Monday, October 22, 2007

"Burning Water" by Mercedes Lackey

"Dallas Police Detective Mark Valdez isn't just any cop - he's a psychic who knows that the cattle mutilations and torture murders he's been investigating are somehow tied together. He also knows that his meager psychic abilities aren't enough to identify the killers, much less stop them.

Luckily, Mark has an ace up his sleeve: an attractive young romance novelist who happens to be a practicing witch. And not just any witch, either - Diana Tregarde is a Guardian, charged with protecting the Earth and all its creatures.

Using modern science and ancient magics, Diana and Mark discover that they are tailing no ordinary serial killer but the awakened avatar of an Aztec god. Tezcatlipoca and his four beautiful handmaidens are preparing for a great sacrifice that will transform North America into a new Aztec realm.

Diana isn't sure her powers are strong enough to take on those of a risen Aztec god, but she has no choice. As a Guardian, she is sworn to protect mankind, even at the cost of her own life. Luckily, she does not stand alone. Mark Valdez is more than just a cop. And Tezcatlipoca is not the only Aztec god walking in the world."

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well, as it turns out, this is a case where the "trailer" is better than the movie. The book isn't bad overall, but I wasn't as happy with it as I was hoping to be. Part of it may be that the work is somewhat dated, having first been published in 1989. I think a bigger part of it was the writing itself. While Lackey did a fairly good job on the plot, the writing of said plot left a lot to be desired. I felt at times as if I were reading a debut novel (which this might have been - I'm going to check into that later). There's a HUGE overuse of italics, so much so that it became distracting. I was reminded of the time I read "Phantom of the Opera"; I was laughing at times at how many exclamation points were used in just one paragraph!

Diana is a fairly likeable heroine, one I wouldn't mind reading more about. I was very glad to see that she was not "tough as nails" as one finds in so many books of this kind. I'm not entirely sure, but her development might have come off more pleasantly due to the fact that it's not told from her point of view, nor is she really the "main character" in this book; I would argue that Mark is the star. Since the two are working together from the get-go, it makes both of them more palatable as the fighters of evil. Neither one comes off looking like a superhero, something else that, at times, tends to ruin a book for me.

I would have liked to learn more about Diana's position as a Guardian, something that is alluded to in the blurb from the back of the book, but not really discussed in the meat of this book. There are two other titles in the Diana Tregarde trilogy, so perhaps Guardians are discussed more in-depth there. And yes, I'll be tracking down the books, but not so much for myself. My hubby really enjoyed this one, so I've been given the mission to find the other two for him to read!

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