what gets me is that the book just...handwaves this. he leaves, and she goes to stay in london near her family, and then when a letter reaches him that she might actually be pregnant, he goes to london and finds her when she's injured herself riding a horse, and she reveals that it was a false alarm and she wasn't pregnant, and they talk about having kids. but the rape isn't brought up. they just wave it away. and yeah, simon should have actually told her the full extent of everything, so that she could make an informed decision, but at least they actually say that! they make it clear that simon should have been honest from the start! but there are no narrative consequences for daphne for this the way that there is for simon. i just can't get over how they don't fucking address any of this. i feel like if the genders were reversed, if it was simon poking holes in a condom, then people would be making a lot bigger of a deal about it, but because it's daphne hurting simon, they just...ignore it.

in all honesty, the rest of the book just does not matter to me. i can't really look at it the same after that. there's the whole ordeal you would expect with fake dating, lady whistledown is stirring shit up, there's a whole subplot about daphne's brothers being really overprotective of her. i don't care. all of it just feels Weird after that scene.


i hate it. 0/10. go to hell.

the ranking goes as such so far:

s tier: romancing mr. bridgerton

a tier:

b tier:

c tier:

d tier:

straight to hell tier: the duke and i

on a lighter note, i've now also read an offer from a gentleman, which i did like more than the duke and i! ive also checked out the viscount who loved me from the library, so expect reviews for both of those at some point. i also checked out interview with a vampire, so maybe ill write about that too? also, my brother managed to fix up the site bc i was having trouble, so everything works now, thank god. u can actually click the archive link now LMAOO i'm gonna try changing out the images for ones that fit me better too! all due respect to chii from chobits, i just want something different. maybe ill draw some graphics for this on stream? anyways, see u soon!