Deana Jones is having a terrible day. She got laid off from her job and then was blocked in a parking lot when two other vehicles collided behind her car. While waiting for the police to clear away the accident, she goes into a nearby junk shop to look around and ends up buying a very unique necklace. She didn't think her day could get any worse, but when she finally returns home, a strange but gorgeous man appears in her apartment, claiming to be from another world. To make matters worse, he insists he must protect her and won't leave her side. Already booked on a non-refundable trip to a sci-fi convention on the other side of the country, she allows him to tag along.
Lorgin ta'al Krue was on a quest, traveling through the inter-dimensional tunnels of his world when he was suddenly pulled out of the space/time continuum into Deana's world. When he sees her wearing one of the lost mystical necklaces of his people, he knows she is his mate. After he offers her his family's ceremonial dagger and she returns it in the proper way, he transports them back to his world where he insists she is his wife. Lorgin's prickly gharta fights him every step of the way, but the nights with her are oh so sweet. Together they pick up his quest where he left off, traveling throughout his universe on a mission to save his world from an evil sorcerer. But once they've completed their objective, will Deana be able to accept him as her husband or will she continue to insist on returning to Earth?
Knight of a Trillion Stars was my second read by Dara Joy and the first in her Matrix of Destiny series. Having read and loved her stand-alone historical romance, Tonight or Never, I was really looking forward to this novel, and for the most part, I'm happy to say it lived up to my expectations. When I finished the book, I was left somewhat undecided as to how to rate it, but eventually settled on four stars. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the story, but there were a few weakness, enough that I didn't feel it was quite worthy of keeper status. However, Knight of a Trillion Stars was definitely a solid four stars, perhaps even a tad higher. Overall, a delightful read that was quite steamy for the 1990's when it was first published.
When the story opens, everything is going wrong in Deana's life. She was laid off from her job, sat in something nasty on the train, and then was trapped in a parking lot when two other vehicles were involved in an accident behind her car. While waiting for the accident to be cleared away, she goes into a junk shop to browse and ends up buying an unusual necklace. She finally arrives home to find a gorgeous stranger in her apartment who claims to be from another world and who insists on being her protector. As it happens Deana is a sci-fi geek who is on her way to a convention in San Francisco, which I think made her a lot more accepting of the idea of Lorgin being from another planet. Of course, that doesn't stop her from being frightened and stubborn when he unexpectedly takes her to his world. I could hardly blame her though, given that she was practically "kidnapped" and taken to outer space, but she does start to warm up to the idea gradually. Although Deana slowly beings to accept a relationship with Lorgin and decides to enjoy it while she can, she adamantly refuses to entertain the fact that he views her as his wife and that he intends for her to stay with him in his world. This is where I thought the author could have dug a little deeper with her characterization. I felt like Deana's reasons for not believing Lorgin truly wanted her as his mate were lacking in clarity. It took most of the story for me to figure out that part of it was rooted in self-esteem issues and part of it was that she stubbornly believed that she was not the woman destined for Lorgin (ie. He had made a mistake). This being the case, it took until the final pages of the book for her to finally embrace her destiny, and it came about without any particularly deep introspection on the matter. Deana and Lorgin also had a few too many misunderstandings based on misinterpreting each other's language and culture, which could be funny at times, but once Deana had her translator implant, it seemed to me that she shouldn't have had as much of an issue with the language barrier. Also, I felt like she should have been asking more questions. Oftentimes, she would start questioning Lorgin, but when he gave her a muddled answer, she would simply stop. If I were her, I would have asked as many questions as it took to fully understand what was happening. Overall, though, Deana was a nice heroine who was pretty relatable if a tad obtuse at times.
In the beginning, Lorgin is an arrogant alpha which isn't my favorite type of hero. In much the same way that Deana should have been asking more questions, I felt that Lorgin should have been more understanding of Deana being a "foreigner" in his strange land who wasn't familiar with the customs and culture. He should have taken the time to explain what was going on and gently coax her into accepting certain things and doing what was necessary for her safety. Instead, he basically compels her into many things, including getting the translator implant and making love the first time which made me rather uncomfortable. In particular, he should have explained the Transference ritual, which among other things, bonded her to him for life, instead of performing the ritual without her full understanding of it. However, despite being a little miffed with him about these things, I can't deny that later in the story he lightened up on the uber-alpha act and transformed into a kind, loving, gentle hero who was a seductive and sensuous lover. I adored how the men from his planet are trained from an early age to weave their wives' hair, and when he did this for Deana it was so sweet, a beautiful way of marking her as his.
The secondary characters were wonderful too. Yaniff is a wise old mystic who reminded me of Gandalf or Dumbledore with a side of Yoda thrown in for good measure. He is Lorgin's mentor and a good friend to all of them. I have to admit that I'm already half in love with Lorgin's brother, Rejar, and his childhood friend, Traed. Rejar is a shape-shifter, known in his world as a Familiar. He has an extremely sensuous nature which essentially makes him a man slut, but I loved him anyway for his charming ways. The story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger for him, but he becomes the hero of the next book in the series, Rejar. I'll be interested to see how one woman manages to tame him. Traed intrigued me almost from the moment he was introduced. He harbors a painful past with a father who abused him. He's a classic tortured hero, and I'd love to read his story. I thought perhaps his would be the third book in the series, but alas, I was wrong. Unfortunately, it also looks like I may never know what happens to him. Due to Dara Joy's hotly contested dispute with her former publisher, Traed's book was never written and sadly might not ever be. Even if it was, I'm not sure I would read it, because it appears that Ms. Joy's more recent self-published offerings are lacking in the quality of her earlier traditionally published books.
Besides the slight deficiencies in characterizations, there were two other things that bothered me a bit about Knight of a Trillion Stars. First, was the author's penchant for head-hopping which could be a little distracting but not as bad as I've read in similar novels. The other was the overall plot of Lorgin being on a quest that is typical to many fantasy-type novels. The problem wasn't so much the quest itself, but the fact that the reader isn't exactly made privy to all the reasons for his quest and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together until very late in the story. We learn that Traed's father, a dark wizard, is causing trouble in some vague unknown location on the edge of their world and that Lorgin will presumably have to do something about it, but I felt like the author took a little too long to state what the ultimate objective was. This being the case, my interest occasionally waned slightly, but I did enjoy all the adventures the characters embarked upon while getting there. Once Lorgin got over his hot-headed alpha phase, the romance was tender and swoon-worthy with lots of steamy, sensuous love scenes. Overall, Knight of a Trillion Stars was a very enjoyable story that has left me eagerly looking forward to continuing the series soon.
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