Zebra, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-8217-8066-4
Fantasy Romance, 2007
Gideon, the second book in Jacquelyn Frank’s soap opera series The Nightwalkers, cements the author’s reputation as the biggest Christine Feehan fangirl who managed to get herself a publishing contract.
In this one, Gideon, the most bad-ass hero ever (at least until the next book when we get an even more bad-ass hero), gets his story. Just like in Jacob, the male characters have pretty ordinary names but the names of the female characters are straight out of the Giant Book of Mary Sue Heroine Names. Are you ready for the heroine’s name, people? It’s Magdelegna. Or Legna, as she’s called in this story.
Gideon is a very old Demon healer while Legna is that Demon girlfriend he had once upon a time until Oh, Very, Very, Very Dire Circumstances tore them apart and sent Gideon into a self-imposed exile. He’s back though when a plot arises to target Legna while Noah, her Demon King brother, is not amused. At least, there’s supposed to be a plot involving some kind of necromancers here, but the author spends so much time on the ongoing soap opera of her main characters that the plot and the villains are barely a presence in this story.
For their supposed ancient years, our two main characters come off like children so often. Legna, especially, behaves like some child trapped in a porn star’s body, as she is acting like a ridiculously gullible twit when she’s not pouting and trying to pull off the “feisty heroine” act. Gideon delights in calling her a child. Yes, this is that kind of story where the reader is supposed to get off in the creepy father figure overtones in the romance. Throughout this agonizingly slow-moving story, the two characters have all kinds of oh-so-mundane drama like pregnancy blues and “I hate you, let’s shag now!” angst coupled with a complete lack of privacy to the point that there is not a single thought that crosses the heroine’s mind that the hero isn’t aware of. Legna may as well be a Little Bo Peep blow-up doll, given how she exists just to be the receptacle of Gideon’s Mighty Demonic Male Spear of Sheer Angst and Drama.
The writing is still laughably melodramatic, although there is a significant toning down of the purple prose compared to the previous book. Still, the characters in the story don’t speak as much as they launch into epic speeches and they are always acting and feeling in extremes. No wonder there are so many misunderstandings in this story. These people are more interested in flouncing and posturing than anything else.
Gideon, I admit, has its occasional if rare charms at times where Ms Frank manages to pull off a few melodramatic scenes pretty well. However, on the whole the writing is still in need of plenty of improvements. The author has either no sense of priorities when it comes to pacing because there is never enough backstory and tedious exposition where Ms Frank is concerned. The pacing is agonizingly and mind-numbingly slow, the characters are melodramatic exaggerations, and there are way too many “tributes” to the whole formula popularized by Christine Feehan. This is not my idea of a good book by any stretch.