Robin D. Owens – “Heart Mate”

15 Mar

GENRE: Romance / Science fiction (Futuristic)
PUBLISHED: Berkley Sensation, 2006

The back blurb:
“All his life, Rand T’Ash has looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough, now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfect HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds – and attracts – his wife …
Dantih Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T’Ash’s shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, placing her at the opposite end of the social spectrum from T’Ash. But T’Ash refuses to accept her rejection and sees it as a challenge instead. They are HeartMates, but can T’Ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?”

On the spine of this book it says this novel is a “Paranormal romance” and I’m not really comfortable with this. It’s set in the future on a different planet and is populated by people with all kinds of psychical abilities (implication being that psychically gifted people left the Earth to live a life in peace). So in my eyes, it’s not really something I would call paranormal romance (implication for me, it’s set in “our” world), maybe a paranormal futuristic?

Anyway, Heart Mate is the first in a series. As such, there is not much world building going on. There are familiars like T’Ash’s telepathic cat, which is sometimes fun and sometimes a bit too much. And there are precious words to refer to quite normal things like a teapot (or just look at the back blurb to see what I mean). It takes some time getting used to. It’s a world where nearly everything and everyone relies on using Flair (psychic abilities). Flair comes in different degrees, the most basic being able to use some kind of visual telephone; being able to teleport is more advanced (at least, I think). Also, there are different types of Flair, like a special talent for healing or working with stones.

And that’s where the conflict between the hero and the heroine in this story rests. The hero T’Ash is very strong in Flair, the heroine Danith has little Flair (as we know, it only seems like that). But as the blurb says, the unrecognised potential of Danith’s Flair puts them at the opposite ends of the social spectrum. Danith wants a “smalll” life – a home, a family, and no regulations. Being with T’Ash as his HeartMate would mean she can’t get that.


There’s the possibility of a special bond with someone which, in my understanding of the HeartMate thing, would also mean all she wanted had a very high possibility of coming true (looking at other Heart Mate couples), and she rejects that? Again and again? It’s for the sake of the story, I know, but it makes for one very annoying bitch heroine because I didn’t think her reason compelling enough. I think Heart Mate would have worked better for me with more emphasis on the regulations a life as Heart Mate of T’Ash would bring. Near the end, T’Ash thinks he’s not good enough. ‘Nuff said.

Despite that, I kept reading. I think there’s potential in Owens concept of Heart Mates. Having a Heart Mate doesn’t automatically mean a guaranteed HEA. Heart Mates have to work for their HEA, it’s not a foregone conclusion. So there’s room for conflict and tension. That I’m not too keen on the kind of conflict Owens choose for this story is a matter of taste, so I’ll read the next one. Even if the cutesy names and fams might keep on irritating me much. I want to see where Owens goes with this world.

Would I recommend this novel? Maybe.

Would I read this novel again? Maybe (as part of series).

Grade: 3,5 / 5


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