LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52512-7
Fantasy Romance, 2002
Dominion is probably the only Dorchester book I’ve come across where the cover and the back blurb surpasses the story inside when it comes to quality. I love the cover which is what you’ll get when Jonathon Earl Bowser goes slutty, and the line on the front cover “Let there be love” and the one at the back cover “In aeternum” – all are masterfully designed to capture the attention of your usual new age crystal junkie and tarot dabbling arty-farty reader browsing the bookstore aisles. Just brilliant.
What is inside however, is a bewildering mess. It could have been a powerful story of a love that defies the chains and limitations of time and death, but instead it panders to the annoying braincell-free formula of purity, innocence, and inexperience as if these are what makes a woman worth loving. Give me a break. The hero is a typical arrogant ass, the heroine is a typical use-free all-my-braincells-died humorless and workaholic ee-ee-pure heroine, and their love seems to be nothing but italicized non-stop erotic dreams. The dreams, by the way, aren’t that erotic. This is a paranormal romance that uses all the trite and tested cliché about reincarnation and unthinking, purely visceral and hysterical love, it comes off like something one will get with Auntie Bertha, the family crazy kook, writes a wildly melodramatic and lurid “new age romance”.
Domitien was once a great man with great love in his heart, until he lost his woman and he vows he will never love again. Along the way, he encounters a woman who loves bondage, another who loves being blindfolded, and then some more women who just love their sex, and oh yeah, a whiny opera singer who seems insulated not only from any sexual instincts but also a sense of humor. Guess who’s the heroine. Let there be love? Let the kids finish school first, people.
What happens next is a hodge-podge of italicized paragraphs, time travel, astral travel, I don’t know. These two people do a lot of things, most of them often turning stupid thanks to our heroine’s wide-eyed curiosity. Dom and our heroine Laris are never fully developed characters as much as they are cardboard figures trapped in a story that seems to care more about abusing the italic font as much as it could get away with. There are two annoying angels, a depiction of a monotheistic God as the ultimate matchmaker that will drive some faithful to renounce the faith if they are not careful, and oh, yeah, a pretty sexy guy named Death, who probably doesn’t look like Brad Pitt and thank goodness for that.
Dominion can be interesting, but the badly-drawn characters, lackluster romance, and a premise that seems more like a stringed-along kook broth rather than a well-planned fantasy tableau: these elements are ultimately its downfall. Let there be love, but in the case of this book, it’s probably a really long time in coming.