Enchanted No More: Fell flat with me

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsRobin D Owens Mystic Circle 1. Enchanted No More fantasy book reviewsEnchanted No More by Robin D. Owens

I was drawn to Enchanted No More by the vibrant hues of the cover art and because the plot summary — centering on a half-faerie woman sucked back grudgingly into court affairs — reminded me of one of my favorite urban fantasy series, Seanan McGuire’s October Daye.

Jenni is a halfling, half human and half Lightfolk (fae). She wants nothing to do with her Lightfolk heritage after a magical disaster fifteen years ago in which most of her family was killed. Instead, she lives as a human in Denver and works as a game designer. She is drawn back into the Lightfolk world when her last remaining family member, her estranged brother, disappears while on a mission for the rulers. Jenni reluctantly accepts the mission so that she can rescue her brother. Now she has court politics to deal with, along with dangerous evil creatures and her ex-lover Aric Paramon. (The blurb calls him Tage, but I think that must be from an earlier draft.)

Jenni must overcome her guilt and grief over the tragedy in her past, and forgive herself and Aric for the things they could have done differently. Her brother has a similar arc, learning to move past his own self-pity and his bitterness toward Jenni. Readers who enjoy this type of character journey may find Enchanted No More hits the spot.

For me, it was a bumpy read. The trouble starts with Jenni. I had trouble warming to her. At the beginning of the book, she’s immature, lashing out in anger at the most inopportune moments. She throws tantrums at royalty — not generally a good idea, but her magical talents are rare enough that they put up with it. Later, as she deals with her past, she becomes more sympathetic but still has annoying traits such as a tendency to meddle. She prods Aric about his dad issues when they’re supposed to be having a romantic evening, and dispenses career counseling to the other halflings at court (who feel suddenly motivated to better their lot after a brief conversation with Jenni). Meanwhile, Aric never quite feels fleshed out.

The magic system and the scenes of magic use are often confusing to follow, while other aspects of the story are over-explained. The deaths of Jenni’s family are rehashed so many times that — especially after the Fire Queen tells her own version and offers to let Jenni read the other royals’ accounts — I was sure there would be a twist wherein the incident would turn out to have happened differently than Jenni remembered. This doesn’t occur, however.

Finally, there are a huge number of comma splices. I hate to nitpick about grammar/editing, but when there are enough of these errors, it becomes distracting.

Enchanted No More will be appealing to some readers but fell flat with me, I’m sad to say. I’d rather be reading October Daye.


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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