Bantam, $6.50, ISBN 0-553-58391-3
Historical Romance, 2002
Is there a point of this story? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m really puzzled. The premise of this story is this: Brianna, a young girl washed up on Akora when she was eight, is now trying to return to England to rediscover her roots. Her home? Holyhood. Her boyfriend? Atreus. (Oh shut up, Limahl, that’s Atreyu, not Atreus.) Atreus is the Vanax of Akora – you’ll be reading that word a lot, somewhat as if Vanax of Akora is Atreus’s last name or something. And that’s it.
Along the way, this book is padded to the point of rupture with inane chatter between characters from the previous two books. It is not as if they talk about anything useful. All they talk about is Akoran culture and comparisons between Akora and England. I’m not kidding. Maybe the author wants to make me engaged in the anthropology study of her people, but to be honest, I can’t be bothered.
Atreus is a typical stoic hero. Brianna is the typical all-italics, worshiping-him-forever heroine. Their love story is all about the static and the monotone, stretched across 325 pages of non-stop chatter about Akoran dresses, Akoran culture, the silly Helios rebels, and other things that will interest only die-hard fanatical members of the Church of Akora. Maybe Josie Litton is trying to pull an L Ron Hubbard, I don’t know, but I’m bored.
And frankly, what’s so great about Akora anyway? The author seems more torn between the masturbation war of England vs Akora, as she keeps alternating between the superiority of both countries that the plot is all but forgotten. Akora wants to have diplomatic ties only with England because while Akora has Greek culture infused in their wearing-rags-all-macho society, they share a monarchy system with England. I didn’t know Greece, Prussia, and France were democracies in the 19th century. Wow, the things I learn from romance novels. And of course, monarchies are so cool. English kings are so cool. England respects independence and territories of other neighbors – just ask India and America. Akora loves England. Although Ms Litton insists that Akora is better, because while Akora is all male-dominated, everybody respects women! Everybody has psychic touchy-feeling tendencies to break into italicized fonts! Everybody dresses up like Atreyu rejects crossed with Roman togas gone wrong! And the king has a thing for lovelorn English babes!
Wait, Ms Litton loves America too, although not to the extent of her love for Akora and England. In fact, in this book, only American, Akoran, and English cultures are worthy, because only these people know the meaning of seizing one’s destiny and starting new lives for themselves. I guess the Indians, the Chinese, and the Native Americans will all drink to that. All hail these destiny-seizing people! Oops, gotta go back to smoking opium and mining gold for you beautiful, forceful destiny seekers.
Maybe Castles in the Mist is actually a deep, insightful allegory about a young actress trying to find her home in Hollywood, er, Holyhood, and Atreus is actually Harvey Weinstein’s Inner Guru made life, and this is the story of how Gwy – er, Brianna sleeps with the boss and achieves nirvana and chakra.
Someone wakes me up when the sea swallows up this tedious Care Bear island of Akora. I wanna watch when that happens.