Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Unfortuante Miss Fortunes, Crusie/Dreyer/Stuart

Title: The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes
Author: Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, and Anne Stuart
Published: 2007, St. Martin's
Category: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 7/10

I was prepared to completely love this book. Crusie is one of my absolute favorite authors, the premise sounded so interesting, and look at that pretty cover! But I only liked it. Enjoyable read, but still a bit disappointing given my high expectations.

The three Fortune sisters are witches. They each have a different ability: Dee can shape-shift, Lizzie has the ability to transmute objects (she's trying to turn straw into gold, but more often only manages to change forks into bunnies), and Mare is telekinetic. They've been on the run from their evil Aunt Xan, who killed their parents years ago. Hiding out in small towns, they've never learned to control their gifts, with the result that none of the sisters are able to use their gifts in any useful way and generally consider them nuisances. Now Aunt Xan has come up with a plan to steal the girls' powers: she's going to send them each their true loves in the hope that the sisters will give up their powers to be "normal" and happy with their lovers. So Danny, the hunky book researcher, shows up with lots of questions for Dee about the Fortunes' shady past and a huge prejudice against any kind of "magical" con artist. Elric, the all-powerful sorcerer arrives to tell Lizzie that she just can't go on disrupting the universe by trying to make gold. And Mare gets two for the price of one---Jude, a dashing executive with a fantastic job offer, and Crash, Mare's high school sweetheart who she's never quite been able to get over.

This book has a lot going for it. There are some hilarious scenes, really funny moments. And I was afraid that the book would feel choppy with three authors, but they've done a great job of making it read seamlessly. I think that PW reviewer must not have read the book (though it's hard to believe), because this is definitely one novel, not three novellas. While I could tell which author was writing which sister, the style I thought was quite consistent. And really, I think fans would have a fit if they didn't see (or hear?) each of these authors' very distinct voices. Mare was very much a Crusie heroine and Stuart fans will be glad to find the dark and powerful hero matched up with Lizzie's character. I've never read a Dreyer, so I can't tell answer for Dee.

But as good as the authors have done at making the book flow well, I did feel like there was just too much going on here. Three main characters who are each battling for control of their powers, who each fall in love, who also must face up to the villain. Especially at the beginning I'd be reading along with one sister and just when I felt I was getting a grasp on her story, we'd jump to another sister. And I never felt I got a good handle on any of the men, especially Danny and Elric. How did Danny overcome his prejudices against magic? Why did Elric change his mind so quickly about allowing Lizzie to continue to use her magic?

And the magical elements, while cute, felt at times tacked on. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of these authors have really done paranormal before, have they? The book felt to me like a contemporary romance with the magic crammed in there because it held the plot together. The result was that the magic felt rather ... unmagical. But maybe I am being too critical. I did interrupt the Great Harry Potter Re-Read 2007 for this book. The comparison probably isn't fair.

Anyway, I still recommend this as a good read. I certainly don't begrude the $7.99 I spent on it. :)


Dance Chica said...

This story kind of reminds me of the show, Charmed. I guess because of the three sisters, who also happen to be witches. It sounds kind of interesting...but I'd probably check it out of the library or something. lol.

Li said...

I'm about 1/3 of the way through this book at the mo, and agree with your comments so far. It's a fun read, but maybe a bit too frothy. Oh, and the constant jumping between the sisters' stories is starting to bug me...

Mailyn said...

I love the cover but I hate anthologies. I always feel cheated because they are so short!

seton said...

Good review. I agree with pretty much everything you said. It was an interesting experiment and I thought the 3 authors did a relatively good job of keeping the style uniform altho Dee's storyline (and I agree that this was written by Dreyer) was far more boring than the other two and kinda stuck out because of that.

I guess I dont begrudge the $1.08 i paid for it ;-)

C2 said...

I'm glad this one is on my "get at the UBS" list. Everybody seems to like it but still be disappointed.

I think Stuart has done some stories with paranormal elements, at least. CindyS will know, if she zips by.

I like the cover too, Mailyn. :o)

Jennie said...

DC--It is sort of like Charmed, though I never liked that show much. The book is much less cheesy. :)

Li--It is frothy, sometimes in a good way, but also sometimes because the characters seemed a bit shallow. I mean, the characterizations were not always as fleshed out as I might have liked, making it seem fluffier.

Mailyn--It's not an anthology! I think the authors are having a hard time trying to make that clear. It is one novel, co-authored by three people. Definitely not short stories.

Seton--Dee was probably the least likable character, but that may have to do with her being the responsible older sister instead of the fun younger ones. :) Responsible older sisters can be a bit dull.

C2--You might be right about Stuart. I've only read one of hers so I don't know very much about her backlist. Definitely keep an eye out for this at the UBS, I think it's worth a read. And if not, you could just tear off the cover and put it on your wall--it's that pretty. ;)

nath said...

hey there Jennie :D I agree with your comments :D the book was okay... it kind of fell short of something though :( and the magic aspect wasn't magical enough in my opinion. I hope that Jennifer Crusie has a book of her own coming out soon.

Mailyn said...

OK, now I'm intrigued. I've heard of two authors writing a story but more than one?! Too many hands in the cookie jar. LOL.

Marg said...

I am reading this one at the moment. It's too early for me to comment too much, but I would say that I am very much looking forward to a solo Crusie one of these days!

Chantal said...

I just won this in a contest. I'll be reading it soon.