Geraint
by Gwen Rowley, historical/fantasy (2007)
Jove, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-515-14263-1


Geraint suggests very strongly to me that Gwen Rowley is a pseudonym for several authors in a collaborative effort. It's that or Ms Rowley's writing is affected by... I don't know, the phase of the moon or something. This book and the previous book, Lancelot, are very different in terms of tone, quality, and depths that the only way to explain this is that two different authors wrote these two books. Lancelot is a dark, lush, if eminently flawed read. Geraint is a very superficial medieval romance with simplistic characters and a heroine who behaves like a very simple-minded little girl. Like I've said, either it's the moon or we have two authors working behind the pseudonym of Gwen Rowley.

And if there are more than one author behind the name Gwen Rowley, someone should have made an effort to ensure that there is better continuity between books because... well, even the Lady of the Lake is portrayed very differently in the two books. Really, this book and Lancelot are so barely related that they may as well be in two different series altogether.

The plot of Geraint is essentially the celebration of a heroine who keeps secrets so much to the point of tomfoolery. Enid of the Donella tribe is granted some temporary superpowers to aid her in finding a way to help her tribe fend off some incoming raiders. The Lady also gives Enid "enhanced beauty", although I have no idea why since it's not as if more beauty will make her smarter. It's not even as if she will use it to seduce the bad guys to their doom or something. Like I've said, Gwen Rowley 2.0 obviously is a downgrade from the original prototype. All the new powers of Enid don't stop her from getting into trouble and requiring Sir Geraint of Cornwall to come to her rescue. She decides to tag along with him to Camelot because she believes that Camelot is where she can learn more cool tricks to beat off the invaders. These two get married - he marries her because he wants her and she marries him because she believes it's her only way to learn those cool Camelot ninja tricks.

The problem is this: Enid won't tell Geraint anything. She claims that she loves him what seems like ten seconds into their acquaintance and after they hop into the sack what seems like two seconds after that, she claims that she trusts him the most as well. And yet it doesn't occur to her to ask him, the Prince of Cornwall, to spare some knights to help her people. No, our heroine must have some delusions of Joan of Arc type of grandeur because she's determined to do everything on her own. Wooh-wooh. I may be amused if Enid proves that she is capable of putting two thoughts together.

Geraint, needless to say, isn't too amused when the wife ineptly keeps secrets from him. He showers the wife with pretty dresses, she acts like he's just asked her to go cavort with some lepers. Ms Rowley 2.0 happily muddles the water by having Enid running off to "replenish" her gifts under the moonlight every three nights. Geraint starts imagining all kinds of things and I don't blame him in this instance. He's no prize either since he comes off like this addled fellow who is trapped by his own chivalric code that the only way he can get his hands - and more - on Enid is by marrying her. But in this instance, Enid is just being a dumb irritant. I mean, honestly, she actually insists that only she can train her people to fight off the invaders. She. She is surrounded by trained knights, she's married to one, and yet... God.

The story goes on and on in this manner and I am not amused. I am even less amused when Enid finally makes her move to shine only to make such a huge blunder that Geraint is forced to step in to clean up the mess, although I can't say I'm surprised that Enid will make such a mess of things.

This story features two characters of pathetic intelligence, although in this instance Enid makes Geraint come off like an Emeritus scholar, in a plot that is ridiculous. Geraint is a horrible book particularly because it follows Lancelot. Lancelot has a unique take on the famous knight, while Geraint comes off like an embarrassingly terrible work of an amateur.

Can I have Gwen Rowley 1.0 back?

Rating: 42


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