Destiny's Warrior
by Heather Waters, historical/paranormal (2007)
Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-425-21962-1

There is a creepy scene in this story where our hero Gavin McCain loses control of his powers, shoves the heroine off way too hard, and injures her badly as a result. The heroine, Nakkole, however, is happy because she is "proud" to witness Gavin unleashing his power, and whatever remorse Gavin may be feeling at that moment, it is gone two pages later when he's back at being the ridiculous jealousy-crippled whiny twit that he is.

Destiny's Warrior suffers from the characters' emotions flitting all over the place as if they are kids with ADD or something, as a result sometimes it can get disturbing indeed - like the scene I described above - while other times the characters are being inconsistent to the point of exasperating me.

In the Otherworld, Queine Elphina was plotting to take over the throne of the near-dead King Arrane, but the King had ordered his people to steal the Orb of Truth from Elphina before she could make her move. At the opening of the story, Elphina decides to avenge the theft by slaying her half-brother, Gavin, who had been hidden among humans until it is time for him to come home and take over the throne. Well, the time is now and Nakkole, a faerie, is charged to help him discover his magic and bring him home.

Because Gavin is a silly putz, however, he will take some convincing before he will even accept that he is a magical asshole, and Nakkole, who starts out a silly but well-meaning heroine, soon turns into a creepy creature who enables Gavin during moments when she would do better to kick some sense into that fool.

It's not that Gavin is deliberately written as an asshole, I believe, as much as it's Ms Waters' characterization running all over the place. The author also doesn't seem to be aware of the moments when her characters are behaving really oddly in a given situation (such as Nakkole feeling pleased that she get to witness Gavin's power even if she ends up bloody on the floor as a result). As a result, the characters' emotions don't feel real. They seem to be doing or feeling things just because the plot requires such from them.

On the bright side, Ms Waters can really tell a story when she puts her mind to it because this one, despite its flaws, remains a very compelling read that I can't easily put down. I also like how the author attempts and mostly succeeds in presenting the villain as something more than a cardboard character. The penultimate scene where Arrane has to confront Elphina is quite well done.

Destiny's Warrior is a pretty flawed story with some pretty big characterization problems, but nonetheless it remains a most engaging read. A part of me actually likes this book because of its well-told story, heh. If Ms Waters has a steadier grip on her characters, she'll no doubt write something that will make me very happy one day.

Rating: 77

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