2012; 394 pages. New Author? : Yes. Book #1 (out of 3, plus a short story) of the Vinlanders’ Saga Series. Genre : A bunch of them; see below. Overall Rating : 7½*/10.
While examining some fascinating old petroglyphs in the desert east of Tucson, Celia “Cele” Montrose suffers quite a fall. Oh, she’s unhurt, other than a few scrapes and scratches. But she has fallen through a portal into a parallel world.
The bad news is it’s still the desert, and if she doesn’t find water soon, Cele will die. The good news is there are some men close by, and they surely have water.
The weird news is they appear to be Vikings. What are Vikings doing in a desert?
What’s To Like...
Dangerous Talents is an ambitious blend of at least five genres, listed here in descending order of prominence : Action-Adventure (swords, bows and arrows); Romance (babe meets hunk); Fantasy (spells, artifacts, and the titular ‘Talents’); Historical Fiction (Vikings and Indians); and Alternate History (magic portal). There are some additional items in each genre, which are omitted because this is a spoiler-free blog.
The pacing was nice; I didn’t really hit any slow spots. There was enough action to satisfy the male readers, and enough Romance to satisfy the females. I liked the way the language barrier was handled; and if you enjoy Norse mythology (I do), then you’re in for a treat. I thought the concept of the “Talents” was quite innovative.
The main plotline was well-conceived, although not particularly "twisty". Just about anybody except Celia can spot the main baddie when he/she first appears. The ending comes in two stages – first the Adventure’s resolution (around 90%); then the Romance’s (98%). The latter closes neatly, but the former has a deus ex machina feel to it. That, however, is dependent on what direction Frankie Robertson takes this series.
There are some R-rated portions in the book. “Baldur’s Balls” is a common expletive here (albeit one I find colorful and droll); and things like morning wood and cockstands arise on a recurring basis. The sex is explicit. You probably don’t want Little Susie reading this.
Kewlest New Word...
Bota Bag (n.) : A traditional Spanish liquid receptacle, made of leather, and usually used to carry wine; a wineskin.
Others : Byrnie (n.); Grue (n.)
“Dawn will be a long time coning,” he said. “Sing to me.”
Sing? She’d never sung without music to guide her and drown her mistakes. Her experience consisted of singing along with the radio, and in church as a child. “I’m not very musical.”
“I’m not very critical.” (loc. 1233)
“The priests know many things, my lord, but they cling to Tradition like some women cling to husbands who beat and bloody them, afraid to free themselves. The priests are afraid to choose their own way, so they let Tradition do it for them. It keeps them ignorant and they call it virtue, and they try to keep others ignorant as well. It’s time to move forward.” (loc. 5714)
Dangerous Talents sells for $2.99 at Amazon. Book 2, Forbidden Talents, goes for $4.99; and Book 3, Debts, sells for $2.99. Frankie Robertson has several other novels available for $3.99; and two short stories for $0.99 apiece.
I have more important things to think about than Viking lust. Or lust for Vikings. (loc. 3196)
It is somewhat dicey to critique the Romance portions of Dangerous Talents, since that is not a genre I read. Let’s be clear, I knew this book was as much a Romance as an Action-Adventure when I downloaded it; the Amazon blurb makes this obvious. Nevertheless, for the male readers who picked this up for any or all of the other genres…
Celia does a lot of repetitive musing in the book. Does he love me, does he not? Do I love him, do I not? Should I go home, should I stay? We’re also treated to endless misunderstandings between our lovebirds. Why is he so untrusting? What is she mad about now?
You can call this filler if you want, and I won’t disagree. But it is also the standard fare of Romantic Lit. See for example, Jane Auel’s The Mammoth Hunters, where the reader has to endure 750 pages of this kind of endless dreck. Or any Lisa Jackson novel. They are two highly respected authors in this genre.
So ANAICT, the romance in Dangerous Talents is done pretty well, but I'm no expert. If you want to appeal to a higher authority, I can have my wife read it. Romance novels are her bread and butter.
7½ Stars. Dangerous Talents kept me interested in what would happen next the whole way through, and that’s all you can ask from a fiction novel. Add 1 star if you like Romance mixed in with other genres.