The Warrior, a sequel to The Trickster, which was quite favorable reviewed here at AAR, suffers from a bad case of sequel-itis. But instead of the usual symptom, bloated sections of boring back story, this one assumes the reader has read the prequel and will read the forthcoming sequel and leaves out too much information. New readers like myself are left in the dark too often for my liking.
Long ago and far away Zeus and Hera were Greek gods who had great power and a very tumultuous relationship. Because of past misdeeds they (and a few other naughty gods) have been forced to reside on earth. Their once-terrifying powers have been usurped by technology, and mere mortals no longer look up to them. Hera wants to go home and begrudgingly pairs up with Zeus to atone for past sins by agreeing to find true love for the descendants of those they did wrong.
Vegetarian restaurant owner Callie Gabriel, descendent of the nymph Callisto, and FBI Agent Armond Marceaux, descendent of Ares, the god of war, are their current victims. Because of Zeus’s past transgressions, Callie’s descendants (all female) are fiercely independent and believe marrying a man will bring them bad luck. Armond, like Ares, has a consuming need for justice and puts everything, including love, on the back-burner. Any relationship between these two seems doomed to fail.
Interestingly enough, Callie and Armond have an established relationship before the book begins. It ended when he left her to accept his dream job with the FBI. When the book opens they have been apart for eight months and he has returned to New Orleans to wrap up a case. They meet, make descriptive love in the first few pages of the story (I wanted to scream Stop! Put your clothes back on! You may know each other but I barely know your names!), have an argument, and split up again. He leaves. Two months later Callie discovers she’s pregnant and searches him out to tell him the news. Surprisingly, she finds him hiding out in his cabin in New Orleans. Armond claims he is vacationing. He really has amnesia – don’t ask – but doesn’t let her in on this little secret (more about that later).
Armond quickly deduces that Callie must have been important to him and decides she is the key to discovering more about his lost memories. Since she’s been receiving disturbing notes, he sees it as perfect opportunity to keep her safe and learn more about himself. He accompanies her while she films a series of cooking videos. During their time together they fall in love all over again although they both know a long-term relationship is not in their future. Meanwhile, the gods follow them around making sure all is going well (and sharing some cute dialogue) and a suspense plot gets underway.
When a book grips me I find it easy to suspend disbelief and overlook pesky little flaws. That did not happen here. I was consistently pulled out of the story by a number of maddening little things. Past events and characters are often alluded to that left me shaking my head in frustration, annoyance and confusion. And the author seems to assume that all readers have previously read The Trickster. If you haven’t, or if you have a poor memory, you just have to wing it. But the biggest stumbling block was the hero’s stubborn refusal to tell the heroine – or anyone, for that matter – that he was suffering from amnesia. Instead he keeps it from her for a hard-headed and (in my eyes) ridiculously flimsy Alpha-man reason. He fishes around for information about himself when he could have simply asked Callie for help. This really gnawed at me all the while I was reading. Had this book been a bit more gripping I might have shrugged these things off – but it wasn’t and I didn’t.
Callie was certainly a likable character, and even though Armond was frustrating he was likable enough as well, but their love story was not an emotionally gripping one, and the plots surrounding it were only mildly entertaining, especially the suspense subplot. Though the bits of fantasy and the dialogue between the gods add a dose of fun to the story, The Warrior just didn’t have what it takes to grab my attention and keep it.