Running away from an arranged marriage to a fat, old man, Solie is captured by King Alcor's soldiers. She is to be used as bait to lure a prized battl...moreRunning away from an arranged marriage to a fat, old man, Solie is captured by King Alcor's soldiers. She is to be used as bait to lure a prized battle sylph through the portal for the king's only son. Instead of being a sacrifice, Solie winds up being bound to the young battler, because she was the first to name him. When he first heard his name called, "Heyou" knew he was gazing upon his queen, and he would defend her to his death. After leaving the chamber in ruins, and killing Solie's attackers, Heyou takes Solie and flees to safety. Only there is very little safety to be found in this treacherous, barbaric land.
I was extremely surprised by how much I loved this book. This is not my type of normal selection at all, but I was mesmerized by the cover, so I said "Go, ahead. Give it a try." That try turned into a reading marathon, in which I gorged myself on the first three books of the series, almost non-stop. Solie started out as your pretty average village girl. She was a little young for my taste (17), but back in those days, you died young, so it was best to live your life as soon as possible. She was being forced to marry a man her father wanted to curry favor with. Luckily her aunt was an independent, free thinking woman, who had taught Solie the same values. I really liked Solie's character for her spunk and snark attitude. She did at times act like a giggly teenager, but that's what she is in this book.
Heyou has turned out to be one of my favorite characters. He is innately fierce and protective, but he is also very young for a battler. He is at times scared and uncertain. His biggest advantage though, is that Solie designs his appearance from the ground up. Sylphs come through the portal in a type of incorporeal form, that can be transformed into any shape. What a lucky girl! If that's not the best thing ever I just don't know what is. In the sylph world, a hive mentality is very much the norm, and males serve and adore their queen. This world just keeps getting better and better. It is a completely matriarchal society. Nirvana! Then they come to this side of the portal and ewwww! Women are more or less chattel. That's not right, let's fix it.
This book is an epic read that I encourage everyone, no matter your genre preferences ,to read. The cast of diverse characters, human and sylph alike, and their journey to find a life that is fair and free from slavery and abuse, is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable ensembles you will find on a book shelf. The action is non-stop. The reader goes to peaks and valleys of emotion that will leave you breathless. I will be updating you on the journey of the sylphs and their human counterparts. It was a journey I plan on taking many times. I hope you join me.(less)
There are once more assassins in the Valley of the Sylph. Presumed to be sent from King Alcor, Leon , as the former head of the king’s security should...moreThere are once more assassins in the Valley of the Sylph. Presumed to be sent from King Alcor, Leon , as the former head of the king’s security should be able to identify them, but Leon and Ril have not returned from their mission to save Lizzie. Without knowing who sent the assassins, Solie is reluctant to kill them. Deception and turmoil seem to be the theme of the day. As someone in the valley is killing battle sylph masters. The peace they had worked so hard to create is now in jeopardy.
I think each book in this series increases the intensity exponentially. This book literally made me sweat, gasp groan, laugh, cry and cuss a lot. Solie and Heyou have matured so beautifully. Although Heyou is still a horndog and a scamp. Solie has adjusted to her role as queen and is thriving under Heyou unwavering affections. *sigh* I want Heyou. This book, while still maintaining the optimistic theme of the first two books, struck me as the darkest book of the series so far. There is a truly insidious villain, that in my opinion gets off way too easily. We’re talking Hannibal Lecter evil. They truly tarnish the enchanting innocence of a great many characters.
Keep in mind, while reading this book, that L.J. McDonald has a penchant for springing surprises on the reader. A couple of things that happened caught me completely off guard. It didn't make me not like the book any less, but I cussed quite a bit. There is still a strong connection to the kingdom that Leon and Ril rescued Lizzie from, and that story plays heavily in this book. Although each book is a stand alone, not having read The Shattered Sylph will impact the readers understanding of Queen of the Sylphs. While this is a darker book, there is a huge payoff as well. There are some very heartwarming occurances. I am just so glad I had the honoring of reviewing this wonderfully unique series. I fervently hope it is a looooong one.(less)
Ril’s first memory of this world was seeing the man known to him as Master and later as Leon. kill his adolescent queen before his very eyes. As a Ba...more Ril’s first memory of this world was seeing the man known to him as Master and later as Leon. kill his adolescent queen before his very eyes. As a Battle Sylph bound to a human, he was compelled to obey Leon's every command. For many years Ril was bound to the form of a large red tailed hawk, unable to speak or walk as a man. He hated Leon with an unholy fury, but Ril held no animosity towards females. Hearing Leon’s wife cry out in pain, Ril rushed to her side. It was this night that Ril met Lizzy, Leon’s oldest daughter. At the moment of her birth, Ril knew she was his. Injured in a battle, Ril is permanently crippled and now has pulled away from Lizzie, who is now blossoming into a mature woman. Hurt and angered by Ril’s distance, Lizzy becomes closer to Justin, who intends to wed Lizzie. When Lizzie is abducted by pirates and sold as a harem slave, Leon and Ril must mend their differences and come together to find a daughter and a mate.
I read this book immediately after The Battle Sylph, so Ril’s devastating injuries were still fresh in my mind, as was his enduring love of Lizzie. I will admit that Ril was one of my favorite battlers. He was the most damaged of the three I became attached to in the first book. This book is several years in the future and their sylph valley is growing and starting to realize it’s potential. There are still many, many roadblocks, and more than enough enemies. The majority of the story takes place in a foreign land. Forcing the men looking for Lizzie into close quarters at times. There are a lot of attitude adjustments and forgiveness needed before things can be made right.
There are a ton of new elements added to the series both in the valley and abroad. It kept me turning the pages even though I was desperately in need of sleep. This author has the ability to keep you glued to the pages to the detriment of even your health. This series is JUST that compelling. I was swigging expresso and Red Bulls with ibuprofen just to keep my eyes open. I had to make sure Ril would be OK. I was that heavily invested. I truly did not believe the first book could be improved upon. It was. This book was a more intense but easier read because I knew so many of the players and where they had been. I defy you to read these books and not be effected. It is not a possibility.(less)