The Book Gourmet

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Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

Spell of the Highlander - Karen Marie Moning

Jessi St. James is running yet another errand for a professor in the college where she's trying to get her PhD, when she's attacked in the professor's office, and protected by a kilt-wearing warrior she's summoned out of a mirror.

The next morning she's sure it was all a dream, until she hears her would-be attacker is dead...And so is her professor,

Reluctantly, she goes exploring the possibility it wasn't a dream, only to discover the man in the mirror is real. A ninth-century Scottish Driud, Cian MacKeltar, trapped in the mirror by his mortal enemy in order for said mortal enemy to gain immortality.

But someone has recently stolen the mirror—hence it's in Chicago instead of in London...And fortuitously right before the "immortality spell" is to be renewed for it to last another hundred years.

Cian is determined to break free and vanquish his enemy before the renewal...And Jessi is the one who will help him achieve his long-time goal.


I don't know what to say, except I was rather disappointed in this last full-length installment in the Highlander series. It's nothing specific that bothered me, really, there was just something off.

The hero was a tad too "barbaric" for comfort (compared to the other ninth-century Scot I know and love), the heroine came across as rather flighty (for supposedly such a smart woman) at the beginning, and rather selfish at the end...And their romance didn't exactly convince me.
It felt off somehow, as if it was written more as an afterthought than anything else. It was formulaic and rather perfunctory in everything that transpired between the two. There was no feeling behind it, no "MacKeltar finding his mate magic" that I loved in the previous MacKeltar books.

Then there was the suspense sub-plot which also wasn't really convincing, coming across as more "coincidental" and Deux-ex-machina-y. Especially once we got to the big finale. The "big problem" was too easily and simply resolved, the "happy ending" telegraphed way in advance, making the story lose its edge long before the ending. There was no wonder if and how it would be resolved, it was clear it would be and happily for all parties.

Especially for the hidden one, which left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth for the entire series. Turns out it wasn't Fate that brought them all together, but a hidden figure pulling at strings, manipulating time and people for her own gain...Which, for those who read the Fever series, didn't really work (and ended up with one of my favorite characters of this series a mindless beast).

This book was more a segue from one series to the next than a stand-alone novel, and a disappointingly deus-ex machina explanation to everything that came before.