Author: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
This post was revised and updated on 9/22/14 to include a review of Accidentally…Over?, the fifth and FINAL novel in this series. That review appears first, followed by reviews of all of the previous novels and novellas in the series.
5 (NOVEL): "Accidentally…Over?"
As the final novel begins, Cimil and Roberto are capturing all of the gods and goddesses and imprisoning them in order to prevent them from starting the battle that will lead to doomsday. As the final step in her mysterious, crazy, disorganized plan, Cimil has a task for Máax. First, Cimil warns Máax that in twenty years, after a series of ten global earthquakes, "Cities topple. We go to war. Our allies and humans take sides, Everything is destroyed." (p. 12) She then claims to have had a prophetic vision in which Máax once more breaks the no-time-traveling rule by going back "a few teeny tiny decades, to 1993, find a certain chicky-boo, and make sure she doesn't croak prematurely." (p. 14) Máax's job is to watch over Ashli, who is the Chosen One—the only person who can prevent the apocalypse and save the world. Of course, Cimil holds back a number of very important details, including the fact that Ashli is Máax's soul mate. She lets him discover that himself. Before Máax heads off to complete his task, Cimil cautions him that Ashli must remain exactly where she is in time and place—1993 Mexico—and that Máax can't take any shortcuts or make any adjustments in Ashli's life because that would completely change the outcome of the prophecy. He just has to keep her alive for twenty years so that she can stop the world from ending—a simple task, right? Well…no, because Ashli appears to have a death wish.
Ashli runs a small cafe in a tiny Mexican coastal village where she lives in her late parents' house—actually, more of a beach shack than a house, where she wallows in misery and guilt and works her fingers to the bone. She spends her days blaming herself for her parents' deaths, mourning them deeply, and wishing that she could see them once again. At one point, Máax tells Ashli that she is an emotional hermit who lives in the past. Ashli hates change of any kind and actually would be much more comfortable in the past than in the future. When Máax arrives in Mexico, Ashli is both afraid of and attracted to this seven-foot-tall invisible man who tilts her life upside-down while simultaneously turning her into a puddle of lust, so she alternately runs away from him and gropes his sexy, transparent body. Unfortunately for Máax, Ashli keeps getting killed or nearly killed: running in front of a bus, cracking her head open on a concrete step, going into anaphylactic shock after a bee sting, choking on a bite of bread, etc.
Máax soon begins to believe that the Universe wants Ashli dead, but neither of them can figure out why. Here, he explains the difficulty of his task: "This was like trying to steer an oil tanker through a maze of icebergs while blindfolded. At night. Alone. While doing tequila shots and hopping on one foot." (p. 101) Eventually, Máax convinces himself that he cannot possibly keep Ashli alive for one week, much less twenty years, so he takes matters into his own rule-breaking hands, making changes in Ashli's life that alter the prophecy and leave the world (and the deities) on the brink of doomsday.
The whole transparent lover shtick gets old quickly. Predictably, Ashli figures out that if she covers Máax with an opaque (and sensual) liquid—say caramel syrup—she can see and touch and taste every sexy inch of his man shape (including those all-important 11 inches). P.S….Even though Máax is 70,000 years old, he's still a virgin—a virgin who has either read a bookshelf full of sex manuals or watched a lot of porn.
If you are a zealous fan of the series, you probably like Cimil a lot more than I do and will probably love this book, even with its feeble final showdown scene. For me, the climax, during which Ashli finally does her apocalypse-blocking thing, is a tiny blip—about as exciting and suspenseful as the quick blink of an eye. It's definitely not the zero-hour clash that I was anticipating after the long, drawn-out, dramatic buildup. When it happened, I stopped reading and thought, "Really? That's all you've got?" Even the somewhat interesting explanations for all of the evil deeds committed by Máax and Cimil in previous books weren't enough to make up for my disappointment in the pivotal catastrophe-avoidance scene.
Pamfiloff is planning a new series set in the ACCIDENTALLY YOURS world: IMMORTAL MATCHMAKER, starring Cimil and Zac as matchmakers whose job it is to find mates for all of the deities who haven't yet found their HEAs. I plan to skip that series, mostly because of the presence of Cimil, my least favorite comic character in all of paranormal fiction. Sorry I can't be more objective, but Cimil sets my teeth on edge every single time she appears on the page. Click HERE to read an excerpt on this book's amazon.com page. Just click on the cover art at the top of that page.
Recent college graduate Emma Keane (age 22) has been hearing a mysterious voice in her head since she was a child—a deep, sexy, male voice who drives her to distraction as he constantly antagonizes her, criticizes her every action and refuses to tell her who is really is—so she names him "Guy." Although Guy speaks to Emma mentally, he can't read her thoughts, which seems a bit improbable to me. In order to communicate with him, she must speak her words aloud. Of course, that means that Emma appears to be talking to herself, and that has gotten her into a lot of problems over the years, including a trip to a psychiatrist. As the story begins, Emma's blind date with a handsome, articulate man is interrupted by Guy's voice, and this time Emma gets so angry and distracted that she walks into traffic and is run over by a taxi. When she comes out of a month-long coma, Guy apologizes and tells her that things can't go on this way any longer. He promises to tell her all of his secrets if she will just hop a plane to the jungles of Mexico and rescue him from a magical trap. With the exception of a few flashback chapters, the story is written from Emma's first person point of view, resulting in a whiny, angst-filled interior monologue.
4.5 (NOVELLA): "Accidentally…Cimil?"
In chapter six, we meet Cimil's "future-me," the one that has been causing all the trouble in the previous books. Future-me has a theory that explains why everything Cimil does turns out wrong, and she also believes that if the two of them don't come up with a way to fix this that Cimil will inadvertently cause an apocalypse that destroys the world. I won't tell you their (silly) solution, but I'll give you a major hint: episode 86 of Seinfeld.
Part Two moves ahead to Spain in 1712, where Cimil is juggling relationships with both Narmer (now named Roberto, or as Cimil pronounces it, Rrroberto) and his brother, Philippe, leader of the villainous Obscuros (bad vampires). Narmer confesses that he has been obsessed with Cimil since the day he met her. "I've spent thousands of years searching for the answers—what I am, how I was truly created, why no matter how many women I sleep with or drink from, I feel emptier by the day….Perhaps I have never really truly gotten over you...I ask that you give me thirty days to discover the truth, and if I am correct to help me find a way to break this curse." (chapter 7) Cimil accepts his request, but adds a number of pay-back conditions designed to completely humiliate Narmer/Roberto.
Epilogue: As you can guess, Cimil and Narmer find true love (finalized in the Epilogue), but the apocalypse problem doesn't get solved in this story. That will have to wait until Accidentally…Over?, the final book in the series. Towards the end, future-Cimil commiserates: "I wish I could remember how I specifically triggered the apocalypse. Maybe then, you could avoid doing that one particular thing." (chapter 10)
If you have been following the series, this novella answers long-standing questions about Cimil's outrageous behavior: why she has been helping the bad guys, why she appears to be talking to herself all the time, and how her heart was broken so many thousands of years ago—and by whom. The novella includes a glossary with an inclusive list of character definitions. The story line and the characters are just as silly as ever, but on the whole, I must admit that this series has been quite entertaining. Click HERE to go to this book's amazon.com page where you can click on the cover art and read the prologue and first chapter.