Atlantis Rising

Atlantis Awakening
by Alyssa Day
(Sensation, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-425-21796-2
I enjoyed the first book in Alyssa Day's Poseidon's Warriors series. Even though the basic premise of the story is rather familiar to readers of paranormal romances — a group of super-powered testosterone-charged warriors tortured by their past fulfill their romantic destiny while engaged in a battle to save the world — the world-building stands out. I was interested  enough to want to read the second book. Atlantis Awakening was acceptable, but it didn't convince me to add the series to my automatic buy list.

Lord Vengeance, or Ven, is the younger brother of the crown prince of Atlantis and one of the fiercest of Poseidon's Warriors. The latter have long been engaged in fighting the vampires who are slowly taking over dry land. Because their leader and Ven's brother Con (who features in the first book) is going to marry a human, they are even more committed to win the fight. Ven is sent to liaise with Erin Connors, a witch.

Erin lost her entire family to Caligula, who is as sadistic and deranged as a vampire as he was when a Roman emperor. She has recently heard that her sister Deirdre is alive. Erin wants to rescue her and to revenge the rest of her family. She would like Poseidon's Warriors' help in doing this.

Ven doesn't hesitate. When he realizes that Caligula is after Erin, he whisks her off to the underworld island of Atlantis. There, Erin learns she has strange powers she never even suspected. The Atlantans need her as much as she needs them. Ven and Erin are charged with a new but related mission. This doesn't exactly get in the way of their own relationship.

Problem is, I'm not convinced they have one. So he thinks she's hot and she thinks he's sexy. So he has never felt possessive and she has never felt so close to another person. So they have the best sex ever. So what? Will any of this mean very much in the long run? Probably not.

Nor do any real conflicts keeping them apart. They are unbelievably quick to acknowledge they are soul mates. As a result, we get very little sexual tension. Instead, we are teased with a number of minor issues. Ven and Erin jokingly tell each other to add ever new problem they encounter to a list. It gets longer and longer, but they never get round to discussing it. This leaves me uncertain about their relationship and frustrated about main characters whose back stories, new-found powers and basic motivations have yet to be elucidated.

With all the new twists to the plot and all the different dangers stalking Erin, Ven and their friends, it isn't surprising there is little room for serious romance and substantial character development. Ideally, this shouldn't have detracted entirely from my reading pleasure – Alyssa Day wouldn't be the first to give more weight to the adventure side of a romantic (paranormal) adventure novel. But this part of the story wasn't that much more satisfying. Too many new characters with unexplained agendas and mysterious pasts are introduced. After a while, they all begin to sound the same. Worse, although Ven and Erin fulfill their mission against Caligula, much about the larger story remains unresolved and unclear.

Day tries hard to give a genuine voice to her characters. When the Atlantans's don't sound like overly literal translations of Latin, they are engaging in creative insults. The latter is somewhat entertaining, as is Erin's unusual power. As a "gem-singer" she is a re-vamped version of the classical siren: someone who uses her voice and singing to create a formidable force.

In spite of these entertaining moments, I doubt I will return for more. I prefer more solid characters and a story that ends with a satisfying resolution.

  --Mary Benn

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