- Mass Market Paperback: 325 pages
- Publisher: Ace; 1st Printing edition (May 29, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441015034
- ISBN-13: 978-0441015030
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,857,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Key to Conflict (Gillian Key, ParaDoc, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2007
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Top customer reviews
Key of Conflict was horrid from the beginning. The main character was so obnoxious and unlikeable. Not to mention unbelievable! If I saw Gillian Key coming down the street I would fling myself into the nearest trash receptacle just to get away from her. The secondary characters were all flat. They had no personality beyond a pile of bad cliches.
The plot was weak. It was very flimsy and seemed to go nowhere. The sex read like a virgin writing about bad porn. The author obviously thought I was stupid because she kept telling me everything instead of letting the story show me.
Sorry about the rant. I am very upset that I wasted any time on this and needed to vent. Now I have to go write a positive review for a book I actually enjoyed to balance my karma.
This was bad. Fin.
You want more? Ok, this was eye-gougingly bad. It was almost, but not quite, so bad it was funny. If it had been so bad it was funny, I'd probably rate it higher, honestly. I enjoy bad movies and books when they are obviously tongue in cheek or, like The Room, so bad it's wrapped around itself and became a higher form of art, somehow. This wasn't the case here. The main character, Gillian, is a former USMC para-psychologist to supernatural creatures. OK... that's fine and all... however, she is a TERRIBLE therapist. As in she has anger issues of her own and sleeps with her clients. There's some silly plot or something another about two brothers and a terrible evil vampire who is... yeah, I give up already. Let's go with some quotes from the first chapter so you can see what I'm talkin' 'bout, Willis!
"It all started with a Vampire: her lab partner in a college psychology class. Lovely girl…
Through her fanged friend, Gill had developed an appreciation for the inner workings of a person of Paramortal persuasion. Lupe was a fairly new Vampire, but was managing to keep it well hidden. This had been before the Human-Paramortal Wars of a few years back when Vampires were still creatures of legend and Werewolves, Fairies, Goblins and Ghosts still only stories to frighten each other with around a campfire or on Halloween."
What?! Why aren't we reading about this Human-Paramortal war?! That sounds cool!
"It must have shown in her face, because the Vampire softened and burst into bloody tears as Gillian neared. They’d spent the next several hours sitting in a tree on campus with Gillian learning that even immortals get the blues, have problems, experience heartbreak, are dissatisfied with the direction their prolonged lives took them. The next day, Gillian had switched her major from criminal justice to a double major with clinical Paramortal psychology added as her primary focus. Lupe’s problems and needs fascinated her in a way no Human client ever could."
Interesting concept buuuuuut.... HOW IN THE HECK DO YOU SWITCH TO A MAJOR THAT'S NOT EVEN INVENTED YET?! Srsly, this was before this cool sounding war, remember? The book is filled with tons of these.
"It only took a moment for her to flare her empathy around and determine that nothing with talons or fangs lurked in the immediate area around the cabin."
Snerk. She should see a doctor for those uncomfortable and embarrassing empathy flare-ups.
"Visibly relaxing, she cast Nile-green eyes up to the cloudless sky."
Were they hers? Someone else's? Also... Nile green? Wha?
"There were lights here, and her empathy wasn’t flaring…yet."
There's no other verb she can use with 'empathy'? Really?
"Gillian and he regarded each other. With her mouth going dry and other parts of her body below her waist growing damp, she couldn’t help thinking that he looked as if he’d fallen out of a Romanian Studs “R” Us, catalog."
"Yeah, I'll have the black haired vampire stud. No... no, the other one. On page 64. Yeah, that's the one. Oh, he comes in Count and Duke? I'll take Count. Thank you."
Anyway, it gets worse the further you go in. I believe her nethers are described as "swampy" at one point. Yes, I repeated myself. No, I cannot get over that point. It brings to mind panties full of bog beasts, water, and frogs. Lots and lots of frogs. With croaking. And perhaps some of that Spanish moss.
In other words, I do not recommend this book for anything other than teaching a creative writing class on what not to do.
In the first sentence, we are introduced to: "Gillian Key, United States Marine Corps Captain, Special Forces Operative, former flower child, wiseass extraordinaire, also legitimately known as Dr. Gillian Key, Paramortal psychologist," and that sets the stage for Gillian as a character. She's all over the place. Not only does she have more training and degrees and honors than seem plausible for her age, but the different aspects of her character seem clumsily cobbled together rather than parts of a whole. One minute she'll be caring and empathetic, and the next minute she's flying off the handle. Her "Marine" status seems mostly like an excuse to lose her temper, which doesn't fit what I know of the actual military. While her career as a psychologist to vampires, ghosts, etc. could have been an interesting angle, her therapy scenes are told rather than shown. There's barely any dialogue during these scenes. They're told in more of a summary style.
The writing and editing are poor. Head-hopping is rampant; the point-of-view switches around dizzyingly. At one point, a character is thinking about Dracula, and we randomly end up in Dracula's head for about one sentence. Gryphon also employs the annoying technique of capitalizing too many terms. In this book we don't have vampires and ghosts and humans, we have Vampires and Ghosts and Humans. People don't talk about their country; it's their Country. Vampires who commit suicide are Facing The Sun. Then there's the word "Count," which seems to be used as a term for "vampire" rather than a title in any coherent peerage system.
The book is also oversexed. I'm not against sex in books. What I don't like are books where a huge bevy of hot people are paraded into the story and the protagonist lusts after every single one. At the point where I stopped, Gillian was lusting after three "pantie-wetting" men ("panty" is the singular form, by the way) and was having sex with one of them -- a creepy misogynist who spanked her, not as foreplay, but to put her in her place as a woman... and then she still embarked on an affair with him afterward.
I considered finishing Key to Conflict just to see if it got sillier, but then I decided my time would be better spent reading something good. I don't recommend Key to Conflict; it gives an inaccurate idea of what this subgenre is all about.