Author: Ellen A. Roth
Illustrator: John Blumen
Publisher: Getting to the Point Inc.
Length: 104 pages
Evil plots his return to power and Good fights to defeat Evil's sinister plan. Caught between them in this epic struggle are two young lovers - Martak, master of the forest, and Marianna, a beautiful maiden and governess to Rosy, the impetuous, young princess. Evil's desperate scheme to outwit Good and rule the Kingdom puts Martak, Marianna and the Princess at risk as they are drawn into the conflict.
Will the soulmates realize their "happily ever after?" Martak must first unravel the curse and destroy evil. In this land where magical forces vie for dominance, could true love be the most powerful weapon of all?
A beautifully illustrated tale for women of all ages, Ten Fingers Touching explores the complex nature of love and fate. It is an enchanting journey of romance, mystery and adventure. Ellen A. Roth's debut novella is an imaginative take on a classic genre-and a treat for the romantic soul.
Protagonist: So while both Marianna and Martak both play a role in this story, in the end it's really a lot more about Martak, which is why I've chosen to only focus on him. Martak is a strong, courageous, and very moral hero, but that's about it. He was raised in the forest and learned to not only communicate with the animals there but gain their trust. There wasn't really any development for Martak, sure we learned more about who he is and the circumstances that surround his life, but who we see in him at the beginning is essentially who he is, and I really wish he were a more complex character than "strong, courageous, and moral hero."
Romance: The romance in this story is the epitome of insta-love. It's not like I wasn't expecting a little bit of insta-love, with this being a very short story and all, but it really bugged me how sure Martak was that he and Marianna were destined to be together when the most interaction they had was a single look, and to be honest, out of context, what happened would be kinda creepy. When they do finally get together I was hoping to see some great bonding scenes between the two at least, but those were either glossed over or cut out in favor of confusing explanations of their bond or them having sex.
World-Building: The world-building was really lacking here. Sure the descriptions of locations, while a bit brief, were done well, especially paired with the phenomenal illustrations, but the mythology and lore of this story was really simplistic. First off the forces of good and evil that are waging war, are led by the physically representations of Good and Evil, then we have the Kingdom which doesn't even get a name, and to tie it all up circumstances and random abilities that even the explanation "because magic" can't explain away. I was really hoping for something a bit more complex, especially when this is targeted for an adult audience.
Predictability: On the whole this story was a bit too predictable. That's not to say there weren't moments that I didn't guess, but they were things that weren't of enough significance to truly "wow" me in any way. The foreshadowing was really heavy handed and it felt the the author was practically giving the answers away.
Ending: I think I probably had the biggest problem with the ending. This is where most of those improbable circumstances I mentioned earlier happened, and while I get that this is supposed to be like a fairy-tale, since it was aimed for adults they really should have been explained in a much clearer way. Also, there was a lot left hanging in the end, not enough to make a sequel but still plenty of the better parts of this story that got no resolution.
I'm not sure if you can tell, but I really hated giving this novella such a low rating, but in the end it felt way too simplistic to be enjoyed by adults, but had the mature content that wouldn't be appropriate for a younger audience. There were some great parts to this story, amazing even, but they were overshadowed by the not so great parts. I'm not saying nobody will enjoy it, but it just wasn't for me.