Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60928-372-8
Fantasy Romance, 2011
Anthropology PhD candidate Lexi Harrison has plans: get her PhD next month, join a team to Peru, and have a blast. Unfortunately, on one fine day, her beloved mentor Prof Xaviera spoils everything by giving her a mysterious box and telling her to trust “the one who walks in the dark”. Incidentally, Lexi is also a hot belly dancer wiggling those Sharqi moves to get to men’s little heads and get them to finance her tuition. Without putting out, of course. At any rate, shortly after her strange encounter with her mentor, she meets our mysterious hero Mikos Tyomi, who dresses up all in black and broods while watching her do her Sharqi moves in the club. The next thing she knows, she learns that she is the designated Special Heroine who can save the world from demons, while Mikos is the fallen angel who will protect her.
Now, I admire a strong heroine as much as any reader, but I think Lexi is a bit overdone in the Simply Amazing department. She wiggles her hips like the sexiest woman alive, she is a brilliant anthropology student, and when the going gets tough, she pulls out some hap ki do moves. Nothing seems to deter her – she shows very little genuine fear despite being placed in outlandish situations with demons and what not. Pair her with the standard all-powerful hero and I get a suspense-free story where the two simply amazing main characters seem to treat the whole story as a walk in the park.
Key of Solomon is a fast-paced story with action as well as romance, and under any other circumstances, I’d be having a ball reading it. But the characters come off as overpowered and just too amazing compared to their foes, so the story isn’t an even playing field. I never get the sense that the characters are in any genuine danger. As a result, I never feel compelled to invest emotionally in the story or feel for the characters. That and the fact that there aren’t anything here that I haven’t come across before in stories of this kind make this story a pleasant but rather forgettable read.