by Lyn Mangold, futuristic (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-496-2
Warrior Woman is the story of a princess in a mythical kingdom called Twentaria. Lillian is appointed by her father to be the heir to the throne, which is considered an unorthodox decision indeed due to Lillian's gender. Lillian decides to train as a soldier, which is timely considering that the imaginatively-named Dark Army under the command of - who else? - a Mr Dark Leader have sealed off Twentaria from her allies and are moving in for the kill. Meanwhile, Lillian has to deal with cartoon villains, losing a boyfriend, and finding a new one.
As a fantasy story featuring a female lead coming to terms with herself and her life, on the surface Warrior Woman seems like an adequate read. However, this is one story that is so simply written to the point that the story is linear. Lillian is easily one of the dullest heroines I've come across. She is Daddy's favorite daughter, everyone's golden girl, and Mary Sue to the core except when it comes to the designated cartoon villains who hate her incessantly. But who is Lillian? I never get a decent picture of who she is. Lillian's existence seems to be a never-ending drama to please her father and the people who adore her as well as to be a martyr to her nasty grandmother's machinations. She doesn't seem to be character in her own right as much as she is always living and doing things for someone else.
The story is also simply plotted to the point that sometimes its lack of sophistication can be pretty crude. I never really understand, for example, why Lillian, being the younger daughter and who has clearly not displayed any clear leadership abilities (she is, after all, a young girl), is appointed the heir to the throne. But then again, many things in this story don't make sense unless I am to assume that things just are because everyone loves Lillian and she's the best princess in the world. The secondary characters are pretty one-dimensional in their designated roles, with the villains often being embarrassingly cartoonish in nature.
The writing is clean and readable. However, Warrior Woman may be adequate as a young adult tale rather than an adult romantic fantasy story if you ask me because of its lack of depth and sophistication in the storyline and character development.
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