Katie: Oh, gentle reader… Phatty has found a treat for us this time. The Sword by Jean Johnson reads like Lord of the Rings romantic fanfic written by someone who hasn’t actually read a well-written romance novel. Think better than E.L. James in that someone is concerned about grammar and spelling, but then they forgot to fix the excessive use of exclamation points. Actually, it reminds me a good bit of Dara Joy now that I think about it. Anyone else read Rejar or Knight of a Trillion Stars?
Anyhoo, moving on…
Patty: Oh FFS. There’s a poem/riddle at the beginning. That’s worse than a glossary. Plus, I cannot read the word “sword” and not pronounce it “Suwohrd” in my head.
FYI: for this book, my name will be Patricinenen.nen. nen. Phatty is my vahmpire name, reserved for that genre. This is not vampire PNR, this is… WTF PNR with a side of gynophobia.
Katie: There are eight brothers – four sets of twins – but none of them look alike or have similar coloring. I’m not sure what the genetic odds of that happening are, but they can’t be great. Anyway, they’re all mages with LOTR sounding names, and they’ve been consigned to living on an island with no women or else they might bring about the end of the world. (See the terrible poem mentioned by Patty.) I guess dogs and cats are living together. The sheer number of dirty socks on that island must be ridiculous.
Patty: Dirty and stiff. So if I’m understanding this, the youngest brother, Morganen, watched (read: spied on) a woman when he was scrying (think Billy Baldwin in Sliver but with a mirror and wireless capability) and decided she would be *perfect* for his older brother, Saber, then basically abducted her through the power of MAGICNESS.
OK, so “abducted” is a little harsh…. technically, he saved her from dying in a house fire but still. Saber, btw, is twinsies with Wolfer and I am not going to bother learning anyone else’s name, twin, personality quirk or corresponding hair and eye color because I just don’t care.
Katie: AND the twin thing gets even more ridiculous. Each set is born on the same day exactly two years apart from the next set. NOT POSSIBLE. Leap year, anyone? Oh, wait. My bad. Shouldn’t apply logic to other dimensional stories. That poor momma, though. The last set or two must have just walked out.
Patty: THEY ARE MAGES, KATIE. Surely the mother had some kind of enchanted ovulation detector. Hey, is “mage” the PC term for “witch” or is it a gender thing? Oh, wait: I don’t care.
So this girl gets sucked through a mirror and lands smack dab in the middle of Gilligan’s Island for the Magically Sequestered and Sexually Repressed. This is an alternate dimension, naturally, with just enough similarities to earth so as to keep readers from twisting their ankles in any of the gaping plot holes.
“One female, eight males. I’m confident your universe is not so strange that you cannot figure out the volatility your presence will cause, if you’re allowed to roam around unsupervised. So you will stay in here and keep yourself out of the way, out of temptation, and out of trouble.”
Katie: Dear Lord. Please tell me this isn’t a menage a neuf. I’m not sure that’s the proper polite phrase. Is there a proper phrase? Maybe I should just use gang bang.
Patty: Like they are all velociraptors and she’s a cow they just lowered into the pen. How about maybe y’all just try to curb your raging hormones and behave like the civilized members of the purported royal family you hail from? The Smurfs managed it, I’m sure you can too.
Katie: Exactly. I feel like our rape culture is spreading to other dimensions now. And that’s way darker than this book really is, but I really wish people would think about what they’re REALLY saying.
Patty: I’ll give the author credit for one thing: when the heroine finds herself in a strange place with a bunch of brooding men all around her, she fights like holy hell. None of this “I know I should be afraid but his eyes are making me feel funny in my special area” nonsense. But that’s all I can say for this chick – she annoyed the crap out of me for the rest of the book. She was rude, mouthy (and not in a witty way, in a snotty, your-momma-never-backhanded-you-for-talking-back way) and I know this is gonna set off a feminist bomb but: BOSSY.
Sorry, I know, I know… I just think that there is a huge difference between assertiveness and arrogance.
Katie: I completely agree. I read other reviews that indicated people didn’t like Kelly, but thought she can’t possibly be that bad. Nope, she really is. Kelly is quite possibly my least favorite romance heroine ever. EVER. Even so, I was disappointed when the author made her afraid of creepy crawlies.
We’re not putting a meme of a creepy crawly, damn it. It would just freak my shit out when I reread this review and find all typing errors after it’s already posted.
Patty: OK, should we discuss the events that lead to bath scene where Saber and Kelly realize they have the lust for each other? I mean, contrived is as contrived does but when you need to force your characters together in order that they may despoil each other, sometimes it’s best to stick with standard tropes.
Katie: I think we need to leave SOME mystery to the book.
Patty: But, but… I need to share this gem:
“Evanor!” he sang, activating his brother’s magical listening ability. “We had watersnakes in the sewing room. We both need to soak out the poison.”
“The only cure is a long and wet one. Full submersion, anywhere from several hours to several days, depending on the severity. With short breaks for bouts of purple diarrhea, as the venom works its way out of the body,”
“I don’t know if it’s the poison talking or what but sitting in the bathroom in a pool of our shared filth while fighting off stomach cramps and obsessively courtesy flushing is making me wanna get all up in that. Are you sure you don’t have a little Mage in you? You want some?”
Katie: Also, speaking of bathroom, how awesome would it be to have magically spelled water faucets so you never run out of hot water?
Patty: Not as awesome as both of us agreeing we cannot do another book in this series.
Katie: TRUER WORDS.
HA! You’ve been Rick rolled…