Friday, July 04, 2008

Derik's Bane, by MaryJanice Davidson

(pb; 2005)

From the back cover:

"It's always good to have a psychic around -- except when she tells you the world will soon end unless you do something about it. For werewolf Derik Gardner, 'doing something about it' means heading to sunny California and destroying the reincarnation of possibly the most powerful sorceress in history: Morgan Le Fay.

"But the beautiful -- and slightly ditzy -- Dr. Sara Gunn has no idea that she is Morgan Le Fay. Her masses of wild red curls and crystal blue eyes make knocking her off an unpleasant prospect for Derik... and his half-hearted attempts don't meet with much success. So if he can't kill Sara, he'll join her, on a cross-country odyssey to change her fate, confront a medieval evil -- and get a little something on the side."


This "paranormal romance" has most of elements of a screwball comedy: lively, on-target banter between its quirky couple (a fiery female sorceress, laid-back male werewolf), and plenty of slapstick silliness.

There's one notable flaw in this otherwise fun beach read: two explicit, genre-stipulated(?), non-humorous sex scenes that threaten to upset the mainstream tone of the rest of the book. The first sex scene is built up to -- the lead characters are hot for each other, as the reader is constantly reminded -- so that's kind of understandable, even if it runs too long. But the second, running about a page (like the first sex scene), is too explicit for such a comic-minded romance, unless Davidson wanted to cause her readers to roll their eyes at Derik and Sara's cliched passion.

Aside from those pesky sex scenes, this is a good read. Not one worth owning, but worth borrowing, provided you can justify occasional story-jarring, generic-explicit sex.

[**Two prequel "Wyndam Werewolf Tales" for interested readers to check out: "Love's Prisoner" (from Secrets Volume 6), and "Jared's Wolf" (from Secrets Volume 8). I haven't read them, but Derik's Bane contained blurb-listings for them.]

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