It starts with a bang as Sara is prepared to assassinate the priest of the God of War if he –as she expects–withholds tI thought this novel was great.
It starts with a bang as Sara is prepared to assassinate the priest of the God of War if he –as she expects–withholds the blessing that her father needs as the new Primus of the Republic of Temboria. Withholding his blessing would be a death sentence, and Sara would do anything to protect her small family.
During a narrow escape from a undesirable suitor who drugged her with an aphrodisiac, Sara meets Lance, who she at first mistakes for a slave. She could not have been more wrong. Since she is under the effect of the aphrodisiac, she behaves somewhat (cough) inappropriately, but Lance is the gentleman, and he saves the day and disappears.
How can she help falling in love with him?
Turns out, he’s a Child of Peace. And the next day, her father asks her to become a Child of Peace herself as the Ambassador to Slaveland, aka Kandrith. She also has a secret mission–to learn the secret of Slave Magic, which her father is very afraid of. What follows is an adventurous journey with Lance, at the end of which she learns just what it means to be a Child of Peace, at which time she has to grow up in a hurry.
Nothing goes as you would expect. People you think are loyal turn out to not be so, and people you expect to betray Sara turn out to be steadfast. People you think are pitiless monsters turn out to be good guys, and good guys turn out to be pitiless monsters.
I was worried by the early aphrodisiac scene that this novel would be way more erotic than I expected or desired, but it surprised me. There are sex several scenes, but only after a very long romance building, and they certainly were not excessive. I will call out one rather crude groping; you are warned.
The amazing thing about this book is it is 134,000 words, and yet I read it in just a few days. The character development is amazing, and even a secondary character gets to have a major turnaround. There are surprises in this novel that will keep you guessing until the very last scenes.
And dang–I have not even said anything about the magic system. Suffice it to say that you have never seen anything like this before. It is the most poignant magic system I have ever read. And what about that fabulous escape! It was the best one I’ve read in a great while.
If you like epic fantasy, you will probably like this novel despite the naughty scenes. They are brief. If you like fantasy romance, this is something you will like. I highly recommend it. Five stars!...more
Good story marred by a character misunderstanding that smacked of authorial convenience. Hero too perfect. Even Darcy had flaws! Waldo's only flaw wasGood story marred by a character misunderstanding that smacked of authorial convenience. Hero too perfect. Even Darcy had flaws! Waldo's only flaw was having "Waldo" for a name. I really liked the heroine, Ancilla, but she managed her badly behaved charge, Tiffany, so poorly that she would be a hopeless mother....more
I first cracked the cover of The Other Lands with a great sense of anticipation, and from the first page to the last, David Anthony Durham did not disI first cracked the cover of The Other Lands with a great sense of anticipation, and from the first page to the last, David Anthony Durham did not disappoint.
The Other Lands continues the story of the three royal children of the Akaran family. They are Corinne, who is now queen, Dariel, who could have been king, but let the rule pass to Corinne, and Mena, the warrior princess. There are also several new characters, but it's difficult to introduce some of them without giving spoiling the plot.
Since Corinne resumed the Akaran rule of The Known Lands, the quota trade has continued, but the people have not resumed their dependence on mist, the drug that has kept the populace quiet and happy for hundreds of years. Since the people are sober, they are also restless. They object to sending their children off into an unknown slavery; and they object to crushing Akaran taxes. Corinne has resumed trade relations with the League, and in recompence for Dariel's burning of the League Platforms in the first novel, she has offered them certain lands that might have a warm place in the reader's heart. And they have most diabolical plans for those lands.
Right from the start, the League is up to something. They come to Corinne with a story of a captured spy, a situation that has been the ruination of their trade relationship with the people of the Other Lands. She asks Dariel to go with them to the Other Lands as her emissary. He reluctantly agrees, for they know he is the one who set fire to their platforms in Book 1. Both suspect treachery. Both are right.
Surprises await in the Other Lands, and they are not what you would expect.
I finally picked this up again after some other reading obligations got in the way. I'm hoping to finish reading this before the end of the year. SincI finally picked this up again after some other reading obligations got in the way. I'm hoping to finish reading this before the end of the year. Since I'm only about 150 pages in, this might be an ambitious hope for me. So far, very good....more
Every once in a while, I need to take a break from debuts and read something by a seasoned writer. I have not read a Holly Lisle book since the 90s, wEvery once in a while, I need to take a break from debuts and read something by a seasoned writer. I have not read a Holly Lisle book since the 90s, when I read The Secret Texts trilogy. After finishing Grimspace, I looked for something different. And since Tor has been filling up my to-read pile with lots of nice hardcovers, I thought I'd choose something from that stack. Lisle was the most familiar to me.
Holly Lisle has published thirty or so novels. She is famous for being very supportive of aspiring writers, and her website is a treasure trove of information. You can tell just by looking at her site that wow, she's been writing for quite a while.
CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS by Laura Benedict is a supernatural suspense, a genre that I only touch lightly here at Fantasy Debut. Usually, I like heroiCALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS by Laura Benedict is a supernatural suspense, a genre that I only touch lightly here at Fantasy Debut. Usually, I like heroic tales of high adventure, which this book is decidedly not. But I loved it anyway. I couldn't put it down.
CALLING is a complex tale about three women, Alice, Roxanne and Del. Alice is the ultimate follower--she would do anything that her hero, Roxanne, says. Roxanne relishes this power, and like all power, it corrupts her. Del is Roxanne's supportive best friend. And Roxanne is the only thing that keeps the three of them together. The story starts when they are thirteen-year-old girls. Roxanne cooks up a ritual--a spell--that will bring them a boyfriend. Del thinks they're just playing. Alice knows they're not.
Jump ahead about twenty years to a very unpleasant character, a young man named Dillon. Dillon has just had a car accident with a well-dressed man with an unusual name--Verick. It turns out that Dillon's sister is Thad's lover. Who is Thad? Thad is Alice's husband. And Verick has targeted Dillon for a reason. The whole book is like this. All these little connections that don't become obvious until many pages later. It was like trying to trace a spider's web. Not just any spider--a black widow. Which spins a web that looks like nothing more than a tangle of silk.
And then we have Romero, who turns out to be a former priest. Who turns out to have been a teacher where young Alice, Roxanne and Del went to school. And we have the sin that drew them all together years ago. And another sin that brings them together once again, years later.
One thing interesting about the horror genre is that it is not afraid to work with Christian elements. This novel has many Christian elements, unapologetically presented. It also has elements of Santeria, which is a blend of Christian saint worship and West African religious traditions. Satan is a character in this novel, and he is absolutely chilling. CALLING is about a deal with the devil--and not the sort of deal you might suspect. And it doesn't have the sort of punishments you might expect. Not all of the sinners die--and not all of the good characters live.
CALLING is not for the faint of heart. It is not a happy book. I would have preferred that there not be so many deaths at the end, but the author knew when to stop. I expected another death, but he lived. The author may take some heat for underage sex here--underage sex with an adult man--but I think she handled it well. But there is a hero by the end after all-someone I never expected. Bravo for him. It was great.
This is the sort of novel that I like to read again in order to find answers that eluded me the first time. It's one for the keeper shelf....more