by Maggie Shayne, paranormal (2001)
Jove, $6.99, ISBN 0-515-13013-3

Ho hum. Destiny, the final instalment of Maggie Shayne's primetime mainstream paranormal immortal witch series, is interesting in its flashbacks to our hero and heroine's playing King and Priestess of Sumer. For the uninitiated in history, Sumer is one of the early civilizations of men, centered around the rivers Tigris and Euphrates circa 2,500 BC. I think.

But like the other two books in the trilogy, Destiny is best described as uneven and sugary. I really want to love this author's works, since she is one of the last authors keeping the paranormal genre standing. However, Destiny's overreliance on the soul-mate-mating thingie to explain the attraction between Eannatum the King of Sumer and Nidaba the priestess only to use the annoying misunderstanding thing to prolong the conflict - well, if one or both lovers so easily misjudge the other, so much for soul-mate bonding and everything sugar, huh?

Eannatum, or Nathan as he is known in 2000, is having a nice quiet life in modern day USA when he reads of a woman's miraculous survival from an apparent suicide attempt (jumping down a skyscraper). He recognizes the woman in the photo as his Nidaba, whom he has lost long, long, long ago when he lets duties and a shrewish wife dictate his choices. What can he do? He rushes to Nidaba, nurses her, and spends time thinking of their shared past.

The past involves some attraction, vows of undying love (as both are immortal witches, I say big deal), and Difficult Choices as Eannatum marries a Bad Woman out of duty and destiny. Bad Woman sabotages these two's beautiful love story (can you blame Bad Woman?), and Nidaba believes until today that not only Eannatum has betrayed her, he has Wounded Her Beyond Recovery, Oh The Pain. She will never forgive him! Never! Nev - ooh save her, Nathan, that evil Witch is out to get her!

Destiny comes to life during the early stages of the Sumerian flashbacks (before the tiresome perfect sugar love overdose starts stacking) and towards the end. Everything in between is silly misunderstandings and some weird, archaic sounding corny dialogues. Did I mention how whiny Nidaba is? She is also a bit on the dim side.

All in all, this book reads like a half-baked affair. There's promise, but this story makes so many cheesy kowtows to the dreaded gods Mediocrity, Typicality, and Corniness that the end result falls way short of the promise. Destiny needs a healthy dose of magic alright.

Rating: 61

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