by Gia Dawn, historical/fantasy (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-052-3
Gia Dawn returns to her world of Westmyre with Dunmore Rising. The first ever Dunmore to be knighted, Sir Graham, is a suspicious man, however, especially since the women of his family have banded together with the three fairy godmothers Snapdragon, Pansy, and Rose to do who knows what kind of havoc in his life. He is understandably not keen on their suggestion that he takes a female squire, but you know how it is: a "suggestion" from Mommy Dearest isn't a suggestion as much as it is an order. His squire is Jiliana who has been trained by the female fighters in Eastshyre to be as kick-ass as possible. She is also his childhood acquaintance, although the two of them have naturally since grown up to become Playboy and Playgirl centerfold materials. So, let the... er, jousting begin? Watch out for that ninja though. Yes, that's right, a ninja.
I haven't been enjoying the last few books in the series so I'm pleasantly surprised by how much Dunmore Rising seems to get right what the last few books don't. There aren't too many distracting secondary characters running wild, the main characters have enough development to ensure that they aren't just one-note types, and the relationship is paced pretty well despite the two characters moving past first base pretty quickly in this story. Jili's past isn't exactly a pretty one, but she doesn't wallow too much in self-pity or moan that she is in some way unworthy of love. Graham can be a silly boy at times - he's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed - but he makes a great couple with Jili. These two work very well as a team and as a result, it is most enjoyable to follow them as the story progresses.
The story isn't much to write about as it's pretty much a sequence of amusing romps stringed together by a very thin thread passed off as a plot, but it's a most entertaining one to read due to the characters and the way they interact with each other under various circumstances.
Dunmore Rising is a much more enjoyable read compared to the last few books in the series. I don't know what inspired this turnaround but I like it very much indeed.
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