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Charmed Destinies: Counting Crows / Drusilla's Dream / Moonglow (Luna) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (1 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373218338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373218332
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,617,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Vittani on 22 Oct. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charmed indeed. I bought this book solely for the Mercedes Lackey story and loved it as I have all of her books. But the other two stories are also worth the buy. Catherine Asaro's story is brilliantly imaginative. The romance has many difficulties and the romance lovely, but read this as a full book. After this was published she wrote the Charmed Sphere which focuses on two other characters in the short story, (Muller and Chime). Iris and Jared's story is included in this. It is better this way. Miss Lackey's story is brilliant as always, but wasnt her best. And the third is good enough in places but not as brilliant. Still but it, the stories are original and entertaining and are perfect for a rainy day, when you want to stay in a bed with a good romance.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Only one of three is a keeper... 1 Feb. 2004
By M. Cookson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Of the three authors who contributed to this book, I have only encountered Mercedes Lackey's works before. This book is a sort of experiment where all three authors try their hands at the romantic fantasy genre.
Mercedes Lackey's "Counting Crows" is the first story in the book. In it, Gwynn is wedded to a man she has never seen before, in order to ensure the safety of her father's lands. She goes to her husband hoping that he will be a man she can learn to love and finds instead that he is a brutal man who rapes her and beats her. While Gwynn brings order to her new household and decides whether to use her magic against her husband, she falls in love with one of her husband's knights, Sir Atremus. The story was an okay fantasy story, but a miserable romantic fantasy story. Gwynn was the most fleshed out of the characters, but she was too perfect to be truly interesting. I found myself more interested in Robin. Gwynn's husband was Bad, with only the hint of a backstory, not enough to make him more than a cardboard Bad Guy. Atremus was useless, which actually wasn't too bad, since I kept forgetting he existed. Gwynn may have fallen in love with him, but I didn't know enough about him to feel anything for him. Gwynn and Atremus apparently had long conversations that led to deepening feelings for each other, but Lackey just glossed over most of them. Since I know that in Lackey is capable of creating great romantic plots, this story was really disappointing and not good enough to be a keeper no matter what genre it's labeled as.
Rachel Lee's "Drusilla's Dream" was the second story in the book. I enjoyed the characters, and this story could have been very good, but the way Lee chose to write it made it, in my opinion, the worst story in the book. Technically, most of the story takes place during Drusilla's night shift job, while she's typing data into her computer. As she types, she's on autopilot, daydreaming about a world where she is a princess on a quest to find the Key of Morgania. Details from her job work her way into her daydream, such as the janitor, who becomes a powerful wizard, and Miles, her supervisor at work and the Behemoth tamer in her dreams. Although reality and dreams get really mixed up, and there's evidence that Miles is aware of Drusilla's dreams, I had a hard time seeing her dreams as evidence that she and Miles were falling in love. Unlike Lackey's story, which didn't feel like a romance, this did, but, unfortunately, it was a badly written one. If the entire story had been set in Drusilla's world, without any hint that there was a real world, it would have been a good, but very odd, story. I don't mind odd, though.
Catherine Asaro's "Moonglow" was the best of the three. Jarid is the heir to the throne until his parents are killed in an ambush. The entire kingdom believes he is dead, but he in reality he is still alive, deaf, mute, and blind. Iris, who believes she has no real magic, finds him. It's decided that Iris must marry Jarid, and much of the story covers how Jarid and Iris get to know one another. My explanation sounds ver cheesy, but I'm trying not to reveal too much. It's an excellent fantasy and romance, and I'm looking forward to the first book in this series. Asaro writes better romantic short fiction than many romance authors. I may keep the book just for this story. It's fascinating reading how Iris and Jarid fall in love even though Jarid can barely communicate and can't see or hear anything around him.
Overall, it's a weak book, but, if you can get it cheap, I would recommend it just for the last story.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Three and a half star collection 30 Dec. 2003
By Barb Caffrey - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Charmed Destinies" is an interesting, but flawed, experiment. The three authors in question, Mercedes Lackey, Rachel Lee, and Catherine Asaro, do a workmanlike job exploring various aspects of the romantic fantasy genre.
