Mar 21 2007
Dear Mses Weiss:
When I first saw the promo that Margaret Weiss of the fantasy Weiss fame was going to be authoring a paranormal romance, I was quite excited. Sometimes paranormal romances are heavy on the romance but weak on the worldbuilding. Thus would not be the case with an author whose entire career has been made in the fantasy genre. Alas, either someone told you that romance readers are dumber than dirt or that is the understanding that you came to after gazing at too many covers filled with heaving bosoms and bare chests. I want you to know that you shouldn’t judge readers by the covers of the books that we read.
Derek de Molay is a Templar Knight who was tortured mercilessly in the Inquisition. When he passed over, he was given the opportunity to enter Paradise but had to repent of the sin of pride. Angered over this, Derek turns away and becomes a warrior angel, fighting demons in Purgatory. Derek doesn’t believe he’s a sanctimonious prick, but with passages like this, there can be only one conclusion:
Derek saw some of his comrades wilt at merely the thought of torture and eagerly confess to terrible crimes in order to save their own skins.
Now Derek is being sent to earth to monitor the activites of Rachel Duncan, a commodities trader with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Rachel is supposed to be a whip smart, savvy, woman who spends her days jostling for trade space. One day she never leaves the house for the Merc unless she looks like she steps off the pages of Vogue. The next, “She let herself go during the week because a manicure was too easily ruined in the pit.” As the story goes on, Rachel acts inconsistently with the presented characterization as she becomes more and more incapable of making any decision and is shown only to require constant rescue. Good thing Knight Derek is around.
Rachel is dating her rich and mysterious client, Andreas Zanus. It’s okay in her mind so long as she doesn’t sleep with him. When he whisks her off to Bangkok and Paris for dinners and weekends, she feels uneasy as much as she delights in it. She’s not sure whether Zanus is doing this just because he likes her or because he wants to sleep with her. Hmm, I just can’t figure that one out.
Part of the book reads like a school paper on the CBT.
The Merc was an impressive building located in the heart of Chicago, Rachel spent most of her time in the upper echelons of the pits. The pits were just that: sunken arena-type rooms where men–"and now women–"either placed trades for large financial corporations or were the in de pen-dent traders, the maverick cowboys of the Exchange. . . .She traded what was called the Paper. . .
Those had probably been around since 1898, when the Merc was the Chicago Egg and Butter Board.
Part reads like a perusal through the ads in Town and Country.
- after a night drinking champagne cocktails (the European kind, made with brandy and bitters)
- she loved all the amenities that came with a five hundred thousand dollar condo
- Her parents …were currently cruising around the world on the Queen Elizabeth 2
- quick leap through a spritzed cloud of Annick Goutal perfume.
- Stuart Weitzman pumps
- She owned her own car–"a Volkswagen Passat (you have a $500 condo and you drive a Passat, must have been a weird day for the Town and Country mag)
- her one-thousand-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets
- his Thomas Pink shirts pressed
- Where to shop? When in doubt, a girl should wear Chanel.
- She spritzed on new perfume–"Passion by Annick Goutal
- added new earrings and a matching necklace from Tiffany & Co
(These references are in the first 4 chapters). I half expected color illustrations to appear on the pages opposite of the text. Worse, most of the book is spent with Derek and Rachel taking turns holding the Too Stupid To Live title. (TSTL). Derek often interferes with Rachel’s life, requiring another Angel to create diversions to get Derek out of trouble. Rachel sleeps with Zanus knowing that it’s wrong but can’t really say no. She’s whip smart and strong all right. Apparently the two crazy kids fall in love over a picnic after Rachel decides he isn’t crazy and Derek decides – well, he was in love with her from the moment he saw her designer clad, French manicured, Tiffany wearing, Annick Goutal smelling, European cocktail drinking person.
The tone of the book is Young Adult or even Middle Grade and most of the content is PG 13 until the lackluster but multi page sex scene in the end of the book. It brings to mind the criticism by the Washington Post of a well publicized novel:
It's hard to tell what audience the book could possibly be intended for: It's too sexed up for young adults, too juvenile for actual adults and too Encyclopedia Brown for anyone in between.
That’s how I feel about this book without the Encyclopedia Brown reference. D .