by Jules Jones, paranormal (2005)
Loose Id, $5.99, ISBN 1-59632-135-0
Spindrift features a poor gay silkie - that's how it's spelled here, as opposed to selkie which I've come across in other books - who is missing his skin, thanks to some fisherman who is using it to blackmail the silkie for the skin of the silkie's sister Ailsa, and therefore he is unable to return to the sea. Instead, the silkie Niall is stuck in an unidentified coastal village all naked and confused until our equally gay hero Richard takes pity on him and offers him a coat. Actually, Niall's "Uncle Jock" - Jock knows Niall's late grandfather - lives there too but he will be busy trying to get Niall's skin back so our Richard from Edinburgh will be taking Niall in for the time being. There is a possibility that Niall may never get his skin back, however, so Uncle Jock asks Richard, who's from the big city and therefore knows everybody according to these villagers' way of thinking, to help facilitate Niall's possible new life as a legal British citizen. You know, get the necessary forms, learn to behave like humans, that sort of thing.
Having read a few of Jules Jones' books by now, I am struck by a noted similarity in all the main lead character in her stories. Richard is yet again another writer needing a quiet place to write, for example. They seem to be either writers or researchers, don't they? There is something that screams Mary Sue when it comes to the authors' main characters. Perhaps it is time for a different kind of hero in a future story, just to see how things will turn out?
The main characters Richard and Niall are likable enough for me, I don't have much of an issue with them or their relationship which unfolds in a well-paced manner. The romance doesn't feel rushed or forced, which is good. However, I find the pacing for the rest of the story slightly off, with much of the last few chapters causing the story to be bogged down by slow pace and unnecessary scenes after the climax of the story. Much of the middle of the story contains exposition or leisurely scenes of Richard teaching Niall to adapt to living among humans while the last few chapters see the rushed introduction and resolution of some last-moment issues.
The story also lacks a compelling conflict since there is only one obvious villain who's not just a homophobe but also a jerk and a bit of an overkill when it comes to being obvious, and everyone else pretty much shares the same thought bubble with Richard and Niall. The pacing is such that for the most part of this story I am finding it too easy to put aside, so the lack of a compelling conflict only makes it even easier for me to do just that.
Spindrift therefore is in an unfortunate neither here nor there kind of spot where I'm concerned. There is nothing about it that strikes me as memorable in a terrible manner, but at the same time there is nothing about it that strikes me as memorable in a positive manner. It's pleasant, it's inoffensive, and as a result, isn't the most memorable book around.
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