Best_beloved's Reviews > Mistress of the Runes

Mistress of the Runes by Andrews & Austin
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Jan 22, 09

bookshelves: omg-no, romance-contempory, romance-paranormal
Read in January, 2009

This book is… a mess. It’s like three monkeys on three different word processors wrote unrelated scenes and the zookeeper stuck them together to make a book. To continue this thin metaphor, monkey number one wrote a series of sometimes funny vignettes of corporate life, monkey number two wrote a tepid lesbian romance, and monkey number three wrote about the incredible mysticism of Icelandic horses. I really wish monkey number one had written more and that someone had broken the keyboard of monkey number three.

Okay, the plot – such as it is. Mistress of the Runes is a lesbian romance (I blush for my people) involving two entertainment industry women who fall in love with each other and eventually achieve a reasonable relationship. The whole thing is rather badly done from the two of them meeting, romantically, over someone else’s vomit to one of them already in a four year relationship with someone else. It probably doesn’t help that I hated one of them (Brice) and the other was vapidly perfect (Liz). In reality, I probably should like Brice, since her corporate life was the very best part of the novel, but she got stuck trying to create romantic tension – which means she gets to be the ultimate cunt tease: I love you, but I’m too scared to have a relationship, I don’t want to start anything, but don’t leave me, I’ll sleep with you, but only for a night, over and over and over and over and... Is that really the best the monkeys authors could come up with to make the relationship (the possible the focus of the novel) interesting?

One thing the book does with exhaustive detail is explore the mystic and psychic nature of Icelandic horses. See, Liz and Brice buy these Icelandic horses – a mated pair, hint, hint - that are the physical representations of themselves and their relationship or something. It seems that Brice and Liz had loved before in a past life when Brice was a Viking warrior and Liz his captured blonde queen. Naturally, this past life business is connected to the Icelandic horses (I know, I know, but they’re not just any horses, they’re these special Icelandic horses. It’s not my fault.) A frighteningly large part of the book involves the exceptionally forced mystic wonderfulness of the Icelandic horse including not just Viking past lives, but an all knowing waitress, Brice learning to psychically connect with her Icelandic horse, a disappearing and reappearing painting, Brice sharing her Icelandic horse’s pain, a mysterious vanishing docent, and the deeper symbolism of falling off a horse – sorry, an Icelandic horse.

I had a few other issues that didn’t involve the horribly awkward romance or Icelandic horses. As a general note, I don’t think authors should describe clothing unless the description is meaningful - a Chanel suit says something about a character while “tight, electric blue satin dress” says bridesmaid from hell, although in the book it’s supposed to be sexy. But maybe that’s just me. Anyway, as far as I know, microbiologists from Harvard don’t have to sleep with a CEO to get a job. Additionally, no one goes into microbiology without wanting to work in microbiology. It’s just not the super fun degree that all the cool kids are getting. Why would the authors have a microbiologist recently graduated from Harvard sleeping with a CEO of an entertainment corporation to get a job in their advertising department? They didn’t know either and the poor microbiologist is immediately forgotten after being introduced. Why mention her at all? I hope it was a shout out to a friend.

To sum, this is one of those books, and we’ve all read them, that you know deep, deep in your heart that you could write something much better with a spare 48 hours and a fifth of Jack.
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