Sierra Rose, $11.00, ISBN 978-1448619832
Fantasy Romance, 2009
Celtic Evil: Roarke is the first in a series of books revolving around the lives of the Fitzgerald brothers. They are destined for great things, if you trust the babbling villain in the prologue who wants them dead, but they will need to find a way to reconnect first before they achieve this greatness. You see, after the death of their parents, the Fitzgerald brothers have gone separate ways although they still stay in touch. The “singing brothers” are coming back this time around, and their comeback album, figuratively speaking, is going to be a smash hit. Or something like that.
The best thing I can say about this book is that I can understand the language the author is using here. She seems to have an aversion to the comma, given how many sentences in this book are missing that punctuation. Has this book been edited? There are clumsy and abrupt shifts in points of view from paragraph to paragraph. For a long time, I have no clear idea as to what is going on here. All I know is that a babbling Voldemort-wannabe villain wants the brothers dead. For the rest of the story, things happen, seemingly at random.
The author is so in love with her characters, she has each brother repeating their family back story – the same one – to a female every time a brother is introduced. That makes several similarly constructed scenes in a row, with the character saying pretty much the same thing in each scene. In one scene, the female actually relates the brother’s family history to him! And these scenes all end with some creepy talking bird, wolf, and other creatures show up to scare the female into screaming while the Fitzgerald brother poses manfully in defiance. Not to mention, these Evil Talking Animals all say the same thing to each brother! So many repetitive scenes placed back to back, my god. If this book has been edited by someone other than the author or her best friend, I’d suggest that she asks for her money back.
And all these are found in just the first 20 pages. I haven’t even covered yet how secondary characters conveniently know things that will shed light on or even solve a problem just when our heroes encounter that particular problem. Then there are the awkward sentences. The author claims that a character is giving orders to the cook but this character is actually talking to one of our heroes, who is definitely not the cook. Our heroes have not only sixth but also seventh sense. What the heck is the seventh sense supposed to be again? Female characters exist in this story solely to be adoring stool cushions for the brothers when they are not parroting these guys in confusion (useful opening for these guys to give long dreary expositions on events that have already been described, oh, a page or two ago) or regaling these guys with exposition material. The brothers are pretty much interchangeable because characterization in this book rarely extends beyond descriptions of the characters’ physical beauty.
What else is there? The talking animals are hilarious, but I have this hunch that the author intended for them to be creepy and menacing. Characters scream, shout, and rage melodramatically, perhaps to compensate for their paper-thin personalities. Scenes meant to be poignant and heartbreaking end up being scenes of pure comedy due to a potent combination of hilarious inappropriate use of words and stilted speeches passed off as conversations.
“I saw you die so I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming, Mum.” Roarke shook his head, a buzzing beneath his skin trying to get his attention but Brenna’s smile kept his attention.
“Aye, I know you did. It was a tragic event when a child of your age had to see your father and I give our lives up to save you.” A gentle mother’s tone spoke the words but they still made him cringe as the buried guilt began creeping back up.
I’ve merely covered the first 34 pages of this book by this point. There are about 250 pages more to go, and really, saying anything more here will be akin to flogging a dead horse. This book is just plain horrible. It’s a lethally dull read due to pacing issues, the characters are nothing more than paper cut-outs with cartoon faces drawn on them, and… really, nothing works here. There are some laughter to be had here at the author’s expense, but that’s pretty much all there is to this… thing.