It's Bonus Book Review Saturday, and I'm glad to be getting back to traditional fantasy after the last few books!
Samantha's ability enables her to discern a person's character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek's makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake.
Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha's arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek's powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.
My Review: 4 Stars
I have to say that I enjoyed this book! It was a solid read, and though I can't give it five stars (a few too many problems), it was one that made me want to read the sequel.
About the problems:
The book was VERY long! Something like 900 kindle pages. Ain't nobody got time for that! It was hard for me to sit through it all.
There were a few issues with head-hopping--switching POV improperly. There were also a few typos and grammar mistakes. Not too bad, but enough to make me take notice.
The flashbacks were done a bit poorly. They didn't make a lot of sense, and were a bit unclear.
The ending was fairly predictable--this is typical high fantasy, after all--but I enjoyed it. I was genuinely glad to see the villain get what was coming to them, and felt relieved that the pair of heroes saved the day.
I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good read, and who has A LOT of time on their hands.
As a bonus, Book 2 just came out this week.
The Soul Stone
Crown Princess Samantha and Sir Robrek struggle to solidify their rule in the aftermath of the king’s murder and Duke Argblutal’s attempt to usurp the throne. They are thwarted at every turn by those who seek power for themselves and desire to prevent their marriage. Just when they think their problems are solved, a deadly curse begins to spread throughout Korthlundia and Samantha becomