Powerful Magic

Soul Magic

Lone Star Magic
by Karen Whiddon
(Lovespell, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-505-52641-7
Widowed Carly Roberts is living alone on the ranch left to her by her dead husband. She can’t keep up with the work alone, and the ranch is slowly falling to pieces around her. She has only one unmanageable horse with which to start a breeding herd, a little money, and no help from her neighbors who wish her to sell. And although she doesn’t realize it yet, her life is in danger. Lone Star Magic by Karen Whiddon is the story of Carly’s escape from an evil mage with plans for Carly’s death, and the Fae who arrives to rescue her, Alrick of Rune.

Alrick of Rune needs a grand quest to fulfill, so that his father the king will choose him as successor, instead of Alrick’s twin brother. When a mage from the future arrives in Alrick’s kingdom to advise that the fate of the fae and human worlds rests in the hands of one human woman, and that that woman’s life is in danger, Alrick immediately volunteers to cross the veil between worlds to rescue her.

Immediately upon transporting into Carly’s yard, Alrick has to intercept a magical fireball aimed at the oblivious Carly’s back. He’s injured and badly burned by the incident, and ends up lying unconscious at Carly’s feet. Not knowing where he came from, or what he was doing in her yard, the suspicious Carly locks herself in the house and calls the authorities.

Their adventure begins soon after, and Carly learns that an evil mage from the future wants her dead, because it is her son that will grow up to save both the fae and human worlds from that mage.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? To give the author credit, the heroine in the book does acknowledge how much her situation resembles that of the heroine in the movie, The Terminator. Too bad this book is nowhere near as good as the movie.

The editing is bad. At one point Alrick and Carly are riding horses together, his mount being one she’d never seen before, and on the next page, during this same ride, Alrick is riding Carly’s dead husband’s horse. People and animals pop willy-nilly back and forth across the veil between worlds that earlier in the book had become thick and difficult to cross.

Alrick’s dialogue, both internal and spoken, is annoying. Part of the time he speaks some sort of old-fashioned English, the language of Fae, and the rest of the time he says things like “Hey, I was just kidding.”

The plot has a huge hole in it. The mage has to kill Carly, to keep her son from being born, so that her son won’t save the world from the evil mage from the future. But the son is to save the world from a situation entirely of the mage’s own making- so instead of going back in time to kill Carly, why doesn’t the mage go back in time and just correct his own stupid mistake?

The characters aren’t likable, the situation is rather preposterous, and the denouement, when it finally occurs, is a complete letdown. Lone Star Magic isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but the $6.99 it costs would have been better spent on renting The Terminator.

--Wendy Livingston

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