by Angela Knight, fantasy (2008)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0425220842
Warrior officially kicks off Angela Knight's The Time Hunters series, although Jane's Warlord is actually the unofficial first book in this series.
In this series, we meet the Temporal Enforcers. Time traveling is all the rage in the distant future, and as a result, sometimes it is abused for nefarious purposes. For example, someone could always go back in time to kill an artist in order to jack up the prices of this artist's works in the future. This is why we have Temporal Enforcers. They have bases built in various locations all the way back to the dawn of human civilization so that they can nab all these misbehaving time travelers. Okay, the science doesn't hold in this series - you can nitpick all day and still won't be done by this day next year - but let's just move on.
Okay, the plot. When the story opens, it is the day that Jessica Kelly, our heroine, will die. Her murder is an unresolved mystery as far as the cops of her time will be concerned, but the Time Enforcers suspect that someone from the future has a hand in this crime. Galar Arvid, our hero, and his team therefore will remain in the shadows and observe as they wait for Jessica to die. They will only interfere if they have evidence that a time traveler is behind her murder.
It turns out that a Xeran assassin is the person responsible and he is actually after Jessica's room mate. Galar saves Jessica but because she is supposed to be dead as far as the people of her time are concerned, he takes the injured woman back to his time to heal. The plot is just starting, however, as Jessica finds herself embroiled in a plot revolving around her missing room mate, potential spies working from inside the Temporal Enforcers squad, and more. Oh, and she and Gavid fall in love, naturally.
Compared to some romantic urban fantasy stories out there, Warlord will feel more like a cheesy pulp fiction than a sophisticated futuristic caper. The author uses "X" and apostrophes a lot when it comes to the names in her story, for example, and most of the names are unintentionally comical. "Warfem", anyone? Doesn't that sound like some kind of drug you will get for mysterious itches in your crotch area? There is also unnecessary capitalization of verbs (Jump, for example), a classic example of an author trying too hard to make everything about her story feel "exotic". The physical descriptions of Galar and the sequel bait males are pure beefcake. The pacing of the plot could also be better as well, as everything is crammed late in the story.
Still, there is a very enjoyable quality to the story. Gavin is an alpha male, of course, and he is loaded with superlatives where everything from his physical prowess to the size of his penis is concerned. It is hard to imagine at any point that he is going to be in any danger because he just comes off as too awesome. Then again, when it comes to stories with alpha males, it's all about protecting the heroine anyway. To Ms Knight's credit, Jessica is a likable heroine who is out of her depths rather than helpless. She will eventually demonstrate that she can definitely handle her man just as she can get used to living in that strange new world she has been dragged into. These two characters' initial sexual encounter comes up too quickly and out of the blue for my liking, but they nonetheless show ample chemistry and believable feelings for each other as the story progresses.
Many new authors have showed up in the paranormal and urban fantasy landscape since Angela Knight made her splash, and some of those authors do come up with stories that feel more sophisticated than Warrior. If we are to compare, Warrior is like the 1980 movie Flash Gordon while some of the more sophisticated stories are comparable to The Matrix. But still, Warrior has plenty of sexual sizzle, a pair of likable characters, and some cheesy action to make it worth my time.
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