Powerful Magic
by Karen Whiddon, historical/time travel (2001)
LoveSpell, $4.99, ISBN 0-505-52432-5


Powerful Magic has everything - faeries, magic, time travel, revenge, abusive hubbies-to-be, heroes in denial, and I bet that's the kitchen sink stuffed in the hero's breeches. I do appreciate the author trying to write something unique and different, but I think it's a case of inexperience and over-ambitiousness jettisoning good intentions. This story is a painful read because of (a) stilted dialogues, (b) bewildering motivations behind heroine Megan's behaviors throughout the story, and (c) a hero that, if I am not paying too much attention, might be mistaken as a cookie cutter, because that's the type of character he is.

Megan is a heroine who somehow gets herself engaged to a brutish fiend of a boyfriend from hell. She can't even break it off with him - circumstances have to take over and zzapp! Lightning strikes during the debacle and our heroine is fried. She awakes, not in barbecue heaven but in early 12th century Wales. She is found near-death by our hero Kenric who is not only half-faerie, he hates his faerie half. He blames the faeries, it seems, for the deaths of his human family years ago.

So, Megan wakes up and wow! What a hunk. Is that real? But thing is, this woman is a twit. I should have known, of course, from the way she just can't unbreak herself off from an abusive boyfriend, but her subsequent actions post-fried-by-lightning redefines the term clingy. Her first action is to ask Kenric to help her get back to safety by showing him her engagement ring and tells him that if he helps her, Roger will give him the lands he always wanted. Here, I scratch my head. Her lie is not necessary at all, for even if she believes that she is in the 21st century, there's nothing a walk to the nearest phonebooth can't fix, right?

Well, maybe she believes she is back in time, and she needs all the protection she can get. Fine, I can accept that. But Megan acts almost throughout the whole story in denial. She just wouldn't believe that she is back in time. It's a dream... it's a dream... it's a dream... even when she and Kenric visit the faerie realm of Rune, she is still blinking and living in some la-la land of her own. As a result, this woman becomes not even an accessory to the story, she becomes a dead weight baggage that requires rescuing again and again and again. Bah. I wish she would just curl up in her denial and sink into a mudhole, because if she gets into dire distress one more time, I swear I will personally go up to her and *phrase censored for explicit violence* at point blank.

When a story goes from dangerous situations to dangerous situations because of the heroine's stupidity, I think it is definitely time for some graphic NC-17 violence.

The hero Kenric is more tolerable - he's the usual no-love, no-woman, no hurt crybaby wimp who spends all his time whining about how he hates his faerie half, et cetera. It takes some extra effort from an author to make this sort of heroes interesting, because these crybabies are overdone plot devices. Ms Whiddon, however, creates a Kenric who behaves just like any other whiny I-will-never-love-again dude in a mediocre romance novel.

I can give this book some extra cookie points for efforts, but I will be condescending if I do that, right? So, okay, I'll just give this book a 45 for being almost bearably readable. Hopefully the heroine of this author's next book will have a brain.


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