Journey Of The Wind
Torrid Tarot: Six Of Swords
by Charlotte Boyett-Compo, fantasy (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $6.49, ISBN 978-1-4199-0575-9


There is a scatalogical joke waiting to happen in the title of Charlotte Boyett-Compo's entry for the Torrid Tarot line. At any rate, Ms Boyett-Compo is one of the first generation of electronically published authors and it's impressive to see that she's still going strong when many of her peers had given up writing for alternatives that allow them to pay the bills every month. For some reason, I have never read any of this author's full-length books until now.

The Six of Swords is supposed to signify depression and a life full of obstacles. Well, Journey Of The Wind is certainly full of obstacles. This is a fantasy story, which is to say, this is like a Bertrice Small type of story set in some vaguely described make-believe land.

Our heroine Rylee McCourtland (feisty, childish, prone to petulant temper tantrums, et cetera) decides that she's had enough of her boyfriend Commander Alsandair "Clearly, Alexander Is Not Fantastic Enough For Romance" Farrell refusing to obey her orders to quit being a soldier and runs off with gambler Kyle "No, I'm Not A WWE Wrestler, Honest!" Stryker, not because she's in love with Kyle or anything but because she hopes a jealous Alsandair will chase after her, beg for her forgiveness, and quit the army. Alsandair is a whipped puppy, the sweet thing, getting all teary-eyed and miserable after being dumped by Rylee. He even dreams of her at night. As it happens, coincidence ends up putting him in the same ship as Rylee and Kyle without him knowing that they are onboard or they he.

Rylee and Alsandair have a tumultuous reunion where their antics remind me of some of my not-so-favorite "I don't love you, so stop touching me there... ooh, oh, oh, OH!" romances of the 1980s. But just when things are finally back to normal, a pirate crew led by Andre "Why Do People Laugh At Me When They Hear My Name?" Corsair attacks the ship and kidnaps Rylee! And Rylee is forced to marry Andre! And she's starting to fall in love with him! What will happen next? Stay tuned for Journey Of The Wind!

I feel sorry for Alsandair. If there is ever a hero who is completely whipped, it's he. He cries more than a hungry baby in this story because he misses his Rylee and bad people have taken Rylee away from him. It's all about Rylee and only Rylee for him even when he knows how badly she treats him when they are together. He has no self-respect or dignity where his precious love is concerned. Poor Alsandair. He's pretty pathetic. At the same time that he is crying and swearing to himself that he will find Rylee and she must not give up on him, she's squirming in desire for Andre.

This story is pretty old school in the sense that Rylee sleeps with both Andre and Alsandair in this story, but if Ms Boyett-Compo believes that Rylee is some kind of Skye O'Malley for the new generation, she miscalculates by making Rylee so unsympathetic. I don't know what the author is trying to do here because she is clearly aware of how badly Rylee is treating Alsandair and how terrible it is to read about Rylee deciding that she's in love with Andre when Alsandair is crying and doing all he can to come to her rescue. Yet Ms Boyett-Compo doesn't try to make Rylee grow up. She remains the selfish girl-child she is from start to end and all the men in this story love her for that. I don't get this story at all.

Is this where I make the obligatory "something doesn't smell right" joke?

Rating: 58


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