The Invasion of Falgannon Isle
Typically, this is the time of year when I like to squeeze in some last minute 2006 reading before I vote in AAR’s annual poll. It’s a good time to catch up on potential favorites that I missed during the previous year. Sad to say, The Invasion of Falgannon Isle actually unseated the book I had chosen for worst – a Shana Galen book I had considered a shoo-in. While I didn’t truly expect this book to be a favorite, I definitely wasn’t expecting something this bad. The premise is fanciful and a bit far-fetched: the island is under a curse, and unless the Lady of the Isle marries an Irishman with green eyes whom she truly loves, all the babies born on the isle will be male, and most of the marriages will fail. It’s a little silly, but in a well-written book, a little silliness can be fun. This is neither fun nor well-written. Glaring problems with this book included (but were not limited to) the following:
1. The heroine’s name is B.A., short for Barbara Anne, not, as one might think, bachelor’s degree. Would parents name one child Barbara Anne, then name the rest of their girls fanciful-sounding names like Asha and Raven? I doubt it, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
2. Throughout the book, people refer to the hero, Desmond Mershan, as a Viking. Why exactly do they do this, when he is from Ireland? Hell if I know; I thought Viking rule over Ireland ended with Brian Boru.
3. B.A. is actually three heroines for the price of one. You get the actual B.A., as well as her constant companions, Devil B.A. and Angel B.A. These two like to barge in and have their own little dialogue. Constantly. Typically they would both appear when B.A. thought how hot Desmond was so they could argue back and forth about whether she ought to rip her clothes off and hop in bed with him, but they’d pop up at other times as well. The multiple personalities got old, fast.
4. The author must surely moonlight as a DJ. I generally enjoy pop culture references, but I don’t need an update on virtually every page telling me what is on the radio or the jukebox, especially when it is I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight by the Cutting Crew – twice in the same book. If you are different, please e-mail me so I can tell you all sixteen songs I heard in the car this morning while I ran errands.
5. Mechanically, the writing is poor. So poor, that I wondered whether an editor had even looked at it. Both the author and editor need to acquaint themselves with the concept of the dangling participle, because the book is full of them. As I read the book, I kept mentally rearranging sentences so they would sound better, which got pretty exhausting. Happily, this became less of a problem when I gave up in despair and started skimming.
6. The hero is a complete jerk. That wasn’t the word I used for him while I was reading the book, which was basically unprintable. Think of the worst, most unflattering, vulgar epithet you can come up with. That’s what Desmond is. He comes to the island with the intention of f_cking the heroine and screwing her over financially, because her grandfather swindled his dad. You would think that he would abandon this quest once he realized that the heroine – despite her multiple personalities – was a really nice person. Or once he realized he was in love with her. Or before the final ten pages of the book. You would be wrong on all counts.
7. If you like your heroes to be jerks and worse, then you are in luck. While Desmond is trying to screw B.A. over in every sense of the word, his two brothers are giving B.A.’s sisters the same treatment. One can only presume that this is the beginning of a trilogy. Whoopee.
I’m usually pretty disciplined when I’m reading a book for review, even if the book isn’t the greatest. I’m not really the type to read two books at once. But when the new J.D. Robb book came, I dropped this book like a rock. Innocent in Death was so good that I read it and re-read three more Robbs before I could stop myself. I managed to skim my way through the rest of Falgannon only by promising myself that I could re-read Rapture in Death as a reward. While the reward was indeed sweet, I would strongly advise skipping this book in the first place unless you need a worthy candidate for worst book of the year.