Chippewa Publishing, $3.00
Fantasy Romance, 2005
While I understand the reason for the generally shorter length of most digital books compared to traditional dead tree books – most people who read e-books appreciate shorter stories which are easier to read, for example – books like Ella Scopilo’s La Pantera: Episode 1 Old Friends Die Hard give me reservations about just what kind of shorter stories that should be published. The reason for this is that there is a general unfinished feel to this story. At only 47 pages, this book makes me feel like I’m reading the draft of the first chapter of the book.
Our heroine is Carlia Sanchez, who leads a double life as La Pantera. She’s psychic and she has ninja powers. She’s out to save the world, naturally, and this book tells the story of how she becomes La Pantera. She also finds love along the way.
This one is the kind of story that is very difficult to review fairly. How can you review a small part of a longer story? At least in the first book of a fantasy trilogy, I have some clear picture of where the story is heading towards and I can work on that. Here, Ms Scopilo is trying to work out a La Femme Nikita-like storyline while incorporating some sexy scenes to enable this book to be marketed as a spicy read. Unfortunately, she has only 47 pages to work on. The result is a story of a rather dim-witted heroine who often doesn’t know what is going on around her. The sex scenes take up space that really should have gone into proving me that she has a functional brain.
As it is, this story is supposed to be some light-hearted romp in the tradition of a half-hour campy Batman episode from the 1960s series, but with much of the eroticism in this story coming from skanky scenes involving psychopathic Hispanic politicians and crime bosses, it doesn’t really go down well with me. There is little to no character development in a story that doesn’t know whether it should focus on campy T&A elements or an actual credible plotline. Perhaps anyone intending to follow this series should wait until a few episodes are published in order to get the big picture. Maybe this story is meant to be a light-hearted lampoon but in its current form it is too short and tells a story that is really in need of depths to justify the investment of my time and money in it. The author really should have worked on this series a little more longer and come up with an end product that is longer and more complete.