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Jane Routley
Avon EOS Books, 288 pages

Jane Routley
Jane Routley's previous books Mage Heart and Fire Angels also feature Dion Holyhands, healer, mage and demon slayer. Jane Routley lives in Australia.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Fire Angels

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jeri Wright

Dion Holyhands travels to the glorious land of Aramaya with her friend Kitten in search of her missing niece Dally. Braving winter storms in an attempt to escape the heartbreak in her personal life, Dion vows to concentrate on finding Dally instead of dwelling on the recent break with her husband and her despair over her barrenness.

Aramaya is known as the centre of the world, the source of elegance and scientific and magical advancement. The "Demonslayer of Gallia" is made welcome by Aramayan society, and Dion indeed does find many wonders there, though she is shocked at some of the social and political differences she finds. Great luxury exists side by side with great poverty, and Dion is uncomfortable with the plight of serfs who are no better than slaves.

In the court of the young Emperor, Dion finds Tally in the centre of an intrigue involving the forbidden art of necromancy. Dion fears that her old enemy, the demon Bedazzer, is somehow involved. She defeated him in the past, but can she be sure she could win in another encounter with the powerful demon?

Adding to her emotional turmoil is Dion's attraction to a powerful Aramayan noble. Her feelings for him war with her longing for her husband. Combined with her ache to become a mother, the situation leaves Dion dangerously off balance at a time when she needs all her strength.

Aramaya is set in a colourful, richly detailed world. I enjoyed the background, and didn't find reading without knowledge of previous books (Mage Heart and Fire Angels) a particular handicap, though there were obviously details about Dion's past that I was unaware of. Dion's travels and adventures in Aramaya were not without interest, but the character is the heart of the novel, and I found the character insipid; silly, immature, whiny, and quite annoying. (Her friend Kitten is much more interesting, but gets little ink overall.)

Dion's dreary romantic and personal problems take up a lot of the story without providing any interest. (I kept wanting to shout GROW UP! at her.) Routley also seems overly fond of heavy handed foreshadowing of the "if only we had known" type, perhaps in an effort to give a perfectly acceptable but rather pedestrian adventure a bit more zing. Given that, it is unsurprising that I found the story less than compelling. I enjoy romance and romantic fantasy, but found Aramaya uninspiring. Dion is not a character I want to take any more long journeys with, no matter how handy her great magical powers might turn out to be.

Copyright © 1999 Jeri Wright

Jeri is a voracious reader who believes that paradise could well be a quiet afternoon, unlimited chocolate, and a novel to lose herself in. She reads and reviews all types of fiction, and enjoys sharing her life long passion for books with like-minded readers.

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