Saturday, November 24, 2007

'Key to Conflict'

ISBN: 0441015034
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 336pp
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: May 2007
Price: $7.99

There is a reason people read reviews. One of the reasons is that hopefully you will not spend your hard earned cash on a book that will only disappoint you. Of course when you’re an impulse shopper, like me, and you see a cover that catches your eye sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.

I really, really wanted to like Key to Conflict. It’s got a great plot idea and a few characters that really grab your attention. Unfortunately the end result is something short of what you might expect. It’s clumsy and awkward in spots, with too much detail and development in which the author shows you a lot of things without letting it just unfold onto the page. There just was not enough conversation to keep the book going; Indeed, Gryphon would tell you that certain characters had talked, and this just got to be a little boring. I don’t want to be told what they said, I just want to read it, damnit.

Not to mention the fact that this is labeled fantasy… except that for just fantasy it sure does have a lot of sex going on. Or if not sex, then enough time spent inside Gillian’s head thinking about the hunky beautiful drop-dead-sexy males she finds herself surrounded by. They all want her too, she’s that perfect. I personally would have stuck this in the romance section, except that it wouldn’t really fit there either.

Dr. Gillian Key is a Marine Paramortal Psychologist. So she kicks your ass and then she’s going to ask you how you feel about it. It’s an unusual combination, and it almost works. She is assigned to a master vampire by the name of Alesksei and a charming ghost and while she is there for their mental health she is also supposed to unearth some clues about Dracula. Yes, the Dracula, who is the ultimate in bad guys and just so happens to be stirring up trouble again.

From there we learn that basically Dracula is trying to take over the world again and our brave and oh-so-sweet doctor has landed on the wrong side. By helping Alesksei, one of Dracula’s sworn enemies, Gillian has been made a target. But since part of her mission is to uncover information she’s in the perfect, if a bit tight, spot.

Soon Gillian has formed a relationship with Tanis, Alesksei’s even cuter brother and the dead but very sexy turquoise-eyed ghost she’s treating for shock over his untimely death hundreds of years ago. And Alesksei has a thing for her too, but there is that whole doctor-patient line that Gillian doesn’t want to cross… well… until later, at least.

The Dracula stuff never goes anywhere and nothing is resolved. There are hints of a second book with the open ending and I can only pray that if a sequel does show up it is less tell and more show. In the end I just started skipping pages, which I have to admit is not a good idea since there is so much information crammed onto each page to begin with.

But I couldn’t bring myself to go back and read it. So I just gave up, and I hate to admit it but — this particular Key to Conflict just might have to remain lost in the couch cushions.


T.C. said...

I think this is the first negative review I've read from you. As you said, it doesn't sound like a bad story line, and a Marine Paramortal Psychologist just sounds like an awesome job. (That 'kick your ass and then ask you how you feel about it' line is a riot!) But if the story isn't written right, then there's nothing to it - it remains stoic. Great review, Katie!

Katie said...

T.C. I hate to write bad reviews because I know how hard it is to write a novel in the 1st place. So much work goes into. Plus as soon as I get mine published (crossed fingers here) I know it will just kill me to get a bad review. I hate to give them. But this is her first novel and hopefully she will have grown a little by the next one. It's interesting, and the writing isn't bad it just isn't well thought out.

T.C. said...

You're trying to publish a novel? Count me in on reading it! I too hate giving bad reviews, but I try my best to give constructive criticism rather than a bad review. You did a really good job of doing that on this review.

Katie said...

Thanks T.C. if I find myself an agent and get it published I'll send you a copy if you promise to give it a good review! :) No pressure!

T.C. said...

Of course I will, no worries! :D

Skeeter said...

A book that must remain lost in the couch cushions *BAM* now that's a review. You saved me some money with this one.

NouveauBlogger said...

You actually didn't like a book? OMG! LOL

Katie said...

HAHAHA I know! I must be sick or something :)

minijonb said...

Dr. Gillian Key looks hot on the cover, so I might look at the book in the store or something... but thanks to your review, I know know better! Thanks =:-)