Review: Great main characters, interesting use of otherworldly settings, good-enough plot, non-offensive secondary characters. I chose this one in the same way I chose most of the books this summer/fall: while stuck at an airport traveling for work. If there had been another choice, I wouldn’t have picked this one due to the shallow, cookie cutter marketing on the back cover. It doesn’t hint at either the depth of the characters or provide the plot points that make this story unique and fun. It’s unusual for a back cover to do such disservice.
Heroine: Carrow is a wild-child, spunky, fearless, and a total rebel. This type of character can be an easy initial build but tough to maintain, especially when lazy writers are tempted to soften complicated character facets as the book progresses. Fortunately, the author didn’t take short cuts with this one and allowed the character to remain true to herself. As a witch of some sort, Carrow doesn’t really offer any fantastic abilities. (At least, they weren’t memorable to me.) It’s her mix of street sense, rebelliousness, and good-natured personality that draws and keeps the reader’s attention. She’s unapologetic about who she is but also a very good person at her core.
Hero: If Carrow bee-bops off the pages of the book, Malkom leaps out and knocks over your Christmas tree. He was a good guy who was screwed over and sentenced to solitary on some purgatorial type of dimension. He’s masculine, caveman-like and remains rough around the edges throughout the book while trying really hard to be less of an ape and more of the man he thinks his woman deserves. He doesn’t wake up one day and become a gentleman – again, the author didn’t cut corners with this character. It makes for some comical, well-developed scenes where the hero and heroine are truly confused by each other – and it’s as realistic as relationship between two people from two different worlds can be.
The plot is good enough. This is another of those books that’s a continuation of some bigger magical good vs. evil battle. There’s some uphill climb for the reader to understand what’s going on outside of the hero and heroine, but it’s not a heavy lift and is sprinkled throughout the book so as not to overwhelm. The secondary characters – many of whom have their own books in this series – are non-intrusive and non-offensive: developed enough not to draw your attention without stealing any scenes from the main characters. In general, the author does a good job of tying up loose ends and not releasing you into a new world without a GPS.
My only real disappointment with this book was towards the end. Many romantic fiction books follow a pattern of in-depth character interaction in the beginning and a rushed plot development in the second half. This book was no exception. I felt a little irked at being rushed through scenes to support the plot after enjoying my time getting to know the characters during the first half.