"an entertaining blend of urban and imaginary world fantasy"
Claire is an astrologer who goes on one date too many with
Darryl Decko, a wizard's brother who happens to run a
national gambling ring. When Darryl asks her to use her
talents to predict the outcome of various sporting events,
she knows he isn't going to take no for an answer, so
Claire leaves on an ill-advised camping trip. Little does
she know that her journey will take her to a primitive
world ruled by the tyrant Kovak, where she is hailed as a
priestess of the Daughter of the Sun and attracts the
attention of Tarvik, Kovak's son.
This story presents an entertaining blend of urban and
imaginary world fantasy, spiced up with romance and
humor. Claire, or "Stargazer" as she is known in Tarvik's
world, has a distinctive voice, filled with self-
deprecating charm, and comes across as refreshingly down to
earth. She knows when she is over her head, but she also
knows how to make the best of a bad situation and how to
use her astrological knowledge to her best advantage. Her
chemistry with Tarvik is delightful, but they are from very
different worlds, and both stubbornly cling to the roles in
society and values with which they were brought up,
creating a great deal of suspense as to how the pair will
end up. Supporting characters are well-drawn, and include
the controlling Kovak, in whose footsteps Tarvik may be
following too closely, and Nance, Tarvik's cousin and a
devoted priestess to the daughter of the sun.
In my view, this novel may recommend itself more to readers
of traditional fantasy than of romance. The world building
is solid, the characters likeable and the plot full of
surprises. However, it is the first book of a series, and
there isn't a lot of physical contact, or a Happily Ever
After resolution in the manner of most romances. For that,
I expect we'll have to wait for the next book in the
series. . . in which I hope we get more of both the
delightful Claire and Mudflat itself!
Reviewed by Kimberly Bea
Posted July 12, 2008
When you grow up in Mudflat and have a troll in your basement, magic doesn't come as a total surprise. So when astrologer Claire, on the run from a pair of crooked brothers, stumbles into another world, she's ready to play the role of resident "Stargazer." Especially if it keeps her from losing her head to all those broadswords being swung around by the blond barbarians.
But one really cute warrior might make her lose her head in another way. Can Claire convince Tarvik that she's really just a peace-loving Seattle girl who needs her coffee? And how do you find your way home when there's a war about to break loose in the castle? If Claire and her Tarbaby are going to survive, they need more than a little help from the stars.
Genre: Fantasy Romance