by Mima, fantasy (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-494-0
Mima returns to her setting of shapechanging warrior mages living in the Wilderness and the women who love them. This one is another one where the woman comes from the City. The author's formula is becoming a little bit thin. How about having the guy come from the City for a change?
In Honor Within, our heroine Nomi is looking forward to living her own life after her divorce is final. However, Burke, our Beast hero who has known Nomi for a month or so, begins showing signs that he wants to take their friendship to a more, shall we say, primal level since she's now available and therefore can be his. Not that he is completely willing to commit. Burke is a loner, like Nomi, and he has issues with the feline aspect of his personality. He can't control his inner beast, so fears that he may lose his humanity completely one day and hurt Nomi if he claims her as his mate, et cetera. I can't blame him, really. He's a Mountaincat who has been raised by Wolves, so the poor fellow is bound to have an identity crisis or two.
I like the concept of this story and the way the author emphasizes the emotional bond as well as the sexual bond between Burke and Nomi. These two, especially Burke, are well-drawn characters. Okay, so Burke's angst isn't something that I have never come across before, but the author manages to make Burke a most sympathetic character. He's not a stereotypical alpha male but more of a conflicted lone wolf needing some TLC.
What I have a problem with is the dialogs. The author has her main characters often going on long and detailed discussions about each other's feelings. While it is great to find two characters who communicate so well, the long discourses they have feel artificial to me - I feel as if I'm watching two guests on Oprah's talk show carefully composing long speeches in their heads before voicing them aloud for everyone's benefit. The story feels artificial as a result of this.
Despite that, Honor Within is a pretty good read. The fact that it is a nice change from the usual crop of paranormal romances out there is merely icing on the cake.
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