The Diamond Heartstone
by Leila Brown, paranormal (2007)
Cobblestone Press, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-60088-193-0
Somewhere in the Theta Galaxy, our tiger-like humanoid hero Barrick, supposedly the most feared man in the Theta Galaxy, pays a witch to find him his mate. Don't ask me what one has to do become the most feared man in the galaxy - I can only imagine that he has to defeat He-Man, Skeletor, Hordak, Mumm-Ra, and Darth Vader with both his hands tied behind his back. Back to our "White Tiger" hero, the witch pulls out his heartstone from his chest (don't ask) and tells him that she will use it to guide him to his mate. However, since it is in fact the essence of his being and its removal means that he is now without a vital part of his being, he will expire if he doesn't fate his mate in time. Don't worry, though, the witch promises to refund half his payment to his family if he dies.
Later, our Earth heroine Alycia James is in San Francisco to attend a series of lecture on the mating habits of tigers. While she's there, she purchases a mysterious but pretty heart-shaped crystal from an old woman. I'm sure you can guess who this old woman is and what the "crystal heart" actually is. Alycia has no idea that every time she touches the gem (which she wears around her neck), Barrick can feel each touch. Unsurprisingly, he's thrilled that he's finally found a mate and he's therefore going to rush straight to Earth to claim her.
Happily ever after isn't going to be easy though, since not everyone is pleased with Barrick's choice of girlfriend.
The Diamond Heartstone is like a cartoon. I keep thinking of He-Man for some reason, maybe it's because of the "best of the galaxy" thing that the hero lays claim to. At any rate, this one is a pretty amusing campy read. The heroine has her share of sass, but she also sort of bumbles her way into the villain's clutch when the plot requires her to. The hero is fixated on sex and making babies, like every other space hero of his ilk, but he's more amusing than annoying. The story can be too over the top at times and the villains can give Skeletor a run for his money when it comes to being cartoon bad guys. Actually, the villains kind of remind me of Skeletor and Evil-Lyn in their dynamics, but never mind.
This is not the best-written story around, as the prose can be on the clunky side at times. But yet, everything comes together quite nicely to present a campy and sometimes ridiculous story that still manages to entertain me considerably. There is plenty of room for improvements here, of course, but the story is amusing, despite everything, so it's still okay with me.
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