by Jeanne Barrack, fantasy (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-530-5
A Perfect Symmetry is a genuine sequel to The Shimmering Flame, with the same characters showing up in those two books. The plot is also a continuation of the one in the previous story (the same villain makes a comeback). All that and the large cast in this story can very well make this book a pretty challenging read for anyone who has never read the previous book.
Without giving away too many spoilers, let me just say that while Brigid and Gabe Kawsantower are a happily married couple, Ethan Clark is also infatuated with Brigid. These three are part of the Terrans, folks who protect the world from the bad Destroyers, and since they are working together, you can imagine how uncomfortable things can get among the three of them. However, the villain Nolen is back with his demon-consorting world-befouling plans, so our three will have to get back into the field to stop him. Along the way, their allies will also have their own subplots.
I really like Ms Barrack's attempts to incorporate Celtic elements into the canon material of Terran Realm, but I'm not sure about this story, to be honest. This is because I find myself more interested in the secondary character Aviva Shiron than the main characters. In fact, Aviva ends up playing a very active role in the plot to halt Nolen's insane plans, while the two leading men and especially Brigid end up being players standing in the sidelines and stepping in only when necessary, especially during the climatic moments of the story.
I was hoping for some interesting dynamics between Ethan, Brigid, and Gabe since there were some unresolved issues among them by the last page of the previous book, but this book is more heavy on the action than in the romance. As a result, the romance that is advertised as the main selling point of this book doesn't satisfy me so I can't help feeling a little cheated there.
The action-driven moments of this story are fine, even if the villains are skanky one-dimensional cackling types that I find hard to take seriously. But as interesting as the story can be, I still feel that the story is a little off-kilter in some way. The emotional component doesn't deliver and I find myself why the author doesn't write a story featuring Aviva as a main character instead of relegating her into a secondary character that still manages to steal the limelight from the main characters.
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