Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Prince Alix has been sent to the kingdom of Tryfyn to collect a princess for a bride-finding contest being held by his brother, Emperor Jahn of Columbyana (he's the one looking for a bride). While Alix is at Tryfyn, the king gives Emperor Jahn an exotic gift: a woman from a distant land who can read people's souls. She's also a sex slave and covered in blue paint, kind of like Ancksunamun from The Mummy. Or a smurf! If anyone besides the man who owns her touches her, he or she will be marked with the blue paint and immediately killed by her guards.

Prince Alix is attracted to the blue lady (whose name is Sanura), but he doesn't dare do anything about it because he's the straight arrow sort. Unbeknownst to anyone but himself, his brother, and Sanura, however, Alix has a dark side. Literally, there is another person inside of Alix who calls himself Trystan. Whereas Alix is very logical, calm, and always does the right thing, Trystan is his "id" personality, taking and doing whatever he wants. And like Alix, he wants Sanura.

This book was an enjoyable, quick read, although I did have several problems with it. I love the character of Alix; but strangely, his evil alter-ego, Trystan, was really boring. Like totally vanilla. Once Trystan takes over (you knew he was going to), the book starts to drag considerably. There are also several subplots going on that are totally pointless. I do not need to know about the bad guy's love affair with the unattractive psycho maid, nor about the princess who plans to use her wiles on the Emperor but never even meets him.

Essentially, even though the book is less than 300 pages, it could/should have been a lot shorter. Nowhere is this more obvious than during the last 50 pages, which really, really, reeeeaaalllly drag. Once Trystan/Alix and Sanura make it back to the Emperor's palace, I wanted a big, quick finish to wrap things up. What I got was no confrontation between Alix and his brother and an overly simplistic, throw-away conclusion to the other loose ends of the plot.

For the most part, though, this book was a good read. Even though Trystan and Sanura have no chemistry whatsoever, Alix and Sanura do. There were also some great plot twists along their journey to the palace that made the story move along really quickly. I just wish the author was a little more creative in her handling of Alix's alter ego and the conclusion of the book.

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