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REVIEW

"Excellent examples of the genre written by masters of their craft!"

CHARMED DESTINIES is an anthology of stories written to introduce prospective LUNA readers to the charms and sensibility of this much-anticipated new line from Harlequin/Silhouette. The authors have the distinction of being Fantasists, not romance novelists, and this difference is shown quite clearly throughout the collection. As an introduction to the delights that will be offered later in the year, CHARMED DESTINIES is a great treat that any fantasy romance reader should check out - at the very least to see if the LUNA line is to your taste.

"Counting Crows" by Mercedes Lackey Lady Gwynnhwyfar wed the foul Baron Bretagne without once seeing his face. She traveled to his dark court, abandoning all childhood dreams of romance in the process and found nothing but hatred and humiliation. She has a husband who cares naught, a keep that seems to be all her nightmares brought to life, a single faithful, beloved retainer, and a big secret. A secret that could cost her her life - or change it forever but only if things go according to plan...

Magic and mysteries pervade this enchanting little novella by popular fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. Scheduled as LUNA's debut author, the story that Lackey offers is thematically typical and the romantic subplot is sweet enough to please any romance reader. The plot twists that Lackey uses are enjoyable and the heroine's romance is decidedly sweet. Also, Lackey's ease with the novella is clear. No worries here about the story overrunning the length, or vice versa. The strong heroine is of particular interest and of notice.

"Counting Crows" is an engaging fantasy story

"Drusilla's Dream" by Rachel Lee Drusilla Morgan lives a double life. In one reality she works in the depths of the GalaxyCom building, spending hours doing nothing by typing. In the other she adventures, risks her life, gathers comrades and fights in a world quite unlike her own. It is a world of magic and mystery, where she is the daughter of a King, set forth on a quest of crucial importance. Her two worlds intersect and Drusilla finds herself wondering which world is reality and which is dream.

The best term to describe this story is confusing. Lee's novella is jumbled and erratic, though it has a clear-cut happy ending. It's the getting there that's the problem. The major issue is that Lee's premise -romance through a dual world- is one deserving more space than the limited pages of a novella. The squashed nature of the piece hurt the characterization as well, leaving the romantic ending cold and unsatisfying. Aiming to be a mix of fantasy and romance, a thin line, to be sure, "Drusilla's Dream" hits the mark off-kilter and ultimately succeeds at neither.

"Moonglow" by Catherine Asaro The law was that the most powerful female mage must wed the liege, which Iris Laskspur thought was all well and good until circumstances revealed that she was the most powerful female mage and that she had to marry the prince everyone had thought dead for most of his life. The prince had been struck deaf, mute and blind by a spell years before. Only together can they harness a magic greater than any she could ever imagine, a magic that just might be the only thing that can save the prince!

Catherine Asaro is an award-winning author of romance- imbued science fiction, most notably the Skolian Empire series, but also select, unconnected masterpieces that any fantasy-romance lover would be well advised to look up. "Moonglow" is the first story set in an exciting, magical new world created especially for LUNA readers. As with every other story in this anthology, romance is a subplot. A strong subplot, true, but a subplot no less. The magic of Asaro's world is deep and complex, but very well executed. The romance is pleasing and typically fulfilling.

Though not perfect, the CHARMED DESTINIES anthology has a little something for everyone-and enough sampling of the future of the line to whet any reader's anticipation. Strict romance readers would do well to remember that fantasy with romantic subplots and pure romance are not the same. However, as the change from intense character sympathy to a more distanced approach to romance may leave some readers feeling ambivalent, but these stories are excellent examples of the genre written by masters of their craft. If you like a meaty, fantasy-rich story, you can't go wrong with these delectable little treats.

Reviewed by Ann Leveille

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 19, 2006

SUMMARY

Three new stories of timeless love and tantalizing fantasy . . .

"Counting Crows" by Mercedes Lackey

In Lady Gwynhefar's dark, lonely court, her only ally was noble Sir Elloran, a warrior willing to fight for her honor. But would her powerful spell capture his heart -- or tumble the kingdom into chaos?

"Drusilla's Dream" by USA TODAY bestselling author Rachel Lee

Every night Drusilla Morgan dreamed of courageous and handsome Miles Kennedy. Their quest: to battle evil and find true love. Yet when the sun rose, would Drusilla's fantasy man become a reality.

"Moonglow" by Nebula Award-winning author Catherine Asaro

In a world where kings married for magic, Iris Larkspur was required to wed the prince -- despite the spell that kept him deaf, mute and blind. Healing her bridegroom would take a power greater than any she'd ever known -- one only two bonded hearts could provide!

 

Charmed Destinies
by Rachel Lee, Mercedes Lackey, Catherine Asaro

Harlequin
November 1, 2003
ISBN #0373218338
EAN #9780373218332
384 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Rachel Lee

Forever Claimed
Claimed by a Vampire
Claim the Night
Charmed Destinies
Shadows of Prophecy
Shadows of Myth
Something Deadly
Last Breath
With Malice
July Thunder
Under Suspicion
Imminent Thunder
A January Chill
Thunder Mountain


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