Monday, November 24, 2008

Prophesied by Liz Craven

TITLE: Prophesied
AUTHOR: Liz Craven
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 70k)
GENRE: Sci-fi romance
COST: $5.50

Lia isn’t running from her past; she’s running from her future. After hiding for a decade on a remote mining planet, her true identity has been discovered, and the man she was married to at birth has come to take her home again. Talon Dhakir doesn’t know quite what to make of the fiery woman he finds after so many years of searching, but he does know she has a duty to perform and he is going to do his damnedest to make sure she fulfills her prophesied role. Assuming their roles as husband and wife might prove to be even harder…

I’m not normally a fan of plots that use prophecies or fate as primary devices. 99% of the time, if I see either word in a blurb or excerpt, I immediately click away. My experience has mostly been that these tend to be author shortcuts for actual plot or character development. So when I saw this particular title, I almost immediately closed the window. The captivating cover art got me to read the blurb, which led me to the excerpt, and I decided to take a chance. I’m incredibly glad I did.

A tense and intriguing beginning segues into even tighter sexual tension as Talon and Lia rediscover each other. Talon only ever saw Lia as a child and an obligation, while Lia had a childhood crush on the older man who was the one bright spot of her year. Talon is a gorgeous blend of alpha posturing, with an underlying driving need to make sure the women in his life are happy, but he’s far from perfect. It’s difficult for him to see Lia’s perspective on why she might not be eager to return to the prophecy, and the pair constantly butt heads on the issue. For her part, Lia makes several choices which make sense after the fact, but up to and during had me wondering if she really was an idiot. As the pair gets closer to their home planet, it gets harder to read their obtuseness to each other’s situation, enough to the point where I worried Talon was going to turn into a jerk about the whole matter. Luckily, both he and Lia redeem themselves, and the result is a wonderfully satisfying romance wrapped in political intrigue.

While the author is masterful at creating the rich worlds her characters populate, I have to admit to being mildly let down in one specific regard. Samhain typically has some of the best edited books out there, and while this manuscript is clean of most editorial mistakes, one place where it lapses is homonym misusage. It’s not an occasional thing, which can be overlooked. It’s every instance of certain words. “Principal” always gets mistaken for “principle,” and “gage” gets mistaken for “gauge,” for instance. The first time made me blink and go, “Huh.” The second, third, and fourth times made me realize it was a distinct trend. It’s a little disappointing, actually, because for whatever reason, I expect more from Samhain books. This failed to meet the high standard their editorial staff usually meets.

To be honest, though, a lot of readers might not even notice the mistakes. These are things that I know bug me, but might not be as important to others. When a story is as gripping and romantic as this one is, too, it’s easier to get swept along with it and overlook technical errors. If it weren’t for those damn homonyms, this would be even higher on my keeper list.


8/10 – Consistent homonym misuse yanks me out of the flow of a story I couldn’t stop reading otherwise


8/10 – A wonderful mix of alpha posturing with beta tendencies


8/10 – Strong, though several actions veer her toward TSTL until we learn the whys of what she’s doing

Entertainment value

9/10 – I got swept up by both the intrigue and the romance in this, making it near un-put-down-able

World building

9/10 – I would have liked just a little bit more explanation on the Damaia, but otherwise the worlds were fresh and crisp



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