by Jenna McKnight, paranormal (2003)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-054927-0
Yes, yes, humor is subjective but there is nothing subjective about how I am more exasperated than amused by former Harlequin Love & Laughter author Jenna McKnight's debut novel for Avon. This Pygmalion-like tale has a Greek god embodying a nude statue created by our heroine Alexandria de Marco and of course, they fall in love. Instead of taking the time to tell a story, the author instead puts in two main very stereotypical characters in a plot that is nothing more than one wacky scene after the other while surrounded by trite dotty secondary characters.
Stories like this can entertain very well. I always use Colleen Collins' hysterical Right Chest, Wrong Name as a textbook example because in that book, the characters are paper-thin and the whackjob fun is aplenty, but the author succeeded in making the characters interesting enough to engage my attention. Jenna McKnight's A Greek God At The Ladies' Club is straight-up central casting made more tedious by relentless whackjob scenes that disconnect me further from the story.
Three thousand years ago, our Greek god Darius cheated on King Edward with the king's wife and when the King storms the citadel while our gruesome twosome are putting the A in adultery, Darius turns himself into a statue (instead of a bird to fly away or something). Edward cuts off the penis of the statue - ouch. Zeus, whom as we know is never an ardent supporter of the violation of the wedding vows, finally decrees it such that Darius will never get a body to do the wee-wees until somebody creates a sculpture of his perfect body and all. Personally, I'd have decreed that Darius will be reincarnated in a pig-gargoyle statue but that's just me.
Cut to today. Orphan heroine Alexandria (all she wants is family and love, sob, sob, sob), betrayed by the ex-husband from hell (oh, and she wants babies too, boo hoo hoo) after she is scarred in the face from an accident (how sad, how sad), models a statue after the photograph of the real statue of Darius - sans penis, of course. Now all she needs is the correct penis and Darius, who has been waiting all this while for her to finish the statue so that he can get on with his Mission Of Love And Screwing Any Woman That Can't Run Up The Hills In Time, will guide her. I strongly suspect that I am supposed to be blushing and giggling at the penis overdose of this story, but I'm sorry to say that I find myself wondering why Alex doesn't just dip a banana in cement and stick it to the statue while waiting for the cement to dry. Or she can always buy those vibrators or dildos supposedly modeled after actual male porn stars' endowments and just dip that thing in clay to thrill the size queens of her Ladies Club whom she's giving the statue to. Hmm, I'm not enough of a demure Southern belle to enjoy this story, I guess.
Anyway, then Darius comes alive on the unveiling night and the whackjob scenes just keep coming. Along the way, Alex is a one-note bag of neuroses, Darius hasn't learned a thing from his emasculation and he still wants to plough his way through the furrows of the world (so to speak), and I'm supposed to believe that naivete, frigid Brighids, and lots of noisy secondary characters are supposed to reform Darius while a sword through the root of his penis can't.
You can argue that I am taking this story too seriously when it's just supposed to be a hysterical romp. I would concede that maybe I am, but it's hard to care about this book when the humor feels forced and the romance is merely an afterthought or maybe just another punchline of the many that miss the target in this book. Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon's thematically somewhat-similar Fantasy Lover may want to give this book a look, but anyone else looking for characters that run a little deeper than superficial may come away disappointed.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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