Zebra, $6.50, ISBN 0-8217-7529-4
Paranormal Romance, 2004
I don’t know what to say. Amanda Ashley’s A Whisper of Eternity feels like an overly padded and overcooked rehash of her novella Masquerade, last reprinted in the anthology After Twilight, one in which the padding seems to be ghostwritten by an overzealous teenage girl writing a Mary Sue fanfiction starring herself and some cheap Lestat rip-off.
Tracy Warner, an artist, buys a big house on impulse, not knowing that a vampire Dominic St John lives in some… um, lair, I guess, under that house. Soon he will woo her because she is his soulmate that is destined to die and be reincarnated in a zillion italicized and very annoying flashbacks; until he and she finally come together, and he will free her from her dysfunctional life of ridiculously bad boyfriends. Along the way, he takes her out to see The Phantom of the Opera and Caesar Palace, taking a long leisurely ride into the Valley of No Plot and No Conflict, until late in the story when the author pulls out the tedious Evil Jealous Other Vampire Slut and Very Obvious Mr Wrong things out of the coffin of contrivances.
I guess despite so many books after Masquerade, Ms Ashley is still hung up on that Phantom thing. There’s nothing wrong with an author channeling her favorite musical in her books, but I draw the line when I am subjected to asinine wall-paint peeling prose like:
They went to the theater to see The Phantom of the Opera. Tracy cried unashamedly at the end, moved to tears by the sad plight of the Phantom, at the soul-deep note of despair in his voice as he bid farewell to Christine, and then watched her go away with Raoul to live a life of ease and luxury that he could never give her.
Maybe this story will be romantic if I am still some silly teenage girl believing that it isn’t love until people have committed ridiculous self-sacrifices all in the name of unnecessary melodrama. But I’m not that girl anymore. Silly one-dimensional and ridiculously oblivious girl-woman Mary Sue heroines bore me silly. Brooding pansy vampires that go and on about love like some pink-tutu wearing bad poet while kidnapping the heroine against her will in order to “make her understand” make me go “Give me a break!” The writing of this book is so girlish and so breathlessly florid in its over-worship of petulant and unbelievably dense heroes and heroines that I begin to suspect that Ms Ashley may be hanging around the haven of shipper teenage girls and bad writing that is fanfiction.net maybe a little too long. I half-expect this book to explode into a cloud of pink ribbons and Limited Too accessories – that’s how crudely girlish the writing of this book is where people “cry” when they are “sad” or “laugh” when they are “happy”.
A Whisper of Eternity comes off like a story of teenage dolts pretending to act like adults, only these dolts have no idea what adult behavior is. So Tracy pouts, stomps, and sheds tears while artfully coming off like the Valley Girl that got a starring role in her prep school’s production of Phantom. Dominic broods, mopes, declares that he loves her, kidnaps her, whines, and acts like some silly brat auditioning for the boyfriend role on some cheap The OC knockoff affair.
This book celebrates all the wrong things about the romance genre’s take on the vampire myth – the infuriatingly dim-witted damsel-in-distress, the passive and whiny vampire hero, and all around insipid writing. I’d suggest you give this book a wide berth if you can’t stand overabundant Catholic-guilt laden people-gone-dumb vampire romance stories, of which this book is a below average generic example of.