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YMMV / Desire And Decorum

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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: When the book was first announced, general reaction was very unenthusiastic. Not only did players dread another romance-focused story with a mandatory female protagonist, but the premise and Regency-era setting seemed boring and clichéd. While the story did start off fairly slow for the first few chapters, the characters were well-written and the narrative ended up being much more compelling than expected, causing the book to develop a legitimate fanbase.
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The series's setting in the Regency era has rubbed some people off the wrong way because of its heavy association with romance and the stuffy lives of rich people of the era, all of them attributed to Jane Austen.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After complaints that one or both of the protagonist's (biological) parents are absent in previous Choices series, this series not only features both of Clara's parents present, but also has one parent resemble her depending on her appearance, much to the fandom's applause. They also applaud dialogue variations depending on Clara's appearance.
    • After complaints that the narratives of various stories force players to forgive characters who have wronged them, the Book 2 finale provides options to forgive or reject Dominique after her attempts to make amends for her granddaughter.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Theresa Sutton is viewed as an annoying airhead who is willing to stab Clara in the back at any time for a chance to have a hot gossip, or a naive young lady who has to keep a good image in a shallow engagement with Edmund Malcaster. Players are divided between treating her nicely or not, despite knowing that being friendly with her gives benefits in the story.
    • Edmund Marlcaster after he was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. Some players like him for standing up to his mother, his fondness for his stepfather and half-brother, and slowly befriending Clara if she's consistently nice towards him. Others dislike him for playing Theresa Sutton and Briar Daly.
  • Broken Base:
    • Duke Richards’s unwanted advances on Clara have divided the fandom over whether it’s a case of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped because Regency-era women had less rights than women nowadays or it’s too Anvilicious because of the various cases of sexual assault in some Choices books.
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    • The relationship between Bartholomew Chambers and Yusuf Konevi, despite being an Ensemble Dark Horse, has spades of this. While many players applaud their relationship despite same sex relationships being taboo in the Regency Era, there are a few who worry that it's unrealistic to have openly gay characters kissing in public without much worry for the same reason.
    • The ending of Book 1, in which Clara is engaged to Duke Richards against her will, has divided fans between those who accept it for being a necessary and dramatic plot twist, and those who hate it for being a rehash of Rules of Engagement Book 1 and The Royal Romance Book 1's endings and forcing Clara to be with a man who nearly raped her.
    • People are split on whether a third book is necessary. One group is ecstatic that there will be more of the story because they're attached to the love interests and are excited to get married to the love interest of their choosing. They also point out that Gideon Payne is still at large. Another group believes that it’s unnecessary because the second book's finale concludes the Duke Richards arc by exposing his crimes to the Queen, felt that the wedding affairs are best wrapped up in one chapter, and Gideon should've been arrested alongside the duke.
    • By Book 3, players are divided whether or not to improve Clara's relationship with her half-brother Harry. Some refuse to do so and want him kicked out along with Henrietta for his Jerkass behavior towards Clara. Others choose to continue doing so based on the belief that it will provide necessary Character Development for Harry and give Clara a crucial ally against Henrietta.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • In Chapter 11, there is a premium option to deliver a "Reason You Suck" Speech to Duke Richards as well as attacking him, which many fans took because of his unwanted advances towards Clara.
    • In Chapter 12, many fans chose to push Henrietta off the stairs when she blocked Clara’s way to Earl Vincent’s chambers.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Earl Vincent of Edgewater is extremely popular with players for embracing his long-lost daughter Clara despite her illegitimate birth, even accepting her if she declares her love for Annabelle. It’s also implied that he’s a good stepfather to Edmund Marlcaster, as shown by the latter’s distraught expression when mourning his stepfather’s death and later commenting that Vincent was the only father he knew.
    • Bartholomew Chambers and Yusuf Konevi, the resident gay couple of the series, are also this for their commitment to each other despite the strong stigma homosexuality carries in the Regency era. The former's popularity skyrocketed in the last chapter of Book 1, when he offered Clara's hand in a marriage of convenience in case she declares her love for Annabelle Parsons or Luke Harper.
    • Viscount Westonly has become this in Book 2. While many people find his tendency to mishear things as a result of his difficulty of hearing funny and like his respect for Annabelle not loving him back, the former attribute comes in handy during Clara and Duke Richards's wedding day, when he complains about what Bishop Monroe said, delaying the wedding.
    • Briar Daly's mother Pavarti is widely popular for her protectiveness of Clara, whom she treats as a surrogate daughter given how close Clara and Briar's families are since childhood.
  • Growing the Beard: The Slow-Paced Beginning and initial complaints that the series has a Recycled Premise from The Royal Romance led some players to believe the series will fail. Starting from Chapter 5 onward, the story starts garnering fresh interest because of certain choices, particularly the ones that improve relationships with others, having meaningful consequences to the narrative.
  • Heartwarming Moments: After Earl Vincent finally meets his long-lost daughter Clara from the woman he loved but was forced apart by his father, he immediately accepts her as his daughter and spends his entire screen time bonding with her. This crosses into Tear Jerker territory, when he dies with Clara by his side, the satisfaction that he managed to make up lost time with her, and the reassurance that he'll be reunited with Mary.
