Saturday, July 28, 2007

Book Review: Dancer's Delight by Anny Cook

Dancer’s Delight
Anny Cook
Cerridwen Press
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Dancer’s Delight is the story of a man whose life in an interesting contradiction. The face he shows to the world is that of Devereaux, a virtuoso violinist. But the reality is beneath the tux and carefully controlled persona is Dancer, who like his brother the Traveller, is an assassin, one who just found out the very people he worked for may have destroyed his family. As if that weren’t enough, Dancer has a mysterious woman named Eppie who seems to have a strange psychic link to him. They can communicate in their minds and Dancer has come to actually like her sweet and peaceful voice in his head.

Eppie was born and lived her entire life in Mystic Valley. Her soul sought out her bond-mate, only to find he was an out-valley man. Now as Dancer draws ever closer to her and the place he doesn’t realize he’s searching for, her only hope is that he will find his way to her valley in time. For if he doesn’t, if she does not mate with him soon, she will die.

Anny Cook has created a rather complex character in Dancer. So complex that it took this reader a while to get a read on his voice. Why was he reacting as he did? Why was he so angry? This seeking isn’t a bad thing. Cook has not taken the simple and one dimensional approach to her hero, but makes him stand there, glaring at you with smug indifference almost daring you to try to figure him out.

I read through this in one day because I didn’t want to put it down. To be honest the compulsion didn’t have to do with the main characters. Eppie and Dancer’s story is compelling and well detailed and the plot of this story wonderfully developed but the love between the two was so obvious it was a foregone conclusion they’d have a happy ending. I found myself drawn to the side characters as strongly as her hero and heroine. How their lives would weave around the pair and how the inevitable spilling of secrets would impact them was a powerful draw. Dancer’s brother Traveller is a fascinating character, brutal and ruthless, but with a sense of honor that is obvious. He’s one bad boy I’m hoping Cook revisits soon. The story of Eppie’s brothers Llyon and Tyger is touching and sweetly painful to watch unfold. While it’s hard to push aside social mores, it is obvious that this is a bonding of souls that defies convention.

So many threads left untied, but not in an unsatisfying way. Oh no, these threads leave us asking what about Traveller and Wrenna? What part is Bishop going to play in all this? What about Arano and Silence? And what will happen to Arturo? And most importantly, when do we get the next installment?

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