Friday, January 18, 2008

The Catah Circle by Gabrina Garza

TITLE: The Catah Circle
AUTHOR: Gabrina Garza
PUBLISHER: Amber Quill Press (Amber Heat)
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 36k)
GENRE: Fantasy erotic romance
COST: $6.00

When Brooke slips out of a family wedding with her sister, Lindsay, a walk through the garden turns into a flight that lands her straight into a fantasy world. There, she wakes up next to a man named Canen who claims she is his beloved brought back to him, and now, they can finally be together and rule over Catah as they were meant to. It’s never that simple, though, especially when his uncle, an evil dark elf, wants the power for himself…

I really like this author, but if I was going to introduce somebody to her work, this would not be the story I gave them. This is the fifth of her stories I’ve read, and it is by far the weakest. For me, at least. I had so many problems with it that it was hard to even write the brief blurb I did.

The primary reason the blurb isn’t more detailed is because there is a lot of different relationships and conflicts going on within this story. It jumps between at least three different storylines, all interwoven yet moving forward independently of each other, so that there are at least six principles for the reader to keep track of. Toss into that mix minor characters and a fantasy world with its own unique culture of faeries, elves, dragons, and who knows what else, and the complexity grows even more so. I have nothing against complex, but it has to be done carefully with a very conscious handling of detail. Throughout the entire book, it always felt like I was only given half the story. I never really got a good picture of the way the society worked, how the faeries worked in, if everybody was elves or if there were other creatures as well, and without that, the rest of the story suffers.

The second biggest issue I had with the story is the heroine. Brooke is not the only female character. There’s her sister Lindsay, Canen’s sister Curi, and Canen’s cousin Siqua. Of those four, Brooke is by far the most passive and inconsistent. She doesn’t really do that much. The entire story gets set up because she freaks out about faeries attacking her (she thinks they’re bats even though they talk to her) and she runs until she falls over the edge of a cliff. She wakes up with Canen at her side, and after a really bitchy exchange that makes me understand perfectly well why she’s still single, Canen mostly leads the way from that point on. Normally, it wouldn’t bother me so much, but running alongside Canen and Brooke’s story are two other threads, with women who are far more likable than Brooke ever is. It got to the point where I winced every time it switched back to her. Each and every other woman in the story eclipses Brooke, whether they’re in a scene with her or not. She’s just never as interesting as the dynamic Lindsay, or the frail seer Siqua, or the forceful and beautiful Curi.

I’d like to think that if the author had made this into a novel, it would have worked better. She certainly has the skills, and there’s more than enough bare bones here to support the detail and added length. It would have given her time to develop Brooke more and hopefully given her more of a consistent personality to merit being the star of the story. As it stands, however, it’s just not enough to sustain interest throughout the entire book.


6/10 – Not quite as polished as the author’s other work, it always feels like it’s supposed to be part of a larger story and that much of the explanation is missing.


5/10 – There are some nice moments late in the story, but up until then, his naivete grates.


2/10 – Far, far too passive, and gets outshone by every other female character in the story.

Entertainment value

4/10 – Between the feeling that it was only half the story and my dislike for the heroine, I just wanted to get it over.

World building

5/10 – There are details there, but with so many different things going on, it’s impossible to get a full picture or understand how it all gels together.



1 comment:

Gabrina said...

It actually is kinda sorta part of a bigger story. All of my fantasy work (Adeno, Jax and the Giant's Bean Stalk, and a lot of others I don't have out yet) are written in the same world. Eventually they'll be compiled into paperback collections moving from one country/kingdom to the next.

My ultimate goal is to prove I'm an incredible nerd with way too much time to draw maps and such. :) It looks like I've almost reached my ultimate goal. Maybe I should change my goal to wanting a pony.