The "lesser light" of the group, Rachel Lee, was the most interesting author. Her story, "Drusilla's Dream," was the best of the three by a wide margin. This was an unusual take on an urban fantasy, and I liked it very much. It was funny, interesting, and moving. There were a few very minor plotholes; for example, if Miles, her hero, had his eyes on Drusilla the whole time, the first time he sees her outside the shared daydream/computer storyline should be explained differently. Which is why this story doesn't get five stars; instead, it gets four. But a very strong four. And I'll be looking for more stuff from Ms. Lee.
I'm already a regular reader of Ms. Lackey, and I enjoyed her story, "Counting Crows." This was a period romance based in the medieval era of our Earth, and was nicely executed, even though in some respects, this was more a story about a brother and sister avoiding disaster than a romance; the romantic element was definitely secondary. But I liked Sir Atremus, and I enjoyed Gwynhwyfar's attraction to him. And the "spin," where it took a long time for the two of them to hook up, was an interesting one. Three and a half stars for this story.
I liked Ms. Asaro's premise for "Moonglow." This was an altogether new fantasy world, and the idea was very good. I liked the shape-magic. However, the execution of this story left a lot to be desired. The dialect used for Iris was not consistently applied, and I thought the story's ending a bit rushed. In addition, the fact that major mages could be out in the open where no one could pick up how powerful they are doesn't make any sense; the other, lesser mages should be able to pick up the power, even if it's never used.
That was a major plothole.
In addition, Ms. Asaro has some very unusual and offputting word choices. For example, she uses the word "coronate" in the following fashion: "We cannot coronate him tomorrow." Considering the rest is more or less in American idiomatic English, this threw me right out of the reader's trance.
So, despite the very strong and engaging plot premise, the story fell flat because the characters didn't engage me very much, and the execution of the writing was flawed. Two stars at best for this story, only because I liked the character of the foster father, Stone.
Overall: three and a half stars. Not bad at all, worth the money, and if the new Harlequin Luna line is much like this stuff, it should sell quite nicely.
Barb Caffrey
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Three Distinct Styles 12 Dec. 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really liked this book, despite the fact that I normally can't stand anthologies. All three stories were well fleshed-out, and I found the world-building enthralling.
Counting Crows: I actually bought the book for this story, since Lackey is the only author I knew. If you're reading it for the romance, it fails. On the other hand, the character development is wonderful (aside from the interaction in the "romance"), and the surroundings are vivid and compelling. Overall, I loved it.
Drusilla's Dream: This is the only one that I disliked. Most of that is probably personal. I found it a bit too silly, and cliched (which it made fun of itself for). I also found it choppy, and it was occasionally hard to tell whether the characters were in the "real" world or in Drusilla's fantasy.
Moonglow: I adored this story. Despite how short it was, I felt I really got to know the characters, even the secondary ones. The world building was very intricate, with great attention to detail. I found it occasionally frustrating when things were hinted-at, but never elaborated, but the world and the character's circumstances did a great job of backing up the romance. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Solid intro to new romantic fantasy line... 18 Nov. 2003
By bemused01 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been extremely excited for months about the new "Luna" series being put out by Harlequin Books starting in next year ( which will be up January 2004) . Female fronted fantasy crossed with romance! Yes!
The three short "romantic fantasy" novels offered here vary widely in tone and story and each has its own appeal:
"Counting Crows" by Mercedes Lackey... If you love other fantasy works by this author, you won't be disappointed here. As an avid romance reader, however, this story fell far short for me. The story and characters are wonderfully and beautifully developed but I can't call a story truly romantic when we get to read about the heroine being raped (and passive or not, it's still rape) and beaten throughout the story but we never get any truly romantic scenes between our heroine and the man she loves. The interplay between the heroine and her knight is sweet and gentle but honestly, his passivity left me wanting to wring his neck. There doesn't need to be an overt sexual element for a love story to work but the way their relationship was developed left me feeling that they were quite platonic. Still, despite that it failed for me as a romance, the story is a deftly and intricately created work of fantasy that delivers as a magical medieval tale.
"Drusilla's Dream" by Rachel Lee... A decidely humorous and quirky story of two characters who interact in real life and in their dreams. I'm unfamiliar with this author's other works so I don't know how comparable it is --but reading this definetly makes me want to check her out further. A light but very romantic and sweet read that will please romance lovers.
