Bantam, $5.99, ISBN 0-553-58583-5
Historical Romance, 2003
Fountain of Dreams is a “So freaking what?” book. The author has created two perfect characters, imbued them with demigod-like powers, and then had them whine about their big breasts and horribly privileged lives and expect me to care. So freaking what?
Revolving yet again the island Akora, where perfection resides in uniformed, almost concentration-camp-like density, and its ridiculous inbreeding with England and now – to a minor extent – America, this time around we have yet another interchangeable Perfect, Perfect Akora heroine Princess Amelia “Melly” Darcourt, and the hero who reminds her of an Akoran man, the American Niels Wolfson.
Ohmigod, Princess Smelly is kidnapped! Never fear, our heroine single-handed breaks free and runs, to be rescued by our American spy in England, Niels Wolfson. Actually, it’s all a scam. The hero Spiel actually plans the whole thing and uses his “hero” status to insinuate himself into the Smelly household. His mission is to discover who, what, and why brought upon the destruction of a recent American ship on its voyage to Akora. Of course, since the hero can’t be guilty, the heroine’s brother can’t be guilty (or how else will he get his own book, definitely coming soon?), and of course, since everyone in Akora is brainwashed into being perfect, perfect, perfect – perfect warriors, perfect lovers, and yes, they finish each other’s sentences too – nobody remotely Akoran can be guilty. That leaves only the envious evil Englishmen, who are, as always, jealous of our American brethren who are strong, mighty, courageous – just like the Akorans, hallelujah – who just have to be the villains.
I normally adore a strong heroine, but Smelly really takes the cake as the irritant pimple puss of the year. She is so understanding! So sexually liberated! So courageous! So passionate! So intelligent! So… so… you get the idea, I’m sure. Then, I have to sit through her patronizing attempts to be like a normal girl. Oh, she doesn’t like trying on beautiful and expensive clothes that accentuate her perfect physique! Her life is so boring! And oh yes, don’t forget the obligatory “She will never marry!” nonsense. Why? That’s because Smelly wants me to believe that she’s just like me, only bigger, better, bustier, and destined to eat my shoe if she ever dares come near me, that horrible creature.
As for the men in this story, well, what can I say? They are all uniformly similar in behavior, speech, and more. Akorans aren’t only the best human race in the world, they are also coming over to take over England’s economy. Smelly’s father and uncles apparently not only hold VIP posts in Akora, they have what seems like the best lands in England, the most money, the most power, the most charisma, the most… sheesh. Why do they stone the poor Jews of those times when the Akorans are so much easier to channel one’s irrational bigotry towards?
Some, like Andreas and that Shadow fellow, are walking advertisements for sequels. All the author needs to Fed-Ex all her manuscripts to the publisher is one silly “I just have to read about Smellier the brother!” letter from a really gullible reader who bites the bait. If she hasn’t Fed-ex’ed them already. Spiel is already described as a man reminiscent of an Akoran early in the book, so he, Smelly, Smellier, and Smelliest are all the same: lethally, dully perfect and superheroic. I bet I will be getting sequels starring Americans with names like Chilly Dragonbane, Wulfric Foxy, and Naboo Bearabeara soon. Another ship is probably on its way to Akora now, filled with sequel-baits starring handsome courageous Ken dolls with animalistic surnames. Buy, buy, buy!
What can the villain do to break through this evil and disgusting perfection overkill? Nothing, obviously. Like I said, so freaking what. Oh, the heroine is captured! So freaking what – she’ll get away or some magnificent Akoran will save her soon. The hero is in danger! Pffft. One swipe of that American Fist of Liberation and Justice and the whole kibosh is over. Pass the ketchup and let me eat my own brain to kill my boredom. The hero and the heroine can’t be together! Oh please, like that will really happen. See, I knew it. They’ll procreate, create disgustingly perfect and obnoxiously boring children and ruin the world with their uniform pastiche monotony. There is no sense of uncertainty, thrill, risk, or anticipation in this story. The hero and the heroine and all their sequel and prequel friendly friends and families and cousins are perfect – how can they ever go wrong? No, it’s just me enduring the countless vapid profundities spoken and done by demigods pretending to be ordinary Joes while waiting for the very obvious (and overused plot device) villain to make his move and then get nailed ten thousand ways at once by Mighty Mighty Akorans and Americans like the pathetic no-hope fly that he is.
It’s just too bad Akora isn’t real. I would love to herd off all these Akorans to some breeding farm and breed them all just like cute little Shih-tzu doggies. Pure-bred Akorans for sale, anybody? They make good house pets – you can have endless sex with them, they will tackle oncoming trucks and buses for you, and don’t worry if their perfect beefcake and buxom bodies get splattered into messy brain and ligament tissue porridge on the floor after some Akoran dogfight marathon in some illegal underground tournament. Josie Litton’s Akoran Mattel Factory (how else do you think the Akorans all learn to act so similar – have you seen the bar codes at the back of their necks?) has a limitless supply of such cute dumb creatures for use and abuse. Everyone come on up and get an Akoran today!