2 out of 4 stars
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I think it’s a safe assumption that many women fantasize about being swept off their feet. Knocked around, sniffed, and “marked” though? Now that’s a horse of a different color. Karen Glista’s world of the supernatural reveals a new chapter in the ways of courtship, romance, and, dare I say, love in her teenage fantasy Chasing the Red Queen.
Readers are presented with an unfortunately common “tormented teenage girl gets tangled with otherworldly older man” scenario. Eighteen-year-old Donja is uncertain and rebellious after a forced family move. Using goth dress and glam, she hides herself from the world until her new step-sister surprisingly pulls her out of her funk and into the joys of being young, beautiful, and carefree.
When a dangerous looking man relentlessly pursues her after a nightclub brawl, Donja finds herself thrust into a world of creatures she never knew existed: Iridescents. A tumultuous maelstrom of past and present suddenly reveals family secrets intertwined with an alternate local history that she never dreamed of being true. As tends to happen in stories with a supernatural love interest, Donja is soon fleeing and fighting for her life and the lives of those she loves most.
What saves the would-be cringeworthy plot are Glista’s interesting characters and surprising inclusions setting it apart. A well-read fantasy buff, I am quite versed in the different types of “supernatural boyfriend” stories. I was pleasantly surprised by the new traits woven into the Iridescent characters. I liked their system of sexual betokening and the ritual behind declaring consorts. There were several places where detailed imagery made me smile and imagine her scenes with great detail.
Unfortunately for the author, her scene is set in Michigan, and she happened to draw a Michigander in this reviewer. I was sad to find inconsistencies with local spellings and references. These would have surely gone by the wayside for any reader not from the state but for me the smallest errors were like nails on a chalkboard. I was also disappointed by unimaginative word and sentence repetition throughout. There were times when I applauded her for an exciting phrase only to groan to see it used again a page later.
To Glista’s credit, I did waffle back and forth when choosing a star rating for this book. It was not a terrible read; indiscriminate and amateur fantasy readers will surely enjoy it. Considering however that is was woefully in need of an editor, (which calls for the removal of one star right from the start) I have chosen to rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. Chasing the Red Queen had a lot of fun scenes and characters that I enjoyed reading. With a more refined hand, some attention to detail, and a well-paid editor, Glista has the potential to take my breath away (pun intended).
Chasing The Red Queen
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