by Garthia Anderson, paranormal (2003)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52537-2
Garthia Anderson's romantic magic fantasy story is like a modern-day Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, unfortunately minus the sly and witty satirical humor of the Louis Carroll classic. The only similarity is the heroine jumping into a hole and gets plunged into an adventure of magic and murder that suffers from a terminal case of Perky Oneliner Syndrome.
This book is set 50 years into the future. At that point in time, magic is everywhere and wizards are a part of everyday life. You can hire wizards to do things normal exterminators can't do. Here, Wizzy Wizzy Wizard, please turn my boss into a maggot, that sort of thing. Our heroine Petra Field isn't a wizardess, so when she realizes that her rug has a huge bloodstain, she has to call in a wizard to help her get rid of the stain. Guests are coming, so they'd better hurry. But as it turns out, the rug is enchanted and haunted by the ghost of a woman who was murdered. Or something. The wizard Petra ends up hiring, Vorador, has some ties to the dead Amazon woman who is causing the blood stain to appear.
This is a story that brims with out-of-ordinary events that keep happening just to move the story along. The heroine however is a one-dimensional character who has a one-liner for every occasion but not much else. The hero Vorador is a stereotypical "dark, mysterious" type who gets on my nerves often because he tends to keep the heroine - and me - in the dark and when things get tough, he locks the heroine up in a room to take care of business himself. Since he knows things and the author never lets me know what exactly these things are until it's convenient, Vorador comes off not like a magic man but a Dude Ex Machina. Their romance consists of underdeveloped admiration of each other's physique that gos nowhere until the abrupt declaration towards the end.
In the end, this book isn't a romance as much as a wacky adventure starring two characters who happen to fall in love. The wacky adventure is pretty interesting at places, but my dissatisfaction at the underdeveloped main characters and their romance prevents me from enjoying this book more. Maybe the author's next book will be better. We'll see.
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