Monday 26 December 2016

Book Reviews: The Trickster's Lover & Honey Moon by Samantha MacLeod

Title: The Trickster's Lover
Author: Samantha MacLeod
Publisher: Vestal Valley Press
Publication Date: Sep 2016
Pages: 253
EBook - PDF
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology
Source: Review Copy from Author

Graduate student Caroline Capello has always been more comfortable with books than people. She’s just moved to the University of Chicago to become the world’s foremost authority on Norse mythology, making her the only member of her family to leave San Diego, and the family business.

But she’s wondering if she’s just made the biggest mistake of her life.

When Loki, the enigmatic and irresistibly sexy Norse trickster god, appears in her studio apartment, Caroline is forced to question everything she’s learned.

Do the gods exist? Are the legends about Ragnarök, the apocalyptic battle that destroys the gods and ends the Nine Realms, actually true?

Or is she losing her mind?
(Goodreads Synopsis)

There is a lot to like about The Trickster's Lover. I enjoyed MacLeod's portrayal of Loki, and there were some interesting and original ideas in the plot. Not to mention the very readable prose with its excellent grammar. There is a lot of sex in this story, which is fine, but it makes it one for the adults. That element of the story also took up a big chunk of the first half of the book before the main plot about Ragnarök truly got underway, when I engaged with the tale and characters to a greater extent.

For me, only one thing marred this story, and meant the difference between a three-star and a four-star rating, and that was an aspect of the plot that was simply too unbelievable for me to get past. Caroline speaks/reads only a smattering of basic Icelandic, and yet MacLeod wants us to accept that she can translate an old Icelandic book in next to no time, and to a good enough level not just for comprehension but for publication. Not only that, but she does so via French, another language that Caroline doesn't speak. Not sure why she couldn't get an Icelandic-English dictionary (they do exist), but in any case, a dictionary alone is not going to cut it when you aren't fluent in the language and cognizant of all its grammar and syntax etc., and considering this book would have been written in an older form of Icelandic than spoken today. I say this as someone who has studied a number of languages and holds a qualification in translation - it's not going to happen. Therefore, that plot point grated on me every time it came up in the story. However, I acknowledge that others may not be as fussed about this issue as I am.

So, overall I rate this book at 3 stars, thanks to its enjoyable portrayals of the main characters, interesting premise, and well-written prose. If not for my one gripe about the translation issue, it would have been higher, and MacLeod is certainly a writer whose works I would return to in the future.


Title: Honey Moon
Author: Samantha MacLeod
Publisher: Vestal Valley Press
Publication Date: Nov 2016
Pages: 35
Format: EBook - PDF
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology
Source: Review Copy from Author

Mythology expert Caroline Capello agreed to marry Loki, the Norse god of fire and lies. She didn’t realize the most dangerous part of their marriage might be the honeymoon. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Honey Moon is a pleasant continuation of the story told in The Trickster's Lover. I liked it as a quick read to add a new pre-nuptial adventure for Caroline and Loki. You do need to have read the original novel to appreciate this story, but fans of the first book will doubtless welcome this extra tale as a coda to the main storyline.

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