StarDust Press, $5.48, ISBN 978-981-05-7902-9
Fantasy Erotica, 2007
It is hard to write comedy. It should be left to be professionals. If Gods and Goblins, Oh My! is anything to go by, Crymsyn R Hart doesn’t qualify to join the ranks of these professionals.
Kalliope, our heroine, is a witch who gets into all kinds of oh-so-wacky adventures involving horny gods and all kinds of magic stuff gone wild. It’s hard for me to describe the plot because I get this feeling that the author is just making things up as she goes along. In this story, Kalliope goes from Point A to Point B and so forth, encountering all kinds of events and adventures as she tries to avoid the attentions of Cromm the god of death while trying to get something started with Lugh, another god that she somehow summoned while it was raining and lightning fried her CD player while… you see what I’m getting here? This story is wacky and the author doesn’t let me forget that. After all, she has everything but the kitchen sink in this story.
The problem with this story is that since it is so dependent on humor, and humor is so subjective, I happen to find the humor here forced and contrived. It’s hard to explain but let me try. At any rate, Ms Hart comes off as too self-conscious here. Her punchlines hit me with the subtlety of a jackhammer in the head, but unfortunately, I can also see the punchlines coming from a mile away. Ms Hart’s brand of humor relies on very obvious slapstick elements that unfortunately come off as more juvenile than genuinely humorous. The heroine is grossly incompetent in the most predictable ways, for example, so after a while it becomes too apparent what will happen even before it happens.
Gods and Goblins, Oh My! doesn’t strike me as a successful sexy romantic comedy. In fact, I find myself thinking that it tries very hard to be sexy and funny but it just isn’t. There is a very forced “The heroine trips on a banana peel, haw haw haw, oops, she trips again, hee hee, oops, again, and again, and again, and again – aren’t we hilarious today, people?” quality to the humor in this story where the comedy comes from things blowing up in the heroine’s face rather than from wit. The characters seem to be saying things to each other in order to be funny rather than to conduct any actual conversation. I don’t chuckle even a little as I read this story, although I do find myself thinking “You have to be kidding me!” several times during the story.
Think of this book as… oh, I don’t know, something comparable to those “romantic comedies” put out by publishers during the dark days of the ebook industry when everyone is trying so hard to be the next Leta Nolan Childers. If you like that kind of slapstick comedy, knock yourself out. I’m off to read something else.