A somewhat intriguing romance that seems to lack certain storytelling traits
Romance novels are always geared towards a certain audience, an audience comprised mainly of women. Most, if not all, of this audience loves nearly every romance novel published; however, romance novels are not for every audience. These types of stories most certainly have the passion and they describe the male and female leads beautifully. Some even have an intriguing story to go with the romance, but this is, unfortunately, rare to find in the romance genre. Self-published Amazon author Keira Montclair wrote an intriguing romance story with Loki, the first of her The Highland Clan series, a spin off series of her The Clan Grant series. However, Loki seems to lack a certain something in its story as a whole.
Before being adopted by Clan Grant, Loki was an orphan barely getting by on the streets without any previous memories of how he arrived there or of his parents. After years of being loved by his adoptive clan, Loki still feels as if something is missing in his life. On top of his confused feelings, Loki also loves Arabella, a beautiful woman of the clan, but is unable to take her for his wife because her father will not have a man who is not of pure clan blood marrying his daughter. Wanting to discover who he truly is, Loki sets out on a quest to discover his past and, along the way, find a way to make Arabella his wife.
The premise of Loki certainly sounds intriguing and, for the most part, it is. However, there are many points of the story Montclair could have expanded upon more or tweaked around a bit to make the first of her The Highland Clan series even more intriguing for a broader audience of readers. Before examining the story as a whole, readers should most certainly commend Montclair on her writing style. She has a beautiful way with words and her sentences flow very nicely together. Not to mention, with her books taking place in 13th century Scotland, she wrote her story in a way where readers can hear the Scottish dialect in their minds while reading both the dialog and descriptive paragraphs.
Aside from Montclair’s writing style, it was not even really the story that needed some tweaking to make it more interesting, but rather the characters of Loki could’ve used a bit more attention. For starters, there are many, many characters referred to in this story and this can be confusing for readers to keep up with at times. It is confusing mainly due to the fact that many character names are thrown at the reader throughout the book’s entirety, but only a few characters are expanded upon while the others just seem to disappear. This is very similar to stories from Scottish mythology where generation upon generation is introduced leading to the characters readers will follow and then the readers never hear the names from those past generations again (an example of this can be found in The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne). Granted, many of the names mentioned in Loki come from Montclair’s The Clan Grant series and those familiar with that series will recognize who these fleeting characters are. However, with Loki being able to stand on its own for newer Montclair readers, it may become confusing as to why these very minor characters are even mentioned.
During certain dialog scenes between characters, some of these scenes could have been shortened by a few pages, leaving room for more storytelling. This comes into play mainly when the characters (mostly Loki and Arabella) endure something (mainly an escape or rescue or whatnot) that the readers experience with the character and then, come the next chapter, the character will then explain in detailed dialog to the clan everything that happened to them. This can be very repetitive for the readers since they already read what happened in the previous chapter. Rather than taking readers through an entire scene all over again, Montclair could easily say, “The clan listened in shock and awe as Loki described in horrific detail of his struggle to escape his father’s dungeon,” or something along these lines and then go into the dialog of the reactions of the clan members listening to the story. This opens up quite a few paragraphs for more storytelling.
The characters, as a whole, were pretty well developed. This is more than likely due to the fact that most of the characters have already been introduced and had their own stories in The Clan Grant series, but the two characters that really needed some tweaking were actually the main two characters: Loki and Arabella. They were a very sweet couple and romance enthusiasts will instantly fall in love with them; however, for other readers, they may hope for more development for the two individually as well as a couple. Individually, they could be best described as walking oxymorons. Granted, Loki and Arabella are not morons, but they contradict what their characters are supposed to be. Loki has a lot of angst for someone who has been loved and was adopted 15 years ago. Even though his adoptive parents, Arabella, as well as the rest of the clan tells him they love and care for him, he believes that the clan doesn’t like him and wants to get rid of him since he is not of pure clan blood… even though he has been with them FOR 15 YEARS. And Arabella is described to the readers as a small, petite lass, but to not be deceived by her size because she is strong. Arabella cries a lot over very minute things, puts herself in danger (pretty much intentionally), and always needs Loki to save her… for a woman who is CONSIDERED STRONG.
As a whole, Loki could have been a rather intriguing romance novel for not just the genre’s intended audience, but for many different audiences. Montclair’s writing style as well as maintaining the Scottish dialect for the century the story is set in is to be commended and will keep any reader reading for a time. However, certain scenes as well as characters could have used some expansion and tweaking. The main characters contradict what is said about them and, the further along a reader gets in the story, the more a reader will witness a rather predictable plot to the point where it could become cheesy to read for those who are not fans of the romance genre. Though it lacks a certain something for audiences outside of the norm or even for readers who are just being introduced to Montclair’s work, fans of Montclair’s first series as well as fans of the romance genre will be very excited to read the first of Montclair’s follow up series.
Originally published at www.examiner.com on May 28, 2016.