Silhouette Bombshell, $4.50, ISBN 0-373-51315-1
Paranormal Romantic Suspense, 2004
This is the first book in the author’s Sisters of the Ark series. Daughter of Destiny features Native American characters – this seems like a typical pattern for this author’s books, unless I’m greatly mistaken – and enough dream/spirit yammering to fill up a new age paraphernalia store. It is too bad that the characters are cardboard thin and their “romance” is nothing more than inconsistent hot-and-cold bickering.
Lt Kai Alseoun is court-martialed for fighting back against an officer. Nobody believes that she was defending herself from a sex fiend and now she is on an All Men Are Bastards trip. Licking her wounds by staying with her grandmother at the North Carolina reservation, she discovers a vision quest. The fate of the world hangs in the balance (don’t ask) and she has to find some crystals scattered all over the world to restore the Lost Ark of the Cherokee. First stop is Australia, where she needs to find a shaman she communicates with through dreams (don’t ask) to help her locate the first crystal. The Perseus organization actually takes this mission seriously to fund Kai’s journey (suckers) but they will only do so on one condition: she takes a man from her past, Jake “Stands Alone” Carter with her.
But all men are bastards, see? And Kai can’t trust another man again! How can she do this? Oh, oh, oh!
Ms McKenna writes in a very simple manner, probably too simple, in the sense that her characters are either on a “hate” mode or a “love” mode. Emotions aren’t this black-and-white, so Kai and Jake’s relationship feels too hot or cold with very little in between. The result is a romance story filled with contrived internal conflicts to keep the couple apart. Kai and Jake are one-dimensional characters with contrived angst and torments that they should have gotten over or at least put aside without having to behave like silly children. The paranormal elements add little to this story because with characters flatter than flat stuck in a relationship that doesn’t exhibit any chemistry, I find it hard to care about anything else about this story.
Maybe if Ms McKenna – like too many authors of stories featuring Native American characters – stop assuming that “paranormal elements” and “politically correct soapbox” are interchangeable with “character development” and “convincing drama”, she would’ve delivered a better story than the utterly dry Daughter of Destiny.