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Can Love Conquer Doubt?
on 9 February 2010
This is a romance with a definite dark side. It's major character, Sabin, is host to the demon Doubt, who was released when Sabin and his compatriots opened Pandora's box. And Doubt has caused Sabin no end of problems, most especially to his love life, as any woman he pairs up soon wilts under the never-ending doubts that Doubt injects into her thought train. Obviously the solution to this is to find a woman who can withstand this pressure, but the solution offered here may seem paradoxical, being embodied in the person of Gwen, a timid (?) Harpy.
As a romance, the attraction between these two follows pretty standard lines. Their initial meeting and tentative attempts of feeling each other out is well done, but the final resolution of their attraction is quite predictable. Gwen is an interesting character, certainly not what you might expect in a Harpy, and may be the strongest portion of this work.
What is not standard is the basic world these two inhabit, as even though it's nominally our Earth, as it supposes that the Greek gods are real and still hanging around, which sets the stage for the major plot line composed of the Lords of the Underworld (humans infected with the various demons from Pandora's box) in continuous battle with the Hunters, led by Galen. As part of their battle, rape, torture, kidnapping, indiscriminate killing, and general mayhem are an everyday thing; some of the descriptions of these activities are fairly graphic, and the questions of morality that such battle techniques engender are perhaps somewhat glossed over, though they do occupy much of Sabin's thought train. The supporting characters and their demons are only mildly interesting, perhaps because we are given only small looks at these people. Their shown abilities also mean that the reader must accept these things as a given; logic and science have no place in this version of the world, even though some modern warfare gadgets see heavy use.
Some of the sex scenes are fairly explicit, although not grossly so. Those who prefer such activities to be shrouded in veil of delicacy might wish to avoid this book, while those who relish all the details should be quite satisfied. However, in places there were statements about certain anatomical functions that are well beyond normal human capabilities, which strained my belief in the story, even as a fantasy.
A reasonable read, a good, dark environment, but stretches the boundaries of believability while remaining a tad too predictable.
---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)