is the third in the adventures of Bronwyn, a 'sassy' witch who works on the Prime Minister's protection detail, and has a hot new boyfriend as well as a covey of mystical friends. When Bronwyn's ex-boyfriend comes around trying to kill her, she goes into high gear with the spells and charms.
Charmed & Deadly is a fanciful read, worth your time only if you're willing to suspend not only reality but good taste as well. Bronwyn says things like "The last five years of my life have been dedicated to ridding the world of evil magic dudes and dudettes?" Groan! Dudettes? Oh no. Still, she is a spitfire and it's nice to have a female hero for a change. But come on, dudettes? Yuck.
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While Bronwyn is busy keeping the Prime Minister safe and her boyfriend satisfied, things get bogged down with a host of subplots: AIDS in Africa, a kidnapping, an evil goddess that's been called out of exile, and a surprise pregnancy. That's just too much to fit into 258 pages. A tragic miscarriage and a batch of good guys getting hurt pretty much take the last third of the book out of the light and frothy column.
The story suffers from Havens' continued use of throw-away lines. Phrases like "I threw a protective shield around us and then …," or "I gave him a charm and then …," are littered throughout the book. Actually, we'd like to hear a little more about those spells, a little abracadabra to give us some insight into the workings of all that magic being thrown around. And on more than one occasion Havens ends a chapter just as something is about to happen, then starts the next chapter after whatever it was is over, leaving us completely out of the loop on the action itself. Boo. Hiss.
Other reviewers have called Bronwyn "fantastic," and a "riot." We won't go that far; we won't go nearly that far. She is an interesting and relatively well drawn, with some surprises and layers to her character… it's just odd little missteps like those danged "dudettes" that hang her up. --Olivia Flores Alvarez
Charmed & Deadly, Berkley Trade, $14