I find that Heimerdinger’s formula is starting to tire me. A significant number of the decisions that the characters make seem to have no other reason than to place them in the best position to observe some recorded historical event or meet some famous person.
Meagan now sounds exactly like Melody did in the previous books. She even says things like “the good part… that is the part about me,” which is annoying and totally out of character for the mouthy, rebellious, Goth girl of the previous book.
People in Heimerdinger’s books seem incapable of meeting a person of the opposite sex without falling hopelessly in love. Meagan meets a Centurion named Apollus Brutus Severillus (a really cool name), who happens to be the only Roman soldier who is competent, and is immediately convinced that he is the man of her dreams. In fact two days later she laments that it might tear her heart in two to leave him. At least Harry spends more than two days with Mary before he is willing to declare his undying love. This wouldn’t be so unrealistic – teenagers develop crushes on people quite frequently – if any of them ever got over it. Sometimes years will pass without any of the characters seeing or hearing from each other and they will still spend their days pining away in the hopes that they will see each other again.
I guess the whole thing just starts to feel really melodramatic and contrived to me. Nobody ever sees their old boy/girlfriend after x number of years to discover that they have moved on and gotten over them. Much hijinx ensue but in the end the character that is telling the story always ends up with the person whom they most obsess over.
This is getting into uncharted territory here – I really don’t remember the books from here out and the next one is the last one that I’ve read before – but it feels to me that Heimerdinger is slipping a little. The stories are still full of grand adventure and great historical and scriptural detail. This book was fun but frustrating. That frustrating bit of saccharine tidiness that puts every character where they are the happiest in the end is what I find to be the biggest detriment to these books being really good rather than generally entertaining.