Liquid Silver Books, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-62210-269-3
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 2015
Errin Stevens’s Updrift is interesting because it starts out with the heroine Kate Sweeting still being a kid when she met her destined true love Gabe Blake on a cruise. She thought she was jumping into the sea with a boy – everyone else saw a dolphin instead. That is the first sign to the reader that Gabe is… well, not a normal person. Kate’s widowed mother eventually moved to another town, met a nice guy, but they remained close to Gabe and his mother Carmen. Thing is, as they grow up, Gabe began to act rather oddly, going away for long periods of time and often telling Kate about how he is not supposed to see her too often.
A lot of things happen, there are some ups and downs, but eventually Kate will learn of Gabe’s secrets and be his one true love. That last part is to be expected, of course, so it is all about the journey in getting to that point.
My trouble with this story boils down to one thing: this is too big a story to be contained within its length. This is not a short story at all, but the story is still too big to be crammed inside here. This is because the author chooses to tell the story all the way from when these two were kids, instead of opting to restrict herself to choice flashback moments, so I guess she asked for this, heh. The author also relies very heavily on exposition narrative to move the story at its breakneck pace especially in Part 1, so as a result, the entire story feels superficial and rushed. Important events can be condensed into a single paragraph, therefore their impact on the characters’ lives never feels meaningful.
It’s a shame, because aside from some weird sexual things going on here (such as the orgy-that-isn’t-an-orgy; don’t ask), the entire story could have been an interesting read. The author has a nice whimsical style that goes along very well with the tone and nature of this story, although her characters’ conversations could use a bit more work (too stilted and monologue-y). The heroine feels like a real person often, and the whole story has potential. But because the story ends up being how and what it is, the potential remains largely undelivered. Maybe next time.