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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

****½ Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan. Contemporary paranormal romance.

This is the fourth story in Feehan's Drake Sisters series about a family of seven sisters, each with a different inherited magical power.

Dr. Libby Drake is the good girl of the family, and, in keeping with her non-magical profession, her magical talent is healing.

She's had a long-standing crush on Tyson Derrick, a genius research scientist who balances his hours in the lab with extreme sports and volunteering on a search-and-rescue team.

Granted, at first glance Ty seems to be a typical romance-novel, too-good-to-be-true hero, and he is, but he's also well-developed and his unusual combination of occupations is well-explained. The physical things make him feel alive, and the adrenaline rushes fill the gaps left by a lack of emotional connection to other people.

He's begun realizing this, though, so he's been trying to date, and to be closer to his cousin, with whom he lives 3 months of the year. Unfortunately, it seems that he has to change to have an emotional life, because other people get bored with his conversation, and resent the time he spends in his lab.

Until Libby, who, amazingly, is interested in what he has to say, and likes hanging out in the lab with him.

Boring others is the least of his problems, though. It seems that someone is trying to kill him. His rescue harness is sabotaged, and the resultant fall is nearly fatal. It would have been fatal if Libby hadn't felt a strong compulsion to risk her own life by healing him.

As a scientist, Ty can't accept the existence of magic, but he likes and respects Libby, so he can't believe she's a fraud, either. So he decides her family must have brainwashed her into believing she can heal people by magic. The closer he gets to her, the more determined he becomes to save her from their machinations.

The scene where the sisters set him straight is by itself worth the price of the book.

One of the problems I've found with books in this sub-genre is the ease with which vanilla humans accept the paranormal. Granted, I wouldn't want to waste most of the book having the non-magical character questioning his/her sanity or spoiling the story by running off screaming, but there needs to be a middle ground between that and instant acceptance. I think Ty's character was very believable in that aspect. I especially liked that his reaction to his initial hypothesis that the Drakes were con artists was that Libby was unaware of the con and that he wanted to protect her. It was very sweet.

And of course, I always like brainy characters, particularly in romance novels, where I don't find too many well-written ones. Ty and Libby are brainy, and Feehan still manages to make them realistic characters rather than stereotypes. Ty is rather socially inept, but not comically so, and it's as much due to his upbringing as to his brains. And, most importantly, neither one of them is lacking in logic or common sense.

I did guess whodunit fairly early on in the story, but I liked Ty and Libby so much that I didn't really care.


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I'm not usually a reader of paranormal, but your review has me so intrigued I'm going to look this one up. Thanks Darla!
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