Triskelion Publishing, $5.99, ISBN 1-933874-93-7
Fantasy Romance, 2006
How’s this for an interesting story? Our hero Aidan Hawthorne, his unfortunately formulaic name aside, is a guitarist in the rock band Splinter as well as a shapeshifting phoenix. That puts a new twist, I must say, to the phrase “Oh god, he’s so hot!” Corrine Westfall is his manager John’s daughter. Corrine in her youth was marketed by her father as a sixteen-year old classical prodigy playing fluffy pop tunes and wearing clothes calculated to attract men who find the Olsen twins too demure. Now, at twenty-eight, she is of no more use to her father who has moved to making Charlotte Churches out of her twin sisters.
Unfortunately, Wildfire is also a story of a marriage of convenience – Charlotte needs to change her name to break a contract she has with her unpleasant father so the only way she can do this apparently is by marrying Aidan. I don’t understand why she can’t consult an entertainment lawyer. Heck, why isn’t Aidan giving her the number of his lawyer? Now matter how sheltered from reality that is the entertainment business for so long that Charlotte may be, it still doesn’t reflect well on her that she doesn’t think of speaking to a lawyer. Then again, she’s a boring character. She’s star struck when it comes to Aidan and a Poor Little Helpless Girl when it comes to everything else. She and Aidan have sex very early in this story so I never get this impression that there is anything deeper to her feelings than star-struck awe.
Then there is the appearance of secondary characters and allusions to events in what could be be a previous book that give me this feeling that I’m missing something here. The introduction of snipers and the transformation of Showbiz Dad into Show Villain Dad all allude to events in the past that I should be aware of but don’t. The ending sees the Show Villain Dad angle being left dangling for more sequel opportunities.
I can see plenty of interesting and rarely featured elements here, such as the rock hero with unusual powers and traits. LA Banks did this previously but that’s about it. Lynne Connolly however jumps the gun by getting the main characters to hit the sack without setting up the relationship properly first and then drag me into a story that seems to have started in a previous book and will only end in a future book. All in all, this is a story of unfulfilled promises that leave me feeling like I’ve just read parts of a story instead of a whole tale. Non-standalone books are fine, there are nothing wrong them with them or there will be no such thing as a series in the fantasy and science-fiction genre, but a non-standalone book should do its job of selling me the other books in the series. The unfortunate thing is, unless someone assures me the relationships and characterizations in those related books are more developed, I’m actually in no urgent haste to seek out those other books. Wildfire just doesn’t set my senses ablaze.