The Cat's Fancy

Nobody Does it Better

Reckless

 
Aphroditeís Kiss by Julie Kenner
(Love Spell, $5.99, PG ISBN 0-505-524438-4
***
The inside of the book cover reads: KA-BLAM! BOP! POW! KABLOOEY! ZIP! ZOWIE! Aphroditeís Kiss doesnít deliver on all those promises, but it is the closest thing to a romance comic book Iíve ever read. ZoŽ Smith is a librarian by day and a ďhalflingĒ outside of the library. Half-mortal, half-superhero (like Greek gods and goddesses superhero), she doesnít fit comfortably in either category. But she is going to be twenty five soon and able, after filling out reams of paper and a few suitable feats of derring do, to become a full-fledged Protector - not a mortal or a halfling but someone who is able to protect mortals.

George Taylor, new private investigator and former cop, drifts into her orbit. Theyíre immediately attracted but ZoŽ knows that, what with her powers acting up now that she is getting to magic age where she gets to make a choice, this would be a very bad time to try any kind of intimacy. George is just looking to make his new business fly. He wants a normal life with a normal girl - and a librarian looks about as normal as they come - but he knows ZoŽ thinks heís scum for investigating her co-worker.

I enjoyed this book, although often the plot and characters seemed as out of control as Zoeís powers. ZoŽ is always working to save the day, although she is never sure if she can or how she is going to do it. ZoŽ bounces off thirty story buildings, blows out light bulbs in the height of - umm-sexual ecstasy and has to have a showdown with her evil cousin - the one who is out to overthrow the bureaucratic process the Protectors have embraced in their work of saving mortals. After all, why save mortals anyhow? Why not crush them?

One big difficulty is George. George is a great guy with Protector instincts all his own, but itís hard for a mortal guy to match up against a superheroine, even one who doesnít have all her powers under control. While George recognizes this as a problem, the author doesnít give him much to work with. ZoŽ saves the day, George is her loyal sidekick. Somehow just having a good body and being able to make a heroine sizzle - literally - in the sack isnít enough. I donít enjoy that in heroine and I donít in a hero. George is macho, but in the story heís made to look a bit weak. Thatís a dangerous thing to do in a romance.

In addition, sometimes the humor isnít as funny as it was meant to be. Sometimes you wonder what in Hades is going on. There are all kinds of little fun asides that donít really do anything but are just amusing to think about - Zoeís brother, for example, has a job as a romance cover model. That doesnít lead to anything but a chuckle.

So why do I like this novel? Well, itís different. Very different. And the energy and the ideas are fun and keep going strong through the story. If you donít like one plot twist thereís always another one coming up soon.

Stay tuned for the sequel. Same Bat time, same bat channel. Or something like that.

--Irene Williams


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