Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-053878-3
Historical Romance, 2004
Avon has bought Donna Fletcher and put her overly-verbose style of storytelling through the giant plot homogenizer they have in the center of their office block in New York. The result is that Legendary Warrior, the heroine’s unusual skills aside, is yet another tedious “Me? Pretty? No way!” story drowning in so many uninspiring handled clichés. And thanks to the author’s tendency to have her characters talk interminably about every single thing that crosses their minds, this is one bland story that just goes on and on interminably until I fear that I will expire from boredom.
Set in some time period between “medieval” and “wallpaper”, this story is about Reena Cullen, a heroine who can read and make excellent maps as well as converse in Latin and French. But oh no, her village is under siege by the nasty Peter Kilkern who isn’t above starving everybody to death. And worse, apparently, her best buddy is going to offer her delectable body as a sacrifice to this nasty Earl in exchange for the villain’s giving the village a reprieve! I wonder what’s to stop the nasty scum for shagging this woman and then starving everybody afterwards, but never mind, that’s not the silliest notion to do – if you’re a smart, cunning woman who can use your body to control a man, which we all know is beyond the capabilities of the meager mentally-endowed heroines and their friends. Reena has a better idea – she’ll seek out the Legend, this wonderful man whose stories she has been hearing since she was a kid, and asks him to come back and kick Peter’s butt!
Since she is conveniently thin, she passes herself off as a lad to find this Legend, who, for a Legend, is a little too easy to find. Anyway, the Legend, whose name is Magnus, has his own reasons to accept Reena’s offer of map-making services in exchange for his kicking the bad guys away from her village. He comes back, drives the villain away, and then proceeds to play the boring game with Reena. Reena insists that he must go with her luscious buddy instead of her because she is thin and hence not worthy of love! The Legend wants her, admires her, but oh, for some reason he can’t really make a move on her! She gets into trouble. He saves her. They kiss, sometimes do a bit more than that, and then they break away. She moans that love cannot be but oh, how sad she is that it cannot be, although she must be strong to make him happy by making herself more unhappy! He moans. And finally, after they decide to fall in love, there is still a long way to go before the book ends and the author proceeds to have the characters do more tedious and just frankly uninteresting things before the predictable denouement happens.
By the time the book is close to an end, I have long stopped caring about the characters, the plot, and my reaction to them. It doesn’t matter, not when I am numbed by boredom and merely turning the pages in some zombified reflex action on my part. This one feels like a story that the author recycles from her previous books, only this time the story peters out into interminably dull psychobabble soon enough. I’m never more relieved to read the corny editor’s words that always appear at the back of every Avon non-superleader book, I tell you. The cheesy advertisement for next month’s books is positively scintillating compared to the entire chore that is Legendary Warrior.