Parallel Attraction
by Deidre Knight, fantasy (2007)
Signet, $6.99, ISBN 0-451-21811-6


This book makes me laugh because it is so melodramatic and sappy, comparable to two teenagers in the throes of puppy love clinging to each other and howling pitifully at the last half hour of Titanic. Was I ever this young and ridiculous when it comes to love?

The first book in Deidre Knight's Midnight Warriors series, this one details the love story between Prince Jared Bennett from the planet of Refaria and Kelsey Wells from Earth even as the Refarians are in the midst of a war with the bad guys called the Antousians. Don't you just love it when these aliens have names that are just like names of the people on Earth? These two first meet when they are teenagers having a G-rated Disney-style love-at-first-sight thing but their memories of that incident are wiped out due to concerns about the Prince getting frisky with a human. However, the bond of Young Love remains strong and therefore, when these two meet again as adults, they still hear refrains of Celine Dion's most melodramatic opus swelling in their minds.

Soon Kelsey and Jared are torn apart by fate and circumstances, but don't worry, they can still communicate via their souls! Every other page has these people dramatically falling for the other person, again and again, even when these two have barely spent any time in each other's company.

Jared is a beta hero, which is unusual given how we usually have alpha heroes on a rampage in this kind of stories, so he's a very sweet fellow, worried that he may be intruding too much into Kelsey's mind or she may get the wrong idea that he is just using her for broodmare or destiny-ordained purposes. I know, a hero in a paranormal who actually cares for the heroine's feelings, how unusual. Even more unusual is how Jared wants Kelsey to know that he really loves her for who she is and not because she is useful to him. I am all for sweet guys like Jared, but Ms Knight eventually goes overboard with Jared - such as how the poor dear is worried that at thirty, he may be too old for 28-year old Kelsey - to the point that he's like this earnest puppy trying way too hard. I still like him the way I liked the boy next door when I was, oh 12 or 13, but I can't take him seriously as an adult.

Kelsey is similar to Jared - she's as nuts about him as he is about her. Their relationship sees them arguing here and there, but given how these two adore each other with an intensity reserved for teenagers in throes of puppy love, I'm not too surprised that some of their arguments are juvenile in nature.

Likewise, the secondary characters apart from the poor alien woman who is expecting Jared to be her "soulbound lifemate" - that phrase really gives me the creeps, I tell you - are all ga-ga for Kelsey and Jared. They are so happy that the Prince is getting lifemated! They will do everything to facilitate the impending shagfest. They coo that Kelsey is so special and they can tell from how Jared apparently looks at her that she is The One for him!

Honestly, after a while all this melodramatic "Love! What we have is love! L-O-V-E!" nonsense has me laughing because I don't know how else to react to such dramatic intensity of the romance. Parallel Attraction is like the Elephant Love Medley duet between Satine and Christian in the movie Moulin Rouge crossed with a busload of Carebears, a blimp full of Jem and the Holograms records, a gaggle of twelve-year old fanfiction writers, and at least fifty yards of pink ribbons.

Despite how saccharine and ridiculous the Soulbound Lifemated Romance of the Heart of All Hearts nonsense is in Parallel Attraction, I'm quite surprised to find myself actually having a soft spot for the two silly kids in the story. Maybe it's because they make me remember what it feels like to be young and silly? They make me smile and even laugh with the silly excesses of their affections and the plot doesn't feel too silly or cheesy either. Oh well, I can't always be cynical, I suppose.

Rating: 79


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