Desperate Alliances
by Cory Daniells, fantasy (2002)
Bantam, $5.99, ISBN 0-553-58103-1

I bought this book by accident, not realizing until too late that it was the conclusion of this author's inept The Last T'en Trilogy. Dark Dreams, book two, is also reviewed here.

Anyway, the last we saw of Braindead Imoshen was her pregnant with her cousin Roethe's son after Roethe morphs into her husband The General just so that he can screw her in some... oh, I can't go on anymore. Anyway, Braindead Imoshen is now Upset! Hysterical! What can she do? Will the General love her? Will Roethe cause more trouble?

Have you ever seen a woman who brings all sort of smelly stuff on herself? Meet Braindead Imoshen. Ninety percent of the nonsense in this story can be avoided if she will put her foot down and take a firm stand. Be selfish a little, even. She should have let Roethe die if he is such a nuisance, especially after the nonsense he has inflicted on her. But no, she is a healer (the romance novel codeword for the village idiot, no doubt), so she spends the entire novel running up and down healing and catering to both Roethe and the General. Maybe Ms Daniells believe that Braindead Imoshen is selfless and hence courageous. Newsflash: real courage is taking control of one's life, not avoiding it by trying to please every-freaking-body.

Along the way, the author pulls out plot twists rented from Deus Ex Machina, Inc - complications are solved by suddenly revealed old customs or Imoshen's new psychic powers. Timely revelations of new powers happen just when one needs that power to save the day. When things seem to be happy, suddenly Imoshen remembers some old Law that requires her to make herself even more of a martyr to the church of utmost stupidity.

I do admit I find myself turning the pages just to see who Braindead Imoshen will end up with: Roethe or the General. But after having suffering through too many painful plot contrivances, too convenient plot resolutions, and unbelievably obtuse and pathetically stupid characters - yes, all of them are stupid beyond belief - I wish I have just skipped to the last page and spare myself the trauma of this unbelievably bad attempt at "romantic fantasy". If there's any use to this pathetic book, it's in a creative writing class as a textbook example of the pitfalls of too much deus ex machina plot devices and ridiculous characterizations.

Rating: 34

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