Midnight's Master (Dark Warriors)

Midnight's Master  - Donna Grant 3.5+ starsI know... I know... I said I was giving up on this series, because it jumped the shark for me. And while I won't retract that statement for my review of "The Darkest Highlander", I will say that perhaps it *was* a good idea for Ms. Grant to move the series into the 21st century. Maybe.We last saw Logan Hamilton on a trip to the Isle of Eigg with the Warrior Duncan, who shares a god with his twin Ian. They were trying to locate one of the Druid relics (the Tablet of Orn) that can lead them to Deirdre's twin sister, Laira, the only one who can finally kill Deirdre. The tablet was in the keeping of the massive Druid community on Eigg.But suddenly, Deirdre showed up with her wyrran, some new Warriors that she created, and Malcolm (Larena's cousin). At Deirdre's command, Malcolm murdered Duncan, and a fight began. Except that in the middle of the fight, Deirdre, the wyrran, and Malcolm just vanished - sucked into the future (or so it was decided) by an unknown drough Druid. Logan returned to Castle MacLeod with Duncan's body, only to discover that Ian also vanished about the same time. The Druids at the castle determined that the spell was a time travel spell; they recreated it and sent volunteer Warriors Logan, Arran, Ramsey, and Camdyn time travelling into the future, hopefully into the same time as Deirdre ended up.Turns out Declan Wallace is the drough Druid who brought Deirdre forward in time - into 2011 or thereabouts. Declan has decided that HE is the one in the prophecy to create the uber-child with Deirdre and rule the world. In a humorous turnabout, Deirdre doesn't want anything to do with Declan - I suppose, because she's not interested in sharing anything, and she's likely a little afraid of such a powerful drough. So Declan has her imprisoned until she comes to her senses. Sound familiar, Deirdre? *snicker*Using her wyrrans and her cleverness, Deirdre manages to break away from Declan and return to her beloved Cairn Toul mountain, where she summons her master, the Devil himself. Her master tells her not to be concerned with the relics - that's what almost caused the MacLeods to defeat her and allowed Declan to bring her into the future. Even her master thinks that Deirdre should join with/mate with Declan and let it all be. In this time, most of the Druids are gone, especially the mie Druids. He tells her the Druids at MacLeod Castle are still there, and he warns her that if she doesn't do as he wants, he'll replace her with Declan. Which doesn't seem to stop Deirdre - when has it ever?We discover that Declan has Gary Austin, a professor from Austin University who's obsessed with Scottish artifacts. In particular, an ancient book that Declan owns - a book that can locate the Tablet of Orn, which Declan wants, because it's a Druid artifact. Gary all but abandoned his wife and daughter, Gwynn, for his research. And a few weeks ago, he disappeared. Gwynn is looking for her father in Scotland, where she was able to find the last GPS trace of his cell phone. Gwynn and Gary have had a difficult relationship; mostly, Gary didn't want anything to do with her and treated her horridly. But Gwynn's mother loved him dearly, and her dying wish was for Gwynn and her father to be reconciled. So they started a strained relationship with occasional visits and weekly phone calls; except Gary never told Gwynn anything about visiting Scotland or why he's gone. She's concerned that something's happened to him, and so she tracks him to Mallaig, near the Isle of Eigg, where she meets Logan. Because Logan is still drawn to Eigg - still trying to locate the Tablet of Orn.Logan senses Gwynn's Druid magic, but she's not willing to admit it until she hasn't a choice. Then she remembers that her mother had her "tested" and discouraged her from using her magic - magic on her father's side. While on Eigg, Logan and Gwynn run into an old lady, also a Druid but one with little magic left, who tells them that there is always a Keeper of the book - the Book of Craigan, which, of course, turns out to be Gwynn. I guess not her father, because Gary has joined forces with Declan to translate the book, so he's no longer "pure". But because of that (or because he's not the Keeper), the letters and words keep changing, making the translation process difficult and frustrating both Gary and Declan.Once Gwynn embraces her magic, it flows and grows within her, and she discovers that the wind talks to her. Handy, that. Especially when Logan and Gwynn beard Declan in his lion's den, tracing Declan as the last owner of the book. Despite sensing great evil and danger, they both confront Declan, only to end up in a fight. Logan uses his god's power over water and Gwynn her power of the wind, but Logan is still shot by bullets filled with drough blood. Gwynn knows that he's dying unless she can find Castle MacLeod, but Logan never told her where it was; so her Druid magic takes over and leads her to the castle, where the Druids we know and love heal both Gwynn (also shot) and Logan.Here's my main beef: In spite of the Castle MacLeod occupants living through the last 400 years, there aren't but the children we knew about in the previous books - only 2. Wouldn't you think that the Warriors and their wives would have gotten busy and have a castle-full of kids and grandkids, etc., by now? And why not? Since they've mostly been in hiding without any real enemies to fight, doesn't it make sense to have as many fighters (can't be Warriors, because the gods only pass to the next in line when a Warrior dies) and trained Druids as possible? This made absolutely no sense to me. Had they all been hurled through time, yes. But we don't even get to meet the 2 new kids... they're off doing something somewhere. Which means they're not important at all. Huh. So we're stuck with all the "originals" that we already know. Too bad that.Logan's still carrying around his "darkness", which we learned at the end of the previous book was that he *sought out* Deirdre at Carin Toul to find out if he was a Warrior with a god inside him. She brought his Warrior forward, expecting Logan to work for her; but instead, despite his original intent, Logan turned on Deirdre and has been trying to kill her ever since. But he's stuck with his guilt and shame over asking for something that the other Warriors think of as a curse. Huh. Not such a big, bad thing after all, is it? Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem nearly as dark or as nasty as some of the other Warriors' secrets, like Broc.Anyway... Gwynn and Logan to the rescue. Justice for Gary, who's revealed for who he really is. Deirdre and Declan temporarily defeated. Everyone safe again at Castle MacLeod with the Tablet of Orn and the book. The other 3 Warriors (Arran, Ramsey, and Camdyn) all return to Castle MacLeod at the end, too late to be of any real help. Gee, talk about change your mind as an author? Or just hold out for their stories later?Ian was hurled into the future (time period unknown, but definitely 20th-21st century) onto a mountain covered in snow. He's mostly out of the picture, crawling into a cave to try to heal his injuries and figure out what the heck is going on. The next book in this series is about Ian.Yes, I enjoyed parts of this book. But yes, I'm still cynical and probably heckling the author a bit for her choices. But hey, I bought the book, right? Again the question is, do I continue in the series? Still no answer.