Love's Potion
by Monica Jackson, fantasy (2005)
Dafina, $6.99, ISBN 0-7582-1161-9


Monica Jackson's Love's Potion continues the theme presented in her previous Dafina paranormal romance, In My Dreams: the world as we know it is going to be plunged into an apocalyptic scenario involving demons and special gifted humans called the Chosen Ones duking it out to see who's the boss. Also, the heroine Jasmine Flynn first appeared as the best friend of the heroine of The Look Of Love. To be honest, I don't know whether to be amused or be ridiculously distressed by the fact that the author, by linking this paranormal fantasy story to a down-to-earth urban contemporary romance, suggests that all the characters in The Look Of Love are going to be in deep doo-doo in the foreseeable future. The idea of Carmel Matthews of The Look Of Love going all Buffy on demons boggles my mind, I tell you.

Okay, okay, the story. Love's Potion tells the story of our heroine Jasmine who is at some crossroads in her life after her last love affair ended pretty badly (he was married and she was waiting for him to leave his wife, fool that she was). A new job in a new town isn't doing her any good in terms of healing. Then she buys a perfumed bottle and releases a djinn. The djinn, Raziq, watches HBO and has a Gmail account, but that's not all he has. One look at him and Jasmine's a goner. However, being able to see and communicate with an otherworldly being has some drawbacks: Jasmine soon finds herself being able to see and communicate with other kinds of otherworldly creatures. Like demons. And then there's this thing about djinns coming in handy when it comes to ruling the world so demons have their human henchlings in the form of wizards and witches on hot pursuit of Jasmine and Raziq. This being a romance, I suppose that it's inevitable that their unborn brat will be another of those magical Chosen One brats that will save the world so for the sake of the world, Jasmine and Raziq have better get down to business and have multiple orgasms so that we can all breathe easy and live another day.

The thing about this book is that I still have no clear idea on what exactly are the demons' masterplan apart from that utter world conquest thing. Do they have a plot in the works? How exactly do the djinns play into the picture? I'm also not clear about how Raziq gets to kick demon butt after Jasmine makes her wish (to say more will be spoiling the story). And more importantly, I'd love to know more about the background stories of Jasmine and Raziq. However, the author seems to be hurrying through the story and neglects to develop many aspects of her plot and characters that would have given her story much more substance. There are some canon details here but they are in the form of bits and pieces that, even if I take the trouble to piece them together, still manage to have some holes here and there.

The romance is pretty enjoyable although it takes place on the same pace as the rest of the story - rushed completely. At the end of the day, Love's Potion could have been a most enjoyable read if the author has worked on fleshing out the plot and the characters further. As it is, it's pretty entertaining but a little too insubstantial for me to be fully satisfied with it.

Also, strictly speaking for myself, I don't think I like this sweet and only a little naughty Monica Jackson, especially after reading the author's really naughty novella in the anthology Dark Thirst. A part of me really wants to read something enjoyably down and dirty in the vein of that novella. How about a little something for the fans of her blog and her more outspoken voice in her writings? Settling for Jasmine and her perfect sensitive New Age djinn beau is like eating cheesecake when there are tiramisu cakes locked away in Ms Jackson's fridge.

Rating: 64


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