LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52557-7
Fantasy Romance, 2004
After reading Master of Ecstasy, I went back and checked a few reviews I’ve done on the author’s books in the past and I really must say, Nina Bangs really shouldn’t try so hard to act like an author who’s going to deliver sex scenes that will short-circuit the reader when she won’t or can’t. Like many of the author’s “sexy” paranormal romances in the past, Master of Ecstasy brings up a sexually-charged character or scenario but the payoff is meager and the anatomical throbbing that takes place is mostly in the form of a throbbing headache.
In typical style of the author’s “slut/coquette” literary backhanding, she creates a twenty-fifth century heroine, Blythe, that is joining a “sexy” time-travel adventure to 1785 but Blythe however is operating under the No Sex principle. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to a place with no modern plumbing, the sex has really better be damned good. Then again, I have a brain, while Blythe obviously doesn’t, so never mind. Blythe, her boss Ganymede, and Ganymede’s feline familiar Sparkle Stardust, and an assortment of loonies are vacationing in Castle MacKenzie in 1785. However, the castle is not empty – Darach MacKenzie is at home. He’s a vampire. He’s not happy with the idiots crashing his home, not that I blame him for that. But he wants to sleep with Blythe so there may be a chance for Ganymede to have his party going after all. In the meantime, Ganymede dares Blythe to entertain Darach or face termination. And in Romance Novel Land, romance heroines don’t sue their bosses for fun assignments like this, so it’s time for Blythe to wring her hands as she can’t make up her mind whether to clamp her thighs shut or spread them like peanut butter.
Crude, often juvenile, but always at a fevered pitch, Master of Ecstasy, in the tradition of Ms Bangs’ stories, is running on full steam ahead even if there doesn’t always seem to be any light switched on in the Department of Intelligent Plotting upstairs. Everyone is horny, thanks to Sparkle Stardust’s mischief, but to be honest, there is very little knee-knocking activities here. All the sex here is mostly talk and very little action.
The only saving grace to the overdose of tomfoolery and one-dimensional characters running amok in this story is the later portions of the story when Darach and Blythe stop acting like the new Mope and Dope show and actually work together for a common goal. Only then does Ms Bangs finally seem to be writing a genuine story instead of merely throwing gimmicks, jokes, and teases at my face to mask the fact that she doesn’t really have much going for her in Master of Ecstasy. Ms Bangs knows how to put together interesting ideas, but the execution always seem to leave much to be desired. Maybe one day she will write a story that isn’t cluttered with tedious gimmicks. Maybe not. But for now, the only good thing I can say about this book is that the heroine isn’t a total walking braindead like those creatures starring in the author’s previous books. That has to count for something, I suppose.