by Dara Joy, futuristic (2006)
House Of Sages, $14.95, ISBN 0-9753549-1-4
Oh, Dara Joy. What is she doing to herself? I understand that many people who ordered this book did not receive their books that they ordered up to a year ago and her boyfriend/webmaster/apparent manager was blaming the printer for the delay when he wasn't evading angry emails. What happened, Ms Joy? There are plenty of hassle-free print-on-demand services available nowadays from Lulu to iUniverse. Or Ms Joy can even go straight to Lightning Source if she wants to cut out the middleman. These are reliable POD services that have been around for a while. There is really no need to blame Hurricane Katrina for apparently flooding the printer's office for a year!
Even so, The Amazing Tales Of Wildcat Arrows just won't do at all. It's even worse than That Familiar Touch because this book comes off like a Dara Joy fanfiction written by a thirteen-year old kiddie. In this book, names and nicknames run rampant from silly (Wildcat Arrows) to ridiculous (his ship is called Sugarbabe) to outright embarrassing (Meanest-Nastiest-Bastard-in-the-Whole-Galaxy Joe). Here are the hornytoad romps of Wildcat Arrows himself as he eludes the Corporate Crime Syndicate or Crisyn along with the adventures of his crewmember Lucky Red and her companions Spindrift and Clugot as she tries to locate the MIA Wildcat Arrows. Wildcat Arrows is a typical Dara Joy hero in that he has that ridiculous hair to look like some Fabio Reborn stereotype as well as an inability to keep his pants zipped. He is wanted by 29 corporate syndicates for all kinds of misdemeanors as well as by various angry law enforcers for anything from sleeping with their ladies to making them come off like fools.
Ms Joy tries to incorporate some rather predictable elements like making Wildcat Arrows the guy to take down the Big Man that is the evil corporate folks out there that are suppressing us hardworking commies from getting our share of the loot as well as trying really hard to make Wildcat Arrows come off like some hero mould after some cheesy Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers type. 1970's cheesy sci-fi TV show nostalgia is not a bad thing, of course, but whatever promise that the story has in terms of cheesy and campy fun is ruined by the horrible execution of the story.
The biggest problem of this short and frivolous romp is that it is neither funny nor romantic, mostly due to the fact that Ms Joy writes here like she's trying to sound like a Valley girl. The tone of this story is constantly "on" in a perky style that is almost unbearable after a few chapters. Character development is nonexistant - Wildcat Arrows remains an overly flippant and ridiculously oversexed hero with no depths underneath his bravado, Lucky Red is a dull and weak character, and the "madcap adventures" here seem to be lifted straight from those cheesy 1970's sci-fi and space TV shows without any attempt to make them seem even a little less dated today. Ultimately, this very short and frivolous story with its complete lack of depth or memorability is its very undoing. I don't mind cheese as long as it's fun. Ms Joy, however, writes like she's more interesting in indulging herself than to give a halfway presentable story with at least a little decent kind of characters, plots, and romance. The Amazing Tales Of Wildcat Arrows isn't amazing, needless to say. It's more like the end result of Ms Joy trying to show the world how funny she is and how she doesn't need no freaking story or character development because she is the one and only Dara Joy - only to end up falling flat on her face here.
I hate to say this but Ms Joy really needs an editor, someone who can teach her how to use the spellchecker, and someone to hand over the publicity pamphlet of, I don't know, iUniverse, Lulu, something to her if she wants to stop embarrassing herself with her self-published books. If she's any smart, she'd have sic'ed this book, That Familiar Touch, and maybe one more brain gas to Dorchester to fulfil her contract if she wants to weasel her way into writing for Avon while writing off Dorchester's non-payment to her as a learning mistake (I'm fair, I'm assuming both sides are telling the truth about the lawsuit, you see). As it is, the folks at Dorchester are probably sighing in relief to have escaped trying to polish this turd into something better, if they are not laughing at the mess Dara Joy is making for herself by passing off subpar books onto only a handful of readers while driving away the rest of her hitherto patient and loyal fans by completely messing up her delivery of those books to them in a timely manner.
Oh, and maybe it's premature for Ms Joy to start passing off the boyfriend/fan club president as the hero in her stories. She's not Laurell K Hamilton, after all. Not yet anyway in terms of success in her career, and maybe not ever if she doesn't find a way out of her current situation. What a pity really, because I enjoyed a few books of hers such Mine To Take.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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