by Esri Rose, paranormal (2008)
Zebra, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-4201-0251-2
In Bound To Love Her, Esri Rose demonstrates a buoyant sense of humor that I believe I can very well develop a liking for. Unfortunately, I can never buy the romance in this story.
Erin Chandler is just your ordinary young lady, doing her thing and feeling pleased that she's at the brink of buying a quaint New Age paraphenalia store from her mentor and good friend. Independence, financial stability, and such - here she comes! However, one fine night, she stumbles upon an injured man who turns out to be an elf. Galan of Longtail Rock claims that they are now bonded in a manner that he doesn't fully understand - this is not some mate-mate-mate bond, but rather, by rescuing him, Erin has somehow created a bond where Galan now feeds off her "energy" to heal. That means Erin now has to eat for two, heh, because she's also eating for Galan now. Galan is cute, but he's being pursued by a wicked dark elf, so now Erin finds herself landing smack dab into some elven skirmish that is taking place in her backyard.
This story is very readable and in a way, I have a great time reading it. Some of the secondary characters, like the elf Kutara, bring out a witty side of Erin that has me smiling at some of her quips. Erin is a pretty good heroine in that while she can be sarcastic at times, she doesn't overdo things. She's not one-dimensionally feisty and she doesn't confuse bitterness with wit. I like that.
However, there is an aspect of the romance that actually disturbs me. This story is told entirely from Erin's first person point of view, so there is no chance of me getting anything from Galan's point of view. This is not good because in this story, I know that elves like Galan can cast "glamor" over mortals to manipulate them. While Galan claims that he can't do that to Erin due to the bond thing, in this story I see Erin declaring that she's in love with him way too quickly. Also, she begins tearing up at the thought of him dying, she becomes willing to risk everything to save him, she can't think of anything else but Galan when he's not around, and she even takes out a loan to buy Galan some land. There is no reason why she should trust him, much less do all these things for him, so I can only wonder whether Galan has cast some kind of glamor over her. When it comes to Galan, Erin transforms almost immediately from sensible young lady into a desperate overzealous worshiper in a manner rarely seen outside of cults and American Idol. Are we really sure that Galan hadn't done something to mess with her head?
After all, in this story elves aren't just tree-hugging xenophobes that hate humans, they also dress up in rags and have animalistic facial features (like Galan's parents). And as any semi-serious fans of the fantasy genre can tell you, elves are actually the root of all evil - they cause cancer, eat babies, and gas innocent orcs in concentration camps while pretending to be tree-shagging liberal navel-gazers and framing poor innocent dark elves to cover up their crimes. How do we know for certain that Galan isn't evil again?
Bound To Love Her is a fun story, so it's too bad that I can never really believe that the romance is real and isn't just entirely a figment of Erin's imagination.
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