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REVIEW: Desperate Housewives of Avalon by Saranna DeWylde by Saranna...

Desperate Housewives of Avalon by Saranna DeWylde

Dear Ms. DeWylde:

Who knew that goddesses were just like us?  They have the same hopes and dreams, the same desires, and even the same problems some of us have with men.  Of course, they have these on a much grander scale, and PMS becomes an international incident as opposed to a chocolate heist, but hey – it’s nice to see some deities acting like every day men and women, despite their longetivity.

Just about everyone knows Artemis, goddess of the hunt.  She’s the eternal virgin, the patroness of all those who seek their prey.  She’s sister to Apollo, sister in law to Nyx, and favorite auntie to two adorable demi-deities who espouse chaos and nightmares.  Not a bad gig – if you can get it.  Her one small problem is that she’s heartily sick and tired of being a virgin.  It’s time to get her V-card punched, and her best friend, Aphrodite, knows just the place to do it.  The Club Med of the immortals is none other than the fabled Avalon of Camelot legend.  It has everything – gorgeous vistas, great food, unlimited spa services, and two gorgeous men who have well-deserved reputations as Avalon’s main attractions – Arthur (yes, THAT Arthur) and Mordred.  Where else can a goddess go to experience the delights of the flesh without getting her heart involved?

I absolutely adored the multi-perspective viewpoint of the book.  Things didn’t simply focus on Artemis – everyone got a turn and everyone was included.  From Vivienne (the Lady of the Lake) to Morgan (the supposedly evil witch) to Gueneviere and Lancelot – all of the characters’ stories were told with loving attention to detail that didn’t sacrifice the integrity of the over-arching story.  While the main focus of the book was, for the most part, Artemis, I loved seeing how each of the characters grew through their own trials and tribulations while, for the most part, relating back to our intrepid heroine.  There is something inherently, decadently satisfying about watching characters actually grow and change, to watch the process by which they go from two dimensional characters on a page to three dimensional whole beings who are just like us – for the most part.

Now, before you start thinking I’m gushing about how Nicholas Sparksian the book was – I’m not.  This isn’t a sweetly tender, hearts and butterflies type of book where the heroine soothes the wounded hero while butterflies and songbirds dance on the rainbow that comes after the storm kind of book.  This is more of a hot-and-heavy against the wall (or rocks, or grass, or floor), girlfriends laughing and plotting over margaritas, witchy Cracker Barrel giggle-fest where amusingly impossible situations are paired with subtle-yet-powerful character studies of people we’ve all grown up hearing about.

I had a few issues with the book, no matter how much I loved it, overall.  While I truly enjoyed the multi-perspective format, it felt like, at times, that it was a bit too much.  I needed a pad and paper to keep track of all the players and felt like I needed a scorecard to see who had the most hits against the other characters.  It was like a no-holds barred game of love hockey with no pads and no protection.  I wanted a little bit –more- of the characters, to dig a little bit deeper.  There were times when things were so over the top, it felt like that was merely a mask for some kind of deficiency in the writing (which it’s not – but it felt that way at times.  Humor can hide a multitude of sins, just like a really great pair of jeans).  The male characters, while all wonderful, tended to be carbon copies of each other.  The only exception, of course, was Mordred – but there was so much more that could have been done with the Bad Boy of Avalon.  While just about everyone knows his history, he seemed more like the “Bad Boy, Frankie Avalon” than the James Dean type.

Thank you so much for writing this book!  I loved that it followed “Desperate Housewives of Olympus” (another amazingly fun read) and am very much looking forward to reading more from you! C+

 Mary Kate

As a reader who’s old enough to know better and young enough to not care, I’ve breezed through the gamut of everything books have to offer.  As a child, I used to spend summer days happily ensconced in one of the Philadelphia public libraries, reading everything and anything I could get my hands on, thanks to the love and support of my parents and aunts – teachers, mothers and/or librarians all.  One aunt started me with Nancy Drew books (whose pages are worn from hundreds of re-reads) while another thought I needed introduced to C.S. Lewis’s land of Narnia.  By the time I was 8, I’d read everything the library’s children’s section had to offer and had “graduated” to the adult room downstairs.  Fortunately for my very supportive parents’ sanity, I didn’t discover romances until college.  My days are currently spent working in law enforcement (dispatchers unite!), working with first responders, and trying to dig my writer/editor/reviewer husband out from his latest pile of books.  I’m a devoted fan of all manner of romance (though I prefer my romance to have a hint of laughter and self-awareness), mysteries, and urban fantasy.

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