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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Highland Muse

Highland Muse by Sky Purington
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy; Paranormal
Length: Short story
Heat: Hot
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Dandelion

Melpomene, muse of Tragedy, has loved before, but not like this. Not so thoroughly it blinds her, tears her from her path and her obligation to mankind. A warrior of Scotland, one she watched grow from a boy to a man, claims her heart with his self-sacrifice and courage. She'll not let him perish, die defending another.
Stepping in, defying fate and her father, Zeus, Melpomene risks all.

Rowan Stewart, of the royal house, is immersed within a whirlwind of disbelief, struggling to understand the woman responsible for his odd outcome, his misplaced life. But promises were made, destiny yet sealed, and Ares, God of War, seeks him.

Caught within a vortex of Scottish politics, Greek Gods, and newfound desire, Rowan and Melpomene are doomed to separate, wallow in eternal despair. Will love surpass? Give them each other? Or will tragedy reign without its muse and rip them apart forever?

Ms. Purington tackles the world of Greek mythology in this novella, part of the Song of the Muses series. In Highland Muse, gods mingle with mortals, crossing paths on the battlefield, over wine and women, and even in the bedroom. I very much enjoyed the inclusion of the Greek gods and their stories, especially Ares, Dionysus, and even Cerberus, the hound of Hades.

In this novella, Melpomene, a muse, sacrifices her immortality because she falls in love with the Scot she is meant to protect and inspire, Rowan. The resulting story chronicles the conflicts these two characters face, for although Melpomene is certain that Rowan is the man for her, he has promised his soul to Ares in return for protecting Mary, his Queen. The subplots and historical details do get a little muddled in this story, and there was a lot of jumping from scene to scene without clear transition. I found myself confused about where the characters were, and who was talking and thinking (quite a few point of view shifts), on more than one occasion.

The love story between the muse and her mortal is well developed, however, and as Melpomene becomes mortal, her character transition is quite touching. The love-making scenes between hero and heroine are hot but not over the top. I enjoyed the secondary characters as well, especially Dionysus and his harem of women, always popping into the scenes with wine and brotherly advice at awkward times!

This story does take full advantage of the deus ex machina convention; that is, the omnipotent god Zeus saves the day at the darkest moment. As such, the wrap-up is a little convenient; however, since it’s in keeping with Greek tradition, I didn’t really mind too much.

Despite the occasional awkward scene shifting, Highland Muse is a charming tale that does a nice job winding together the lives of Greek gods with the mortals they watch and protect. I believed in the love story between Melpomene and Rowan and was glad to see them find their happy ever after!