Sunday, July 5, 2009

Review - Saving Destiny by Pat White

Blurb from Pat White's Web site:
"An out-of-this world tale of a scientist turned crystal healer and the demon blackmailed into protecting her. Dr. Destiny Rue must face her fear of insanity and trust a stranger to defend her from paranormal creatures determined to destory her. What neither she, not the Ash Demon Kadenshar realize is that together they have the ability to bring peace to the dark and mortal realms. But first, they both have to accept themselves for who they are, and surrender to love."

Saving Destiny is a quick read that feels much longer. Heroine Dee (Destiny) Rue is a talented, if unappreciated, scientist who is desperately afraid of falling prey to the same insanity that claimed her mother. Or so she believes. She is completely unaware of the mysterious crystal powers that she owns, or the paranormal battle waging around her. As a heroine, it took me a while to really "get" Dee. I've heard of beta heroes and, to my mind, Dee is something of a beta heroine. She spends a good deal of the story somewhat catatonic. Her self doubt is so great that I, as a reader, doubted her abilities as well. When she finally transforms from weak human to supremely powerful goddess, it's almost too quick to follow. I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall, the moment when Dee would again crumble into a sniveling mess of self-believed insanity. That was my main problem with the story. While Dee eventually becomes a strong, purpose-driven heroine, it takes her so long to get there that I find it frustrating. And her journey isn't exactly clear. She wallows in weakness and misery for the better part of the book, then wakes up changed. Very suspect on the believability scale.

As a hero, Kadenshar is more believable. Yet, after a while, I found his mental back and forth tedious as well. As a demon he doesn't believe in love, and yet he feels love strongly. He means only to save his race (the Ash Demons), but he doesn't really trust his race or their methods. He hates humans and the human world, but his goal (in addition to saving his brother) is to preserve the passages that allow demonkind to pass from their world to the human world. These contradictions are somewhat explained through Kade's sense of duty and guilt, but eventually grow tiresome.

Saving Destiny, while certainly readable, is a flawed book. It is top heavy. If you divide the book into thirds, the first third is VERY long. The second third, though shorter, is still very detailed, but then the final third of the book (the resolution) is rushed. Secondary characters are thrown in haphazzardly, and some seemingly without purpose.

Overall, I'm not sorry that I read Saving Destiny. It was the first paranormal I've read that portrayed a demon as a hero, and that it did very well. By the end of the story I was fully infatuated with Kade, who (all flaws aside) is a well written character. He has depth and personality. He has multiple motivations guiding his actions, and the motivations are pulling him in completely opposite directions. This is what makes me more forgiving of his internal dialogue and self-doubts than Dee's. He seems real, where Dee is more a cardboard cutout of what a heroine should be. As to whether or not I'd recommend it...only if you're inbetween books and need something short to pass the time.

Rating: 3/5



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