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02/08/2003 Entry: "Danielle's recent reads -- Tarr, Shinn"

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DEVIL'S BARGAIN was vintage Tarr in the writing style and in the romance subplot -- star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of the Crusades. It's an alternate history in which Eleanor of Aquitaine is an evil sorceress and the heroine is Richard Lionheart's bastard half-sister.

I love most of Tarr's earlier books, but I've found her later stuff rather monotonous. A month or two after reading this book, I don't remember details about any of the characters except the ones that annoyed me. It's probably a sign that I've read too much fanfiction, but I felt the heroine verged on MarySuedom. (Violet eyes, for Pete's sake!)

Considering the forces keeping the h&h apart, the romance should have had more emotional impact, but I never really felt any tension about the outcome.

My final verdict would be a very mild recommend. It's a quick read; pick it up if you love the time period or Tarr, otherwise I wouldn't bother.

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I also just finished SUMMERS AT CASTLE AUBURN by Sharon Shinn.

While I liked the heroine a lot, the generic setting wasn't very convincing. (Quotes from THE TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND kept popping into my head while reading.) And frankly, I disagreed with the romantic pairings - I could see who was going to end up with who, and why, I just didn't agree.

It was a nice, sweet read, and everything is resolved happily, if a little unrealistically. Another mild recommend - it would be a good choice for an undemanding comfort read.--Danielle

[more on Tarr's THE DEVIL'S BARGAIN...]
[more on Shinn's SUMMERS AT CASTLE AUBURN...]

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