Crystal Moon
by Elysa Hendricks, fantasy (2000)
ImaJinn, $13.50, ISBN 1-893896-42-0

Empathic, healer-mad child-like heroine all about the purity and innocence (eeeuw), hero trying to hard to hate the heroine even as he lusts after her, megalomaniac daddies... Crystal Moon is a throwback to the era of mediocre romantic fantasy renaissance. I'm reminded of why, to be blunt, the entire paranormal fantasy romance subgenre can sometimes suck worse than a black hole.

Sometimes, throwing up a healing, mind-reading heroine isn't enough to make a compelling fantasy romance. Sianna DiSanti, fresh from the Nitwit Cloister of Stupid Nuns, is out and tripping around in her heal-and-read-minds Snow White in the dark woods kinda jaunt when she is kidnapped by an enraged woman. Turns out that this woman and the rest of the ragtag rebels led by our hero Kyne Cathor mistake her for her half-sister, whom they are certain seduced and plotted the murder of Kyne's late brother.

But she is so hot! He cannot resist! But... she may be pregnant with his brother's child! (I don't really understand how they come to this conclusion, but hey, I won't ask too many questions.) So he'll just use her as a bait to flush out her father. He hates her! But she is so hot. Repeat and rinse, interspersed with love scenes that have our heroine acting all gasping and Barbie-dollish.

It's a hard buy that a woman who can read minds can remain so "pure" and "innocent" (read: naive beyond belief). Conveniently, she can't read her family members' minds, so she doesn't know that her father is bad. Wait, she knows that her father is bad, but surely he can't do such a bad thing like murder! She wants his love, you know! In a way, Sianna DiSanti is like that Trekkie braindead psychic Counselor Troi. You know Troi? That stupid woman who, surrounded by a pack of enraged Klingons bearing great, great weapons of destruction, will turn around and say, "I sense strong anger from these Klingons." Sianna, meet your mother.

Kyne and Sianna's relationship doesn't ring real. Sorry, not one bit. If the author has taken time to give Sianna and Kyne some depths, maybe. Since she didn't, this "Hate you! So innocent! Hate you! So pure, how can I resist? Hate you!" romance seems more like a naive testament of how Innocent and Purity overcomes Anger and Vengeance. Sianna is basically a Cassie Edwards heroine transplanted to a distant planet and the hero Kyne is a lecherous one-dimensional angry man who just has to debauch an innocent dingbat.

In short, Crystal Moon is formulaic mediocrity, crystal-clear.

Rating: 53

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