Key Of Knowledge
by Nora Roberts, paranormal (2003)
Jove, $7.99, ISBN 0-515-13637-9


Book two in a trilogy, the previous book being Key Of Light. I am not even going to repeat the absurd "let's take turn and find the key one by one instead of combining forces" premise passed off as "fantasy" here - you can always go read the review of Key Of Light if you need a refresher course as to what happens when Galandriel is a crack addict.

In this book, it is now the "knowledgeable one" Dana Steele's turn to find for the Key. Since the heroine of the previous book, "the artistic one", found the clue to her key in a painting, Dana assumes that she will find hers in a book. She's a librarian, so lucky for her, she has plenty of books to pore through. Unluckily for her, she has a lousy boss and she resigns. Hmm, I check the cover. No, I'm not rereading Key Of Light by mistake here. Oh well, on with the story. Her boyfriend, Jordan, spends time chasing after her and she responds by telling him off. Nobody does romantic tension like Nora Roberts, and now, I really believe. Snort. To be more accurate, Dana and Jordan are a tepid couple with very little that's new or original to differentiate them from these author's couples in her previous books. Still, that will be fine if the fantasy element of the story is good.

Yeah, right. Kane the evil sorcerer is here, but he must be the most inept villain in the world, appearing in dreams only to huff and puff but other than that, he's more useless than Sauron's third pinkie. His presence in this story serves only as a reminder that this story is supposed to be a paranormal romance, albeit a very flimsily developed one. In the meantime, Dana and Jordan are going around in the now familiar "he wants her, she doesn't want, muddle, duddle, muddle, okay, now she wants him, the end" routine, they go about looking at books, the women talk, the men talk, and finally, they find the clue and Kane sighs in boredom as he takes the stage for some really bad villain antics.

It's all about love in the end, of course. Whatever. If I'm the heroine in this book, I'd just grab Jordan, shag him on the bookshelf, and look at the books that fall off the shelf while we're rocking the boat from Shanghai to Cape Town, and that will cut short this book by a hundred pages or so.

Key Of Knowledge is the same as Key Of Light in character and relationship development as well as in having the same inept fantasy elements, so fans that love the latter will love the former too. Ditto otherwise - this book won't appease where the previous book fails to do so. At the end of the day, this book is just that - another routine Nora Roberts book that really doesn't rock the bestselling formula or challenge the author's ability. One thing's for sure though: she may be the untouchable queen in the bestseller lists, but Nora Roberts can't write a decent fantasy story that doesn't inspire hoots of derisive laughter all around if this is the best she can come up with.

Rating: 71


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