Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heart Change by Robin Owens

Back of the Book: "Signet D'Marigold's lonely life is shaken when a prophet reveals that Signet is a catalyst for change... But to accept her new life- and the charge of noble child Avellana Hazel- will mean embracing a danger that may be fatal.
Cratag Maytree sold his sword and traveled across continents to find a place with his distant family. However, his settled life is disrupted when he is loaned out as a bodyguard for Signet and Avellana. Once again he feels like an outsider.
As Signet's and Cratag's attraction develops into love, her fear of abandonment and his concern about their different backgrounds diminish. Happiness seems within their grasp until fate makes them the target of a secret enemy they must defeat to survive..."
 I decided to take a break from reading Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC for something a little lighter. Heart Change isn't the type of book I'd usually gravitate towards. If my mother hadn't given it to me, I never would've read it. I don't like stories heavy on the romance and the paranormal romance novels I've read seemed to only include paranormal to attract people like me. On top of that, I usually don't read or buy books with people on the cover, especially buff men. But, as a writer, you have to sample every genre so, I read Heart Change because I saw no real reason not to.

Despite my misgivings, I really liked this novel. The world Owens built was brilliant. The details were so well thought out I had little trouble falling into the planet of Celta. I was amazed at how imaginative it was. It made the romance bearable. Heart Change is part of a series but you don't need to have read the previous books to understand the story. Some details went over my head but not in a way that made the book any less enjoyable.

The characters were likable enough though I liked and felt far more for the males than the females.  Don't know why but it always seems to be the case with me. Cratag was grittier, more the type of character I like while Signet, though far from the damsel in distress, was too girly. Owens decided to introduce her in an annoying way to. I used to start my stories inside the character's head while they're mulling over how horrible and depressing their life is but I've found much better ways to get the point across. Signet talked a great deal about how lonely she'd been for such a long time but I didn't feel for her.

Heart Change, for me, did what it was supposed to do. Though I prefer dark fiction, I was in the mood for something a little more predictable, an escape book. I simply liked being in the world Owens created. Though I didn't believe the characters were ever in any real danger, I still really liked each of them and was pleased to know, for the most part, everything worked out all right.

Heart Change exhibited, though, story elements I don't particularly like and reminded me why I stay away from romance novels. The characters had flaws but they were so downplayed by how wonderful and brilliant and powerful and beautiful (and on and on) they were. Everyone was far too perfect. Then, Owens dedicates paragraphs just describing the physical features of one character. I usually skip right over it. I get it, the character is gorgeous but do you really need to describe everything about them? In general, Heart Change was a bit too light and fluffy for my taste. I'm sure I'll give it a re-read or two but it hasn't encouraged me to read anything else by Owens.

That being said, it has gotten me looking into paranormal romance again. The stories may be predictable and the descriptions over-dramatic but they're great if you just want to escape, depending on the book. I am a writer after all. I read because I enjoy it but I can't do so without examining the story. The Twilight series got progressively worse and the characters and their relationships were far too annoying and unbelievable to be anything but insulting to me as a writer. It turned me away from the genre completely. But, I've started Beyond the Dark a collection of four paranormal romance stories. Now these stories and the characters are more to my liking.


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