Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Book Review

It’s time for the Friday Book Review! I must be busier than usual lately because this is the second week in a row that I’ve only made it through one book.

I did start a second book, but it was so incredibly bad that I gave up after the first chapter. And let me tell you, this almost NEVER happens. I usually soldier on hoping for improvement somewhere along the way. I can probably count on one hand the books I’ve failed to finish (including the one that I threw across the room in disgust after I realized what the author’s idea of a “proper woman” was).

”Minion: A Vampire Huntress Legend” by L.A. Banks managed to be bad enough to add itself to the list, though. This thing reads like a “Buffy the Vampire” script reject – if Buffy were a black teenage female rapper whose dialogue sounds like what a white person thinks black teenage female rappers must sound like (think K Fed only an octave higher).

And really, can we stop with everyone having the same damn cover art? I’ve already got two books with covers featuring a woman in a halter top and tight pants with a lower back tattoo as viewed from the rear. That’s two too many (although at least the other two manage to have good stories inside of them). Not only is it repetitive, but really, who would be dumb enough to go out and face a potentially life-threatening situation (vampire hunting/fighting) in a HALTER TOP? With string ties no less. Anita Blake would laugh her ass off. Well, the old Anita would. The new Anita is too busy doinking anything that moves. Sigh…I miss the good old days when she kicked ass and didn’t even bother to take names.

Thank goodness for Linnea Sinclair. I’ve already reviewed her two other books, “Finders, Keepers” and “Gabriel’s Ghost” here and both were terrific. She hits another one out of the park with her latest, ”An Accidental Goddess.”

Sinclair creates well-rounded characters, gives them an interesting “universe” to inhabit and provides fast-paced, well-plotted action. The use of humorous details, such as the “space station parrots,” makes the story even more memorable.

“Goddess,” like Sinclair’s other books, has a romance at the core of the plot. Normally, I’m not heavy into the typical “romance” genre. I’ve got two main problems with it. I’m not big on all the “heaving bosoms” and “throbbing” whatevers. I like a little more mystery when it comes to the steamy scenes…I don’t need graphic anatomical detail. Also, the romance element often seems to evolve too quickly and therefore feels contrived.

Sinclair deftly avoids both of these pitfalls by providing just enough amorous detail to get the point across without making the reader feel like an immediate shower is required. She also allows some time for the romance to evolve. Sure, there’s an initial attraction, but the characters are given a chance to get to know each other before they give in to it. Heck, they even go on actual dates. Given what the late Marion Zimmer Bradley used to refer to as “the inelasticity of typeface,” it’s a real accomplishment to pull this off within the scope of a novel.

If I had one teeny, tiny nit to pick, I’d say that I found it surprising how well the heroine, Gillaine, takes her sudden three-hundred-year jump into the future. I would have thought it would be a little more disconcerting considering that everyone she knew is now dead, etc. Even someone who doesn’t have a lot of family or close ties would probably have some sense of loss or grief at having EVERYTHING familiar ripped away so suddenly. There are a few touches on this in the book, but I felt that the impact would have been more significant.

Perhaps her realization of what she’s left behind might be more fully explored in a sequel?

Still, this is very minor, insignificant concern and certainly does nothing to prevent the enjoyment of the book.

Kudos, Ms. Sinclair. Keep up the good work…we need more writers like you!

Okay, everyone, that’s it for this week. Have a great weekend and take care!


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