Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-4022-3653-2
Fantasy Romance, 2011
The Lady of the Storm is full of Sue. Cecily Sutton, half-elf, and Giles Beaumont are perfect. The author repetitively describes their physical attributes every other page. It is as if Ms Kennedy feared that I would ever forget for even a second that her characters are less than perfect.
On pages 2 and 3 of this book alone, Cecily has been lavished with the following purple prose: “black hair gleamed in the sunlight”, “luscious mouth”, “large inhuman eyes” that “glittered in the sunlight, twin jewels of blue, with a crystalline depth that bespoke the enormous power the young woman could summon”, “full curvature of womanhood”, “vivid blue eyes”, “heart-shaped brow”, “lilt of her laughter”. As I go deeper into the story, the purple phraseology like “enormous eyes” continues to pile up like a mountain of Barney dolls awaiting a bonfire, culminating with the following cringe-inducing paragraph that should have never existed outside of fanfiction.net:
Cecily took to domestic life like she took to the sea. She had but to watch a quilting circle once to learn how to sew. She cooked all of their meals, inventing her own dishes to tempt her mother’s delicate appetite. She tended the finest garden in the village, her vegetables and herbs always growing large and fine. She spun her own thread, wove her own cloth, and made her dresses from hand-drawn designs that Father would bring from England.
So we have it: a heroine who is fae and impossibly beautiful, with big breasts and a delicate waist, who is clearly the picture of domestic perfection, and yet she is unappreciated by her mother (only her father understands her). She is great with everything and everyone. Oh, and she is also adored by dolphins, since she loves to cavort with them in an innocent non-sexual manner. She also has awesome powers, of course, granted by her real father, which allows her to command storms, but she refuses to use them because storms destroy beautiful things and her glittering unicorn heart of hearts weeps like the marching of Lemming Barbies making their way to a cliff at the idea of killing a precious, wee, beautiful, innocent life. The unicorns! The dolphins! Creepy girl-woman heroines with impossibly big shining eyes! Storms can destroy them, so storms are bad while dolphins are good. Oh god.
The hero isn’t lacking either when it comes to resembling a hentai character. Since he is only human, Ms Kennedy tones down on the descriptions of eyes as wide as galaxies and as shiny as a thousand blue suns. Seriously, Cecily’s eyes seem to increase in size every time the author makes a reference to them, which happens every other page. Back to Giles, she uses phrases like “perfect skin”, “firm buttocks”, and “shapely legs”. It seems like the author chooses not to waste her creative anime-speak on the hero – who is, after all, only human – but at least Giles’s eyes aren’t expanding every chapter, I guess. However, his body seems to become even more impossibly perfect every time the author chooses to sigh over it, which happens every time when she’s not cooing about Cecily’s beauteous breasts, Mary Sue virtues, and – of course – her enormous shiny blue eyes. These mind-numbingly repetitive praises of both our main characters’ beauty are so bleeding boring to read.
There is a plot here, by the way, at least, a B-plot to the author telling her readers that she has a fetish for elf hentai. Giles is Cecily’s protector, and when she blows her cover by throwing up a storm (ha, ha) and decides to look for her daddy, he has to tag along. They bicker like children when they are not boinking or repeating the same thought in their beautiful but empty heads. Everything just feels purple and overwrought.
I really think that if we can somehow strip away the hideous and vapid aspects of the writing, this story may actually be bearable. Not great, but readable, perhaps, as Cecily’s grotesquely Sue personality also harbors a refreshing sense of determination that sees her displaying a bit more backbone than the usual romance heroine when her back is against the wall. It’s just too bad that Cecily is also too stupid for words most of the time, but I guess we can’t all be perfectly beautiful and awesome as well as smart at the same time.
The Lady of the Storm manages to encapsulate everything that is loathsome and laughable about bad Mary Sue fan fiction into its robust length. I would have admired the author for being so… enthusiastic… if reading the end result weren’t akin to having to listen to nails on chalkboard for three hours straight.