Ronald L. Donagheís Twilight of the Gods starts out slowly, occasionally picks up speed, then disappointingly settles down to a snailís pace. The premise seems to be promising -- a fantastical world in which people have varying forms of magic in which two young men meet and fall in love. Albeit he sets a difficult task for himself, Mr. Donaghe rises to the occasion, but only on occasion.
While most of the love scenes between Jeru and Eril are sweetly tender and moving, the plot chugs along like an old-time steam engine. Donaghe does deserve full credit for handling what could be at best painfully awkward and at worst very embarrassing material in a tasteful and romantic way.
It is refreshing to see what the author does with the concepts of magical (read powerful) beings that are feared solely because they are different. It is also fascinating to contemplate the Edenic nature of Omoham, where some people go about as the Great Creator originally intended (at least according to the Bible): naked and both proud of and comfortable with being so.
The character of Ka-Te', the City of Cinatisí sitting witch, provides a fascinating mix of probable treachery combined with possible salvation to add tension to Jeru and Eril's quest. The author keeps us guessing all the way to the end just which way this witch will fly, toward helping or hurting the simple but well-meaning Jeru.
The problem is that the fictional detail is heaped on each scene like a person loading their plate in the buffet line. Halfway through the novel, the reader may begin groaning like an overstuffed buffet-eater. The plot meanders about without any conviction, and much of the dialogue is strained to the point of humor. The entire book is weighed down by heavy-handed imagery and lackluster character definition. The glossary at the back, normally a godsend in fantasy fiction, is little or no help at all.
Donaghe shows skill at describing the settings and definite imagination in the nucleus of the novelís concept. I hope that Cinatis II will be more thoroughly developed and well-paced. This book is recommended to people with the flu or those who are otherwise incapacitated and thereby are a captive audience.