by Emma Baron, historical (2012)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-965-5
Spun is a take on Rumpelstiltskin, but don't worry, the hero Tillz is hot and hung. Nothing at all like a goblin! Our heroine Anja lives in a charming German village with her useless father who drinks and gambles away what little money they have. But she loves him anyway, even when he loses big to their landlord Werner and he tells Werner that Anja can turn base metals to gold. When Werner locks her up, our loner emo hero Tillz supplies the gold in exchange for a kiss. Of course, this is a sexy story, so the heroine gives away the milk for free as a bonus. It's love, naturally, but not if Werner has his way.
Spun is somewhat competently written, if uneven. The author's flowery prose hits the right mark while at other times she just comes off as unnecessarily verbose and purple. It's all touch and go, really. So this is a painless and readable story, for what it's worth.
But the Rumpelstiltskin thing doesn't translate as well as I'd have liked in this story. Anja loves Tillz, I'm told, and he loves her back, but I'm constantly told of this without being shown that this is really the case. These kids have sex, how wonderful of them, and the next thing I know, they are babbling about love and other finer feelings. The romance is as deep as a puddle, and it's not very believable either.
The story also suffers from having two main characters that are as bland as can be. Anja can be amusingly greedy and self-serving at times, but on the whole she is a one-dimensional character constantly babbling about her beloved daddy or her lovely feelings for the hero. Tillz is depressingly passive and whiny, constantly abandoning the heroine when she needs him the most despite expressing regret after each abandonment, and that's all there is to his personality. Oh, he's a great lover, and that's something, I guess, but come on, everyone that has a penis and a six-pack in the romance genre makes love like an unstoppable exploding volcano. In terms of uniqueness, that is nothing to get too excited over.
And don't get me started about the constant coddling of that useless parasitic waste of flesh that is Anja's father. I don't know why these people keep enabling his criminally selfish antics. If I were Anja, I'd have placed a pillow over his face while he is sleeping and sit on that pillow a long time ago.
When the most interesting thing about Spun is its cardboard-thin cartoon villain, then yes, it has a problem.
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