Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Half of My Heart

Enchanted, Inc. (Katie Chandler, Book 1)Katie Chandler, the main character in Shanna Swendson's Katie Chandler series, has a special magical talent. Only, it's not exactly magical in nature. She can't be influenced by magic in any way. Most importantly, she doesn't see the illusion spells that the magical beings in our world use to keep from being notice by the humans. Which is why she described Rod Gwaltney, a wizard who heavily depends on illusion spells, like this:
He looked like the kind of guy who spends his lifetime defending against sexual harassment charges, the kind who thinks of himself as so irresistible that he can't imagine his advances being unwanted. Unfortunately, that type is never as attractive as he'd like to think. This one wasn't exactly hideous. With a little effort and the right personality he might not have been so bad. Unfortunately, he made no effort at all, so that his hair was poorly styled and greasy, while his skin would have made my mother, the Mary Kay representative, faint in horror.
when women who aren't immune to his illusion (and attraction) spells see this:
Johnny Depp wasn't a bad comparison. He wasn't quite as classically handsome as Owen, but he had a slightly dangerous bad-boy allure to him, like he should be wearing a leather jacket and hanging out at a disreputable nightclub, where he'd have to fend off the women throwing themselves at him. He still wasn't someone who would draw my attention for more than a passing, appreciative glance, but I could see where some women might find him intensely attractive, especially when he threw in a love spell.
We get to know Rod better as the series goes on, and he turns out to be, well, not a particularly nice guy (he does use love spells to get scads of women to sleep with him after all), but not without redeeming qualities. As Katie gets to know him, and even becomes friends with him, it becomes obvious that he's using all this magic because he doesn't believe in himself. The illusions are a way of hiding everything about himself from everyone else, not just his true appearance.

What song works better for a commitment-phobic playboy with well hidden low self-esteem than Half of My Heart, by John Mayer?
I was made to believe I'd never love somebody else
Made a plan, stay the man who can only love himself
Lonely was the song I sang, until the day you came
Showing me another way and all that my love can bring

Oh, half of my heart's got a grip on the situation
Half of my heart takes time
Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you
That I can't keep loving you (can't keep loving you)
Oh, with half of my heart
With half of my heart

Your faith is strong
But I can only fall short for so long
Down the road, later on
You will hate that I never gave more to you
Than half of my heart
Rod is longing for what he doesn't dare go after - a real relationship, with someone who can see and love the real Rod, not the illusion. He'll never have that, though, until he can give up the safety of the illusions and risk letting someone see real him. I just started the third book (Damsel Under Stress) so I don't know if he ever manages to overcome his fear. I hope so - I've actually come to like Rod, despite everything.

Books: Enchanted, Inc., Once Upon Stilettos, Damsel Under Stress, by Shanna Swendson
Music: Half Of My Heart, John Mayer

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