Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dogs and Goddesses by Crusie, Stuart, and Rich

I have very few authors that I auto-buy for anymore. When I first started reading romance, there would be almost two releases a month that I would have to buy. Not so much any more. Along with Susan Elizabeth Phillips I auto-buy Jennifer Crusie's books, even her collaborations with other authors. This one includes Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich. 

The collaboration is a tricky thing. With three authors on the cover, the tendency to think the book is an analogy is pretty high. This book is a novel, with all three parts nearly seamlessly working together. The authors have been very open about the process on their blog, Dogs and Goddesses.  The other type of collaboration, which this is not, is the one where a well-known author puts his/her name on a book with a less well-known author to help that author get a following. This is similar to the process used by the anthology, which one or two well-known authors are tied with one or two other authors that are less well-known. 

If a collaboration must be done, I prefer the novel over the anthology. Anthologies usually have stories that would be more interesting if fleshed out into a full book, or the stories are so dull that they're not worth reading. 

Dogs and Goddesses follows three women in a small Ohio town who are drawn to a dog training class. While there, they meet the enigmatic trainer, Kammani, who hands them a tonic to drink. In a short period of time, the three women not only meet the men of their dreams, but they hear voices and swear their dogs are talking to them. Before long, they're all trying to defeat an ancient Mesopotamian goddess that's trying to regain her rightful place in the world.  

I'm no expert on anything Mesopotamian, so that helped me to suspend my disbelief well enough, and the authors' note at the beginning about how it is all made up made me feel even better. I did find the myth a little confusing and kept having to go back to parts that I re-read already in order to solidify it. Of course, after having read it, I found the entire myth on the webpage. 

This is one of my pet-peeves: if there's a mythology created for the book, the reader shouldn't have to rely on outside sources to discover it. This isn't a series, and that's a completely different kettle of fish. I shouldn't have to do research to enjoy a novel. I didn't read the blog as it was being created, and I don't feel that should be necessary in order to join a book. It feels much too clique-ish. 

Based on that, I give the book a solid B. I liked the story, and it's good for a collaboration. 

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