Rowena and the Dark Lord by Melodie Campbell presents a fast paced and fun loving romp through a magical fantasy world called Lands End. The snarky female-centric style of the novel mixes a girls-night-out cocktail of independent women tangoing with macho warriors who don't listen to their girlfriends.
The novel continues the story begun in Rowena Through the Wall in which a veterinarian named Rowena who lives in Arizona magically shifts into another fantasy world where she finds romance, a husband, and a devil worshipping lover. No, they aren't all the same person. Women keeping their options open when it comes to men is a theme of the novel as Campbell playfully injects a liberated female attitude into a world where men are "protectors" and think they are in charge of everything.
Rowena is in love with Thane, but they aren't together for most of the story. She's busy avoiding Cedric, the Lucifer worshipping sorcerer who is likely the father of her unborn child. He exerts his power over Rowena to make her want him even though she knows better. She's undeniably attracted to him, but not entirely interested in being his queen if she can avoid it.
Rowena and the Dark Lord is a splendidly complicated and whimsical play date in a fantasy setting. The author tosses in ridiculous twists and turns and pulls it off. The action flows smoothly. In fact Campbell has an enviable ability to maintain an upbeat narrative that strung together scenes effortlessly. Something is always happening, and Rowena's shining personality is pleasant and sympathetic.
Much of the humor of the novel is at the expense of the male gender. It's decidedly a women's novel, and I'll admit to chuckling at the relentless portrayal of men as thoughtless brawlers intent on their next mug of ale, war, and bedroom encounter.
For pleasant fairy tale flavor updated with a modern female outlook, Rowena and the Dark Lord offers unfailing entertainment. It's a madcap comedy and you'll never know what will happen next.