Look at that stupid silly cover. Look at that title. I know what you're thinking, because I thought it too. I'm sure that everyone who passes this novel in the bookstore thinks the same thing, if it's even on the shelves. "That's a comedic fantasy." Maybe you thought it was a childish Piers Anthony pun filled level of humor. Maybe you thought it more mature and sophisticated humor like Pratchett or Christopher Moore. I thought it looked incredibly silly myself and the copy on the back of the book didn't help matters. I read the back several times at the store and passed it by each damned time. Then, the bloggers started to chat about it and it seemed it wasn't a comedic fantasy at all and many of them seemed to either hate it or love it.
This novel is actually just plan old fantasy. And how you like it might depend upon how much you like the main character of Lee and how well you're willing to forgive her foibles and prejudices. As for me, I'm a forgiving sort when I like a main character, and I did.
When we're introduced to her, she's at the beginning of being forced into a permanent non-optional working relationship with a man whom has been the source of a lot of gossip, both positive and negative. Lee is an introverted, quiet, reliable, and naive person. She takes the gossip as gospel and it causes both her and Taro (a name I hated since I kept thinking of taro plants and now I will only be calling him Karish from here on in) a world of problems, further complicated by the fact that the two of them are both very good at their respective jobs. Yes, there are times I wanted to force Lee to see Karish for what he was. When she does make concessions and when she realizes that she is prejudiced, you can see her trying to force him into what she expects him to be, even though this is not to her advantage.
Humorously, the novel is really about the relationship (non-romantic) between these two people, but Karish spends a great deal of the novel out of commission, so it really comes down to Lee and her feelings about the relationship they have. Yes, there is a mystery and there is a villain, but the important meat of the novel is how Karish and Lee get along.
I felt the writing was a bit weak, in a tell don't show way, and I had given it a seven or eight in my head when I realized that I wasn't blogging about it or moving it off my GoodReads list because I kept enjoying picking it up to read a section from it again and I was enjoying it more than any of the other books that I was supposed to be reading. That says a lot to me. Mostly it says that I tried to buy the sequel at Barnes and Noble today and they didn't have it. Hello, library. Get me the next two, please!
Verdict: 9. I've read many better written books, but ask many how many I've enjoyed as much?
Thoughts: I'm still shocked at the horrifying covers they've given this series as well as the little press besides bloggers who are clearly (and deservedly) infatuated with it.
Lee and Taro books
- Resenting the Hero
- The Hero Strikes Back