Book Review: "One Great Year" by Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio

Monday, September 16, 2013

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is."

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One Great Year by Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio is the loving creation of two "author-artists" with a passion for writing and each other. The novel, described as an epic, spans centuries and universes in 400 pages. Marcus has been selected to become an Emissary, chosen by the Elders of his society to protects its ancient secrets. Theron, his lover, is an Emissary as well - but part of their duty means living separate lives. Desperate not to forget his soulmate, he takes a serum meant to retain his memory and dooms himself to years of searching and longing for Theron. Meanwhile, his "nemesis" (God I love that word) Helghul, seeks to destroy Marcus and have Theron for himself.

While the writing is immaculate, and I found the plot premise to be interesting, I simply couldn't get into this novel. I've read many fantasy novels, but this one was just not believable to me. The characters were overwhelmingly one-dimensional - Helghul is a vengeful, petty child, Marcus is a boring jock-type character who never fully explains his love for Theron, and Theron is the kind of female character I would call "fluffy" - her characterization is dependent on the male characters around her. Theron espouses duty so often, she reminds me of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but without the redeeming personality. Marcus seemingly "saunters casually" into every room, and flaunts his romantic ownership over Theron.

Don't even get me started on the love scenes. Theron's "second chakra burned and desire shot through her." What does that even mean? I rolled my eyes in disbelief. I love a good love story, but throughout the book, I found no compelling reason why Theron and Marcus should be so invested in each other, or why I should root for them to succeed as a couple.

That said, you can tell that my biggest complaint about the novel is that it's extremely "new age-y," and I'm a woman that loves tarot cards, candle-making, and the smell of incense. If you're fascinated by the idea of reincarnation (which I am not), the idea of a higher power (again, not my thing), and Hinduism, then I guarantee you will enjoy this book. I'm not a fan of romance, so what I may find cheesy could be what other reviewers have described as touching. It is very well-written, and while I didn't enjoy the plot, I will be recommending this book to a few friends who would be intrigued by many aspects of the story-line in a way that I wasn't.

I'm giving this book two stars - one for the writing, and one for the unique plot. In the end, though, I simply couldn't fully enjoy this novel.

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I was given an early copy of this novel as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Click the banner above to learn more.