Rating: Buy, Paperback, New/Go to the Library
I'll get to the strange dual rating in a few sentences. I read Sword Masters by Selina Rosen yesterday. Last evening I was taking to Mrs. Bugbear and after I described the book in a tongue-firmly-in-cheek manner, my darling wife chuckled and then asked, "Why would you read that book?"
Mrs. Bugbear asks some fairly insightful questions. What is Sword Masters? As I described it to Mrs. Bugbear it's an teen angst filled love story with werewolves...and lesbians...actually the main character is a lesbian werewolf...in drag...in a fantasy setting...I shit you not. At this point dear reader you are either laughing or you stopped reading and went somewhere else.
Now repeat Mrs. Bugbear's question "Why would you read that book?"
C'mon! LESBIAN. WEREWOLF. IN. DRAG. It was funny. You could consider Sword Master to be the archetype of bad supernatural romance until you shift mental gears and treat it as a campy send-up of the genre. Despite my less than enthusiastic rating of the book, I got a few hours of reading and chuckling as I read about the LESBIAN. WEREWOLF. IN. DRAG. Selina Rosen is decent writer and even though she writes in a subgenre of fantasy that I detest, I liked Sword Masters (aka LESBIAN. WEREWOLF. IN. DRAG.) well enough that I don't begrudge the money I spent on the ebook and I read the whole thing. If the book wasn't worth reading I would have put Sword Masters down and re-read something better.
A couple of things I did particularly appreciate about the book, it's not erotica and it doesn't really push that boundary so if you're looking for explicit sex scenes you'll have to look elsewhere. One other thing is that although the characterization/character development is a bit weak, almost every character is worthy of respect and when a moment of redemption exists the characters by and large seize the moment. Those two things make up for most of teen angst moments I had to endure. Only most...I. HATE. TEEN. ANGST.
The Dual Rating:
I used to watch At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert occasionally when I was in my late teens. In one review the pair were discussing an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie (a subgenre unto itself). After listening to Siskel excoriate the film Ebert commented that although it was not a genre he liked, that if you like the genre that the movie was worth watching (thumb up rating).
In the spirit of Ebert's rating mentioned above, if you like this subgenre of Fantasy (supernatural romance) go get Sword Masters. You'll find it will be worthwhile read. For me I'm afraid that my dislike of the genre clouds my judgment a bit and I can't in good conscience recommend the book, my tastes run more to military Sci-Fi and hard Sci-Fi than to supernatural romance. So in the spirit of Gene Siskel go to the library and get this book and a second more entertaining one.
I'll be keeping an eye on Ms. Rosen. If she writes something that is a little more mainstream Sci-Fi I'll give it a try because for one book that I kind of hated on general principles she still kept me entertained. That shows, to me at least, that she has that essential spark of creativity and writing craft that successful writers need.