The Pagan & The Pen Reviews
May 20, 2010
The Pagan & The Pen Reviews
Title: Bane of His Existence
Author: Melody Knight
Publisher: Carnal Passions
Genre: Fantasy/Erotic Romance/M/F
Other: Shape shifter/werewolf
Length: 54 pgs.
Reviewed by: Violet Harper
About The Book: Charlie Ascott is a werewolf. He's been cursed with the condition for the last four years, doesn't recall the one who infected him, and has learned to live with it. The only thing he can't quite handle is the lust he feels for a certain she-wolf. He catches her scent every month at full moon, but when it's absent for a few days, he's beside himself. Some day he intends to track her down, but he's not ready for that "wolves mate for life" connection. When he catches a familiar scent in the elevator, he realizes it's her—his she-wolf. Suddenly, he's more ready for a connection than he realized.
Verity Connors is a manager in the company where Charlie works. She has been afraid of intimacy and friendships ever since she was bitten. She's a werewolf, and she keeps to herself, focusing on her work to avoid letting instinct run away with her. When she meets Charlie, though, she decides she's been playing solitaire far too long. It's time to take a chance, and Charlie's the one she wants to risk all with. The only way to do that is to let instinct run its course.
The Review: The first chapter starts strong. It’s an interesting idea and it begins with humor and wit. Because it’s a short story, the plot is simplistic. Two wolves who have no idea how they got that way, or what it means in their lives, find one another. This idea works well for a short story, but it relies completely on the quality of the character development. Unfortunately, this story consists mostly of exposition. There is little sensory language. The reader has no real idea what anyone, or anything, looks like. Scenes ripe for eroticism lack the sensory detail that readers need in order to feel what the characters feel. There is no clear differentiation between Charlie’s and Verity’s personalities. They both seem paranoid and they both seem to have the same conflict, handily resolved by forming a romantic relationship with one another. Because we don’t really get to know either character, we don’t care when they get together. This may be a blessing since the erotic scenes are glossed over as part of the exposition.
The spiritual aspects of the werewolf are completely overlooked. Both characters treat it like a virus. Full moons trigger outbreaks. Being a wolf is something with which the characters learn to cope instead of embrace and accept. It isn’t herpes; it’s an intrinsic part of who each of these people are.
The stream of consciousness writing style, complete with incomplete sentences, thoughts left hanging, and mid-paragraph flips from third to second person point of view, made this story difficult to follow. Intermittent high ideals and an overused word-of-the-day calendar collide in an explosion of awkward wording that vacillates from formal to conversational to something that attempts to approximate the hardboiled detective writing of Hammett or Chandler. Words like ‘maladroit’ and ‘twat’ don’t work well together in this piece of writing. I could see it working in a comedic piece, but there was nothing funny about this story. Additionally, the author could benefit from an honest critique partner and an editor with an eye for misused commas, overused ellipses, and knowledge of the difference between ejected and ejaculated.
I can see the potential in this story and with this author, but it hasn’t yet been fully realized.
Pagan Elements: None
Cover (Rated 1-10): 7- A kissing couple, wolves in the background, and a cityscape below them make for an eye-catching cover.
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