by Kristine Grayson, paranormal (2004)
Zebra, $6.50, ISBN 0-8217-7597-9
This book won't stand alone very well if you haven't read any of Kristine Grayson's previous books before. I won't even try to recap the episodes that lead to the premise of Absolutely Captivated. Let's just say that this story is set in world where Greek deities (although technically they aren't deities, just magical beings) can still meddle in human affairs.
In this book, Zoe Sinclair is a 150-year old mage who looks thirty. She is a PI in Las Vegas, although her clients are mostly magical creatures. One day, she receives some strange visitors: three women claiming to the former Three Fates, a creepy eleven-year old boy Kyle Kineally that exhibits psychic powers, and Kyle's father Travis who tries to deny that he has psychic powers too, although his sister is psychic. Still with me? The former Three Fates need Zoe's help to get themselves reinstated and Zoe decides to help as the new Three Fates are immature teenage mages that are causing the magical world to go topsy-turvy. But to do so, Zoe must enter the Faerie where a prophecy says that she will find true love and her destiny. Is Travis her true love?
I've stripped away the clutter and spillovers from previous books to come up with the above summary. The author recalls but rarely explains the events in the last few books that are relevant to this story. Many things happen in this book that will confuse readers not familiar with the world Kristine Grayson has created. Conversely, so much of this story is essentially exposition that those who are familiar with the world may get impatient with the repetitions of details from previous books that bog down the pace of this story.
Still, the story may be worth the effort of wading through the clutter if the characters are interesting, but they aren't. Zoe is a typical perky la-la type while Travis' stick-in-the-mud personality and denial go on for too long. Beyond that, there is very little in the personalities of these two characters. The romance is tepid at best, reduced to instant physical attraction and a few mild intimate scenes, and like the characters, the romance is so underwritten that it is hard for me to muster any concern for it. As for the fantasy premise, it is yet another of those tired "love is the center of all existence and the answer to all the problems in the universe" thingies that are so prevalent in the paranormal romance genre, only this time the premise is cluttered by expositions and underwritten one-dimensional characters.
At the end of the time, if someone asks me why he or she should even bother with this book, I will be really hard-pressed to come up with a good answer.
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