  • Ho Yay: In Book 2 Chapter 8, Henrietta told Clara that Duke Richards and Sir Gideon sneaked away after the ball and didn't return until morning, which can be interpreted in a suggestive manner.
  • Memetic Mutation: Since the Ledford Park fire in Book 3 Chapter 1, players joke that because of Pixelberry's tendency to force players to pay diamonds for high-quality things, Ledford Park will be restored to its former glory as a premium option or rebuilt as a rickety shack for free.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Lady Ida from Countess Henrietta's flashback of Duke Richards quickly stole the scene for rejecting the duke's marriage proposal, effectively humiliating him.
  • One True Pairing: Bartholomew Chambers and Yusuf Konevi are widely considered this because of their interactions together rubbed fans the right way despite the Regency era frowning on homosexuality.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Initially, Edmund Marlcaster was hated for being spineless, bland, and ugly. His popularity begins to improve once his Character Development in later chapters kicks in. The turning point for most readers is his reaction to the Earl's death is written to be very sympathetic.
    • When he was introduced, Ernest Sinclaire was the least popular Love Interest since a lot of players were disappointed that he didn't look the way he does on the book cover as well as his The Stoic attitude compare to the more colorful Love Interests (Hamid, Luke and Annabelle). His Tear Jerker backstory in Chapter 7 as well as the revelation of his Hidden Heart of Gold won over a lot of people, even those who don't romance him.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Countess Henrietta is this. While she is supposed to be the villain, what fans hate the most about her is that her character is very flat and cartoony, having her entire characterization as a Flanderized version of the Wicked Stepmother stereotype. It got worse when she crossed the line after the Earl’s death.
    • Sinclaire's wife Roselyn is hated for cheating on him with Duke Richards, becoming his Cynicism Catalyst, even for people who aren’t pursuing Sinclaire.
    • Dowager Countess Dominique has become this by the end of Book 1. Originally thought of as a Cool Old Lady whose knowledge of high society makes her the ideal mentor for Clara, she was disliked by some for constantly insisting that Clara marry Duke Richards just because he has a title while ignoring his despicable behavior. The majority of players grew to hate her when she forcibly engaged Clara to Duke Richards.
    • Clara's half-brother Viscount Harry becomes this for treating his half-sister rudely, accusing her of vicious rumors coming from Henrietta, and trying to seize Edgewater from her. He's also hated for not caring about his own half-brother Edmund, who helped him fake his death, when the latter gets mistreated by their mother. To many, this depict him as a Momma's Boy and an even bigger Extreme Doormat than Edmund Marlcaster.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The skill room in Book 1 is this for a lot of readers, since not only collecting talents to be an “accomplished lady” comes off as shallow, many readers think that the plot started to get better the moment the room went Out of Focus to make way for more important elements like character development and context. The items collected from the parlor collection play no role in Book 2, rendering it utterly useless to many.
    • This continues in Book 2 with the Cabinet of Secrets. Clara has to find objects that could free her from her engagement with Duke Richards, in parallel with following the plot. Many consider this dynamic as annoying as Book 1’s skill room, because of how distracting it gets or how many of those are behind a paywall. Not helping matters is that most of the evidence merely reinforce Duke Richards's status as a Hate Sink for his egotistical nature.
    • The Manners point system became this in Book 2. While players already found it annoying in Book 1, it was at least tolerated since the majority of the characters Clara could earn Manners points with were likable (all of Clara's Love Interests, Mr. Chambers and Konevi, her parents, Mr. Marlcaster, and Lady Grandmother Dominique). The only two characters who provide this opportunity in Book 2 are the widely hated Duke Richards and Dominique - whose popularity plummeted because of her actions in the Book 1 finale. The only time where players agree that this is not the case is when Clara is trying to win over the Queen against the Duke.
  • Seasonal Rot: Many consider Book 2 weaker than the previous book because of the love interests being watered down to mere copies of each other, the premise of escaping from an unwanted engagement with Duke Richards being a rehash of The Royal Romance, the weak implementation of the evidence cabinet on Duke Richards, and the disregard of the parlor collection from the first book.
  • Shipping Wars:
  • Signature Scene: The duel scene in Book 2 Chapter 9, where Duke Richards and Clara's chosen love interest aim their pistols towards each other at dawn.
  • Tear Jerker: Earl Vincent's death after he spent his entire screen time getting to know his long-lost daughter Clara and giving her the fatherly love she never had when growing up. He and Clara's mother were forced apart before Clara was born, and after he had given up any hope of reuniting with the woman he loved, he received a letter about his daughter's existence.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many fans felt that the ending of Book 1 (where Clara is forcibly engaged to Duke Richards) was less interesting than if it had ended with Clara becoming Countess of Edgewater with Ernest Sinclaire, Prince Hamid, or Bartholomew Chambers as her fiancé because it would have allowed players to explore the challenges of being in a position of authority and a more holistic view of the Regency era.
  • The Woobie: Ernest Sinclaire. His wife married him for his money, cheated on him for Duke Richards, and died giving birth to the duke’s child. These events turned him into a cynical man. It gets even worse if he's Clara's love interest. He spends much of his screen time seeing the woman he love forcibly engaged to the man who stole his wife, and he gets injured during a duel with said man. The engagement was finally called off and he can finally propose to Clara, only for his estate to burn down even if he's not engaged to Clara.

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