Friday, May 17, 2013

The Pharaoh and the Curator by Sophia Jones

Unlucky in love museum curator Michelle Beaumont finds herself in Egypt where she contributes to god Amon Ra's resurrection. His burning heat soon has her throwing caution to the desert winds, but a lurking danger threatens both of their souls.

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Given the subject matter, and all of the glowing reviews on this one, I really wanted to like it. I went into it expecting and hoping to read one of those short story gems that makes you marvel at how much the author accomplished in very few pages. Unfortunately, I was kind of disappointed with what I found, for everything moved so fast in the story that I never really got to know any of the characters or get any real sense of why I should care about them.

Ra especially is mostly a stick figure here in my opinion, for we don't get much sense of what he's like as a person, what his personality is like, other than that he's totally enamored with the heroine. Michelle is supposed to be a scholar, and we're given to understand that she's apparently quite intelligent, but despite that she barely even questions what's going on and just more or less accepts what she's told when some guy shows up out of nowhere claiming to be the god Ra and her mate. There's some lip service paid to her being skeptical and thinking he's a nutcase, but still, she saves him, more than once, and then is doing the nasty with him at the first good opportunity. The antagonist was especially weak I thought, for he establishes his complete hostility toward the couple with a hatred that's gone on for centuries, and a long explanation of why he hates them so much is given, but then within the space of a paragraph or two all is made well and everyone gets an HEA.

Despite how negative this review sounds, however, I did like this story, just not as much as I'd hoped to. I thought it was a good concept but it fell victim to the short length. The author could have easily expanded upon this a great deal, given us more time to get to know the characters and to come to care about what happens to them. That was the main thing that I felt was missing here was the characterization. If that had been given more space in which to develop, I think some of what happens at the end would have more impact, though I also think the main confrontation scene could have been drawn out more to heighten the tension and to make us appreciate the HEAs more when they come.

This was a good effort, and the writing is good, I just wish the author had given her story more time to develop and play out. I think the sex scenes could have been added to and spiced up more as well, for the heat level in the story doesn't really live up to the super-sexy cover image. I'll give this one three stars, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent quick romantic read, so long as you're not looking for a great deal of depth.

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