Dayton, Gail: Compass Rose, The

I still have two cruise books to catch up on (yes, the March cruise), the books I read during the long, long day of travel home. One is Gail Dayton’s The Compass Rose, the other Luna book I brought with me. Unlike Staying Dead, I’d heard no buzz about it, simply opened it at random in the bookstore. At the time, I was still under the impression that Luna was a paranormal romance line, so I was quite surprised to find a group marriage ceremony on my randomly-selected page. Curious, I flipped around some more and decided to give it a try.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the polyamory, it’s actually much more towards the romance novel end of the spectrum than Staying Dead, in that far more of the time is spent dealing with the personal relationships of the characters. The setup requires it: our main character calls upon a god for aid, and finds herself linked to a number of other people whose magic she can channel. They all have to learn how these new magical abilities work, because there is an epic fantasy need for them. And since the main character lives in a polyamorous society, they get married along the way.

The bulk of the book covers the getting-to-know-you stages of these developments, and so I suspect that many fantasy-only readers will find the pacing frustrating. I found it engaging enough airplane reading, and will probably pick up the sequel that is so blatantly promised by the ending.

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