Sunday, July 24, 2011
Soul Guardian by Tara Mandarino
Lucien Marquess never liked being a vampire. His one wish, to regain mortality seems a possibility if he can obtain the secrets found in an ancient book. When Lucien’s search leads him to a small antiques store, he meets Althea Brynne, a psychic mortal to whom he’s attracted. Lucien believes the book’s secrets are within his grasp, at least until Adrian DiBartholomew, a much older, more powerful vampire, gets to the book first. When Adrian starts playing psychic cat and mouse games with Althea, games that risk her life, Lucien’s no longer sure the book’s worth the price. Too bad Althea doesn’t agree with him, and is determined to beat Adrian at his own game.
Ms. Mandarino was brilliant when she combined two paranormal genres—a psychic heroine with a vampire hero—lending an extra punch to Soul Guardian. The story is engaging and had me on the edge of my seat, rooting for the plucky mortal heroine who risks her life when she goes up against the old and powerful vampire villain. This book was difficult to put down, and I missed the characters when I finished it.
It was marred for me, however, by the bane of the self-published—it needed at least one more pass by a copy editor. I empathize with my fellow indie authors on this point. Self-publishing is an expensive proposition, even when one does not use a vanity press. Cover art and editing services are not cheap, and even the best editor cannot and should not try to edit his or her own work. I confess my sister found one or two typos in my own current indie release. But the editor (read grammar Nazi) in me wanted to offer my services to Ms. Manderino, as I found comma splices and other errors rather distracting. Other readers may not even notice them. Some readers may not even know what a comma splice is. If it’s any consolation, I’ve had to stop reading Danielle Steele for that very reason. I’ve dubbed her the Queen of Comma Splices.