Monday, September 5

Dangerous Highlander by Donna Grant

Book 1 in the Dark Sword series

The McLeod brothers captured my heart with their desperate, sad situation. My heart broke for Quinn and Fallon especially (the brothers of our hero, Lucan) seeing as they had such a hard time adjusting. But they all lost their family, their lives, their sense of self and their happiness. Unfortunately, empathy was one of the few emotions this book made me feel. I couldn’t feel the love blossoming between Cara and Lucan, nor could I understand some of the feelings of our protagonists. There was some silliness in this book that I just didn’t appreciate, as well.

Cara meets the McLeod brothers when, as she gathers mushrooms nearby, she starts to fall off a cliff. Lucan saves her from death and brings her to the castle, where the brothers argue about what to do with her, then end up protecting her from an attack. The book revolves around Cara learning about and understanding the gods inside each of the McLeod brothers, and helping them. She also learns about her own magical powers (she’s found to be a druid) and Lucan teaches her how to defend herself in case of another attack. While I felt the suspense, the attacks were too long and drawn out, clearly to give Cara time to learn to fight. I would have thought that Diedre (our villian) would’ve been smarter in her attack strategy, if she was as all-powerful as we were told. It made the plot slow, and a bit boring, on top of being unrealistic.

There was a lot of silliness in this book that I didn’t understand. For instance, the McLeod brothers have been in hiding, from everyone, in their castle for the last three centuries. Apparently, neither Deirdre nor the other Warriors thought to look for them in the castle. That would be the first logical place to look! Of course they returned home! They’re highlanders! And if you had 300 years to look for them, wouldn't you circle back to the castle on occasion just to see? Also, Cara discovers she has powers when she accidentally almost kills a plant (when she was angry and touching one). She then gets all freaked out about her powers. Why? It’s a plant! If I discovered I had powers that could potentially save me from being taken captive by an evil drough I would be hoping about trying to learn everything I could and explore. Her reasoning and fears, in that regard, didn’t make much sense. One of the things I hate the most in books is when things don’t make sense. It simply ruins the world-building and character-building. I mean, come on. Who WOULDN’T look at the castle? Seriously?

Finally, the characters were not consistent, nor well developed. With the exception of Quinn, I didn’t form a real bond with any of the characters and couldn’t see any real depth. There were also several inconsistencies in regards to Cara. At one point she pulls the typical heroine move - the ‘I must run away because my presence puts the hero in danger’. Then later in the book, with no significant thought-process to indicate why there would be this sudden change in though, Grant writes something like this: ‘he was just trying to protect her - the least she could do is cooperate.’ from Cara’s view. Huh. Where, Ms. Grant, did this new attitude come from? There were also occasional grammatical errors - talking in third person for a sentence, using the name of the person when speaking when they’re standing right next to you (not to gain their attention or anything), etc. It was enough to make me take note, but not so bad as to make me rant about it. Still, the silliness and stupidity, the inconsistency and lack of depth, and the inability to make me feel much beyond empathy leaves this book solidly at a C.

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot

Overall Rating: C

Bottom Line: The book was good, but I was feeling the lust more than the love. I had a hard time feeling the characters connect with one another. I felt plenty of empathy for both Cara and the McLeods, and felt fairly connected to them. The plot was interesting, but too slow and occasionally unrealistic. An average read.

Pages: 339
Published: December 29, 2009
Genre: Historical
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