Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dark Lover and A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court

Attention authors. If you are going to write about horses, please take a riding lesson or two, or three. Read Horses for Dummies. For God's sake, don't assume all you ever need to know about horses can be derived from the movies.

Despite the glaring lack of attention to detail, A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court by Marianne Mancusi manages to be fun. Provided you have the ability to suspend all disbelief.

Katherine, Kat, is the fashionista, a reporter at a hotsy-totsy fashion magazine who is transported to Merry Old England, where she rubs shoulders with King Arthur and a round table surrounded by fine looking knights. Kat struggles with the complexities of a society without cell phones and HMOs, a lack made up for by the dashing Lancelot. Along with the romance, Kat finds herself wrapped up in a medieval conspiracy.

Hurray! Kat isn't a shrill, scattered-brained boob. She's a take-charge problem-solving gal, although her solutions sometimes lead to more complications. Though her attraction to Lancelot (Lance) is instant, it doesn't dissolve her brain, leaving a lust drunk moron who forgets about her former life. Kat wants back to the Twenty-First century--Now! The novel is sexy but refreshingly light on actual sex scenes.

But the research, oy veh! The author's total lack of knowledge of horses screams from the pages. It also seems that the book was written in research-is-optional mode, since the characterization of the time period is nonexistent. By not delving deeper into the aspects of life in King Arthur's time, the book misses a lot of opportunity for funny.

Is this why it's not a "keeper?" Nope. It's not a keeper because the hero, Lance, is tall, dark, handsome and more boring than a lecture on seventeenth century German macroeconomics. Dull, dull, dull.

Despite the asinine name, Wrath, the hero in Dark Lover is interesting, though not my cuppa. (I like my men tall and not-muscle bound, a little Bishie, if you will.) He isn't anything new to the paranormal genre, the usual tortured immortal soul, but he's not dull.

Beth is a reporter at a small time newspaper, bored and sexually harassed. She's got a hankering for adventure. Adventure arrives in the form of Wrath, the anti-social king of the vampires and friend to her father, Darius. Darius, is, or rather was a vampire, victim of the war between vampires and lessers, soulless humans who want to wipe out all vampires.

Beth, a former patron of the foster care system, doesn't know about any of this, including her vampire heritage. Wrath is supposed to help with her transition, the process by which she'll become a whole lot more vampire. Naturally, the two have an instantaneous, ferocious attraction and Wrath helps her remove clothing.

The novel does have an actual plot, something that goes beyond the usual romance contrivances. Wrath and the rest of his Black Dagger gang square off against the new lesser boss in town. Unlike a similar series featuring a band of super-strong vampires who fight for good, the dialogue is snappy and low on cheese. Big on the hurrah list, is Beth, who actually jumps in and helps her man when danger arrives, rather than stand around screaming. She doesn't get mysterious attacks of PMS that frighten every male in a hundred mile radius.

Typical of most paranormal romances, the "erotic" portions were rather tiresome. That is, where "erotic" means "fucking." By the fourth sex scene, I was thinking, "Okay, I get it. She gives great blowjobs. What-ever. Where's the plot?" Sex scenes are like description and exposition, great in small doses but easily overdone. Sex doesn't build a relationship; people who hate each other can have terrific sex.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the book. Only two elements of the novel irritated, a rarity with romance. First, was the never-ending ending. The story ends when hero rescues fair maiden. Or it should have. Instead, the novel meanders on for several more chapters, and includes an epilogue that is little more than a set-up for the next novel in the series.

Second, there's the resemblance to the Dark Hunter (UGH!) series in that this is just one novel in a series that will get a woman for all the Black Dagger boyz. Meh.

Anyhoo, both of the above were entertaining. Entertaining and romance...amazing.

On Deck: Killer Cocktail by Sheryl J. Anderson; The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman; Endangered Species by Nevada Barr. Mysteries all.


Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005