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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dark Watcher

*** Dark Watcher by Lilith Saintcrow. Contemporary paranormal romance.

This is another author I discovered while bloghopping--this time, through a religion blog called "God and Consequences" which is no longer around. Darnit.

Theodora is a witch who's finally found a place where she can settle down, with three other magically-inclined women. All she wants is to be safe and comfortable, and maybe to take a nice vacation to Mexico, lie on the beach a while.

But that's not very likely, when there are forces out there who want her dead.

Enter Dante, a Watcher, who works for Circle Lightfall, a paranormal organization. It's his job as a Watcher to watch over a witch--Theodora in particular.

Watchers are formerly violent men who were saved from death and turned into guardians with supernatural strength. Being around witches is painful for them, unless it's the one witch who's their witch (aka soulmate). The prospect of finding their one witch keeps them in line.

So Dante and a buddy show up and protect Theo and friends. Somewhere along the line, he gives her the low-pressure spiel about joining Circle Lightfall.

Okay. Not going to write a synopsis of the entire book, though it's tempting. I think a very large part of why I didn't love this book is the glut of paranormal romance out there. If I'd never read about real witches before, or guardians, or supernatural soulmates, I'd be enthralled. As it is, I didn't see anything here that I haven't seen a hundred times before.

I also didn't really bond with the characters. The women all seemed... muted, somehow. They didn't seem to want anything very strongly. In fact, their main goal is a negative--to be left alone. Even when the climax comes and they do have to fight for their peace, they take what to me seems to be a lazy and short-sighted (or maybe just narrow) option. Even Theodora's desire for a vacation in Mexico--it's mentioned pretty frequently, but she doesn't seem to really want it all that badly--it's just something she daydreams about off and on.

The men were better--they were fighting for something. And I never did understand why Theo & co. were so against Circle Lightfall, beyond a bland wish to be peaceful.

I really can't avoid this, though I was trying. My biggest problem with the book was the ending:
I could not understand why ****spoiler**** they were willing for one of them to die and for the rest of them to be trapped in the city for the rest of their lives, simply to be blandly safe. **** But more than that, I couldn't forgive them for ****spoiler**** leaving the rest of the world to its own devices when they could have helped. It's an isolationist point of view that I really cannot share. ****


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