Bantam, $7.50, ISBN 0-553-57410-8
Historical Romance, 2000 (Reissue)
Oh boy. Nothing is more frustrating than reading a book by an author whom one knows is capable of so much more but who is content to tread the same rut and potholes in each of the books she churns out. Once, I actually remember her heroes and heroines and the marvelous banters and adventures but now… yikes.
I borrowed this book, and I’m glad, because at one point of this story the hero – what’s his name again? – Edison Stokes actually quotes verbatim something Sebastian said in Dangerous. If that and the closet scene aren’t dead giveaways of I Thee Wed‘s “inspiration”, we also have yet another new Way of Life, Vanzayaddayaddayadda. Oops, it’s Vanzagara, and I thought Zamar’s the fad. Our hero Edison’s a Vanza practitioner, hence we have lots of oblique terms like “stepping outside the circle” flying about. Reminds me of Oprah when she’s going all “love, my sisters” on the Oxygen network.
The plot? Edison Stokes is looking for a lost book of recipes for some mind-control thingie, and his search leads him to a party where he bumps into Emma Greyson, the companion with a tart tongue, in a closet while overhearing two people having skanky boink sessions. Someone is trying to kill Edison, Emma finds herself the Chosen One of the bad guys, and oh my, is it time for Dharma and Greg on TV yet?
I’m not just bored, I’m still suffering from rigor mortis. How dead bored? Let me count the ways: dead informants who conveniently pinpoints important clues to our hero, who happens to come just in time, suspects who happen to die the moment our hero and heroine barge into their home, the two nasty footpads coming out of the mists to be cobbled by our Zamar/Way of the Water/Vanza/Cowboy Kungfu/something-syn-zen martial skills, the compromised-now-marriage angle to move the plot (after 16 books, it’s definitely time to move on)… pffft! Sorry, fell asleep.
Humor? Check. The obligatory three lovemaking sessions? Check. Villain who blabs everything to the good guys while waving a pistol at them in the last few chapters? Check, check, check. Hey, wasn’t it Azrael in Dogma that said, “Oh no, I’ve watched too many barn movies to know that you never give everything away, not even when you’re this close to victory”? That makes this story a barn story, right?
There are two interesting scenes: Emma throwing Edison’s grandmother off-guard, and the grandmother repaying Emma by defending her publicly. Two interesting scenes, barely five pages, in a grand sum of 362 pages. For $7.50? No thanks.