Aphrodite's Secret
by Julie Kenner, paranormal (2003)
LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52509-7


I really enjoyed Aphrodite's Secret as a cheesy but very fun episode of Superfriends (oh, the nostalgia). But the romance is shoved to the background for fun cheese Superfriends magic moments. I like it. I don't think readers looking for romance will be amused that much though, although one may find oneself enjoying the ride if one's child inside still has a fondness for the Wonder Twins, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman squatting in the air in her invisible plane (just what is she doing?).

A legit question you can ask me is why I enjoy this particular Superman fun porn from Julie Kenner when I'm far from amused by her previous books in this series. Well, here's the thing: Aphrodite's Secret is mostly told from the hero's point of view. Julie Kenner's heroes are fun, but when it comes to heroines, Julie Kenner seems to operate under the belief that heroines gone moron is the only way to go. There are three women in this story, our heroine Lane, a Protector named Deena, and the heroine from Aphrodite's Kiss, Zoë the 1800-SHADDAFORKUP commercial gal. Between all three of them, they barely have a brain cell to share. Thankfully, Deena disappears from the scene soon enough while Lane is almost a non-entity here. It's all about our hero Jason Murphy - hurrah - and Zoë - shut up Zoë. SHUT UP.

Jason Murphy is a Protector Outcast whose daddy wants to destroy the world. During the last seven years, poor Jason is tangled up in Daddy politics, so much so that now that he's finally getting a chance to be the daddy to his kid Davy, Davy is kidnapped by Evil Daddy's henchman. Oh God. There goes his chance to kiss and make up with Lane, the mommy of his kid. Worse, the kidnapper is a shapeshifter who makes himself look just like Jason when he's kidnapping Davy, so Zoë, the brainsucked vacuum cleaner who is supposed to take care of the kid, thinks Jason is the bad guy.

Firstly, and I really to say this: Zoë, SHUT UP. God! This woman is a complete braindead in her book, and I'd have thought a few books in between will give her some much-needed grey matter but no. This is one woman whose idea of proactive measures is to screech out all her (wrong) accusations. In fact, in this book, put three females together and I automatically get a screech fest. The urge to bitchslap is never this overwhelming. So there's the problem with this book: too much Zoë.

On the other hand, Jason is fun. I love his sense of responsibility and his willingness to be a good daddy and hubby even if the idea scares him so (his father is like Darth Vader, so he's afraid that the apple won't fall too far from the tree, so to speak). The kid is pretty cute. Lane is thankfully crying or wailing or left in the dark all the time so she doesn't have to space or chance to turn into another Zoë. The adventures the hero goes through is pure camp, and I love it. I even love the talking whales and dolphins and sharks (don't ask). The male secondary characters like Boring, oops, Boreas and even the villains are charming. (I've completely erased the female secondary characters out of my mind, so let's not go there.)

I love the cheesy fun and the little boy's comic book style of this book. But Julie Kenner just cannot seem to write a halfway decent female character with at least two brain cells. Jason as a superhero is very good. Zoë as a superheroine makes me want to eat shards of glass to ease the pain. One day, when this author stops mistaking "gutsy Buffy heroine" for "completely irrational, always wrong, absolutely wasted, throughly imbecilic, and obnoxiously shrill sorry excuse of X-chromosome wastage", a really good book will rise from the ashes, leap over skyscrapers, speed faster than a bullet, and look good in tight red briefs. Or something. We'll see.

Rating: 76


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