The Promise of Kierna'Rhoan
Unlimited (Ebook), ISBN 1-892520-22-2
Nevertheless, I wanted to learn what would happen to the immediately multi-dimensional minor characters. Much to my relief, the problematic writing style smoothed out after the first few pages. I can only imagine that the beginning of the book gave Kelly more difficulty than she anticipated, and she lacked the opportunity to polish her last version or run it by her critique group. I wish she had taken the effort to do whatever was needed to bring her beginning into line with her otherwise engrossing story, regardless of deadlines or other pressures.
Heroine Kira Farseaker leads a small band of rebels -- or terrorists, depending on one's point of view -- on the planet Navara. Her evil ex-husband, the dictatorial Ennoren, campaigns to wipe out the telepathic, gentle, and clever ShapeShifters, who can mimic just about everything short of an intergallactic transport. In the midst of an attempt to save some of the more evolved Shifters, Kira encounters David Cario, one of Ennoren's guards and the designated hunk (this is a romance, after all).
Designated hunk or not, David's motives confuse Kira -- and the reader. As Kira continues playing cat and mouse games with Ennoren, David seems at various times a traitor, an ally, an intelligent bed partner or a guy with a major cigarette addiction. Maybe if Kelly writes a sequel, he can get a Shifter to play nicotine patch for him!
Seriously, though, Kira feels responsible for so many lives, yet as leader she can't show the resulting strain. David provides the affection she needs to go on, although he never stops at a mere hug.
As the possibility of evacuating her rebel band to safety becomes increasingly real, Kira struggles to stay one step ahead of Ennoren, who knows her thinking all too well from their long marriage. It would have been a nice touch to make him a more sympathetic or ambivalent villain, someone who might have been bad but poignantly so. Then again, that might have watered down the tension from knowing that David could be a spy ready to destroy Kira's efforts and doom the Shifters.
Exciting and fast-paced, The Promise of Kierna'Rhoan makes an easy one-sitting read. Fortunately for those who might want to do so, Promise is relatively short. I hope Kelly considers a sequel -- along with an emergency back-up editor.
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