Lovespell, $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52325-6
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 1999
The hero of Beloved Warrior, Dar, is the son of Twyr, the God who blows the horn that signifies the end of the world if I recall correctly. He is tricked by Loki into falling from Asgard, the Norse condominium of the gods, to Midgard, our world. The first person he meets is Jennifer Giordano, who has just been laid off from work, dumped by a creep (they always start out with the bad ones), and has the tendency to get choked up and all weepy at the thought of her late mother. The rest of the book details Dar’s adventures on Midgard with Jennifer tagging along and trying to help him find his way home.
Now I don’t like knocking down a debut author’s work, but this book has way too many holes in the story for me to enjoy it thoroughly, if at all. It is one thing to make-believe, for this is a fantasy story after all, but since it is set in the realistic contemporary world, I guess it’s fair game to nitpick, especially when the story isn’t compelling enough to hold my attention.
First off, Dar is a god, or at least a demigod. Shouldn’t he be a bit more omniscient and know more about things in the human world? Norse Gods meddle on Midgard all the time; Odin, I know, is a chronic meddler who goes around the mortal world in the guise of an old man. Shouldn’t Dar know how things work on Midgard? Even if he is from the past, as a God, wouldn’t he be able to itsy-bitsy see the future a little?
Secondly, in a small town, how convenient that nobody think it’s weird that Dar has a little dragon called Firedrake tagging along. How they can mistake a dragon for (a) a bird, (b) a puppy, and (c) a novelty pet I will never understand. I suspect it’s due to a shadow government conspiracy that has airplanes flying over the town at night spraying Agent Orange over the folks, eh, Agent Mulder?
Thirdly, what are the odds that the small town has a super-duper non-secret scientific base that houses a mad scientist researching on dragons as well as a specialist on time travel and quantum physics? And as for the mad scientist researching on dragons, I wonder if the taxpayers know that their tax money is being used to fund nonsense researches like this. If I walk up to the university higher-ups and declare that I’m going to start a five year research program on dragons and ask for a grant, I bet my waffles that I’m going to be laughed out of the country.
Also, the heroine is a klutz. I’m sorry to say this, but she is a dumb klutz. The final straw comes, after tolerating her frequent sobbing and holding back of tears for the most inane of reasons, is when she is confronted by two armed robbers. That stupid ninny refuses to part with her handbag because her late mother’s ring is inside. She screams and screams and screams and thank heavens, gets injured and faints. Call me cruel, but I can’t stand that weepy, wimpy, whiny woman. Your beloved mother has departed this world, of course you should grieve, but listen honey, the last thing you should do is to overtake Mom on the road to the Pearly Gates. She won’t be pleased to see you, believe me.
And that silly Little Bo-peep isn’t too smart as well. It never occurs to her that the dragon Firedrake is a meat eater. I bet she failed her science courses in high school. When she panics at the thought of the dragon eating meat – after Dar tells her, mind you – I shake my head in bemusement. Like… duh! I want to tell her in my best bimbo voice, “What takes you so long to figure out… like, Firedrake’s a meat-eater? Maybe, like, you know, perhaps that’s why my pet cobra died! I’ve been feeding him carrots!” And then there’s her leaky water faucet stunt, truly amazing really, where she displays an endless supply of tears. She holds back tears, sobs, heaviness, chokes, and all other varieties of the theme when she thinks that Dar will leave her, Dar won’t love her, Dar won’t like her, Dar will die, et cetera yadda yadda yadda. This woman really needs a spine.
I can’t bring myself to enjoy Beloved Warrior. I’ve tried, really. I tried to overlook the irritating heroine and impossible implausibilities and coincidences, but there are just too many things not right in this book. Ultimately it sinks. Maybe the author’s next book will be better. Hopefully.