"Moonglow" by Catherine Asaro... As a favorite author of mine, I couldn't wait to read this story. This work of fantasy is a change of pace from the more sci-fi flavor of her other books and I didn't know what to expect. But I was very pleased with the story and found it my favorite of three. I only wish it had been longer! The world she creates is vivid and beautiful but she doesn't scrimp on character development or relationship building between our two protagonists. She has always had a certain romance crossover appeal in her sci-fi books and it was nice to see that she could bring romance to the forefront of the story without losing any of the depth in the world she created for them to blossom in. I felt as this story truly exemplified what i believe "romantic fantasy" should be and can't wait to read the full length novel she has written for the Luna line in February 2004.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Three good short stories 16 Feb. 2004
By Anza Carrillo - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Each of these three short stories were very good, and I had a hard time putting the book down! The first story in the book, "Counting Crows" by Mercedes Lackey, was the darkest of the three romances. Lady Gwynnhwyfar and her maid, Robin, travel to the borderlands to meet Gwynn's new husband - a man she has never met before in her life. Once Gwynn arrives, however, she discovers that Duke Bretagne is hardly the ideal husband - he is brutal, vicious, and disgusting. After cruelly raping her on their wedding night, Gwynn is determined to use her magical powers to better her situation. Meanwhile, her old childhood crush, Sir Atremus, lives in Clawcrag Keep as well, a knight who is now crippled thanks to Bretagne's blasé treatment of his knights. Lady Gwynn and Sir Atremus establish a quick friendship, but nothing can ever come of it - unless Gwynn's magical powers can truly change her life.
I loved "Counting Crows," even though it was a rather dark romance, not of the light and fluffy variety. Bretagne's treatment of Lady Gwynn is disgraceful, and more than once I almost set the book aside because I could no longer bear to see the heroine treated in such a way, while her love is in the same castle with her, knowing what she is going through, yet pretty much powerless to do anything about it. Whoever typed the descriptions on the back of the book did a horrible job - not only did they butcher Gwynnhwyfar's name (it was spelled Gwynhefar), but Sir Artemus is called "Sir Elloran." There is no Sir Elloran in the book, and I kept wondering when Sir Elloran was going to make his appearance, meanwhile wondering why Sir Artemus was getting closer to Gwynn when she was supposed to fall in love with Elloran! It took me a while to figure this out, because I'm slow like that :) An excellent story, though, and probably quite true to life - I am sure there were a great many loveless marriages in medieval times.
The next story is "Drusilla's Dream" by Rachel Lee. Every night Drusilla goes to the same boring job and secretly daydreams while she enters in boring data. This particular night, however, cute Miles Kennedy, her boss, keeps popping into her fantasy. Things aren't going the way Drusilla wants them to go in her fantasy, either - the hero in her story (Miles, of course!) never reacts quite in the way she would expect him to. What's really going on in Drusilla's dream? This story was a fun little story and definitely lightened the mood after reading the "Counting Crows" story. The characters were funny, realistic, and quite clever. This is a light, quirky romance, something that makes you feel good when you read it, but something you don't rememeber the details of once you've completed the story.
The final story is "Moonglow" by Catherine Asaro. I loved this story as well! Iris Larkspur feels out of place learning how to use the magic her teacher believes is deep inside of her, but Iris seems to be unable to harness. It doesn't help matters that Chime, her classmate, is just about perfect, from her golden hair to her feet. Iris, in an amazing moment, however, discovers her power - and also discovers that the prince of her land, long thought dead, is actually alive. Once Prince Jarid is found, he must return to assume power of the kingdom, but he is blind, deaf, and mute. And since Iris is now the most powerful mage in the land, she must marry the Prince - and at the same time, try to heal his broken spirit.
I really liked Iris and Jarid - both of them were outsiders, and yet there was such a bond between them, almost instantly. "Moonglow" was an interesting story, and I'm really looking forward to the next book by Catherine Asaro. Altogether, I liked all three of the stories, just in a different way. Each story appealed to me on a different level, and it's rare to find that in a book. I'll definitely be reading this book again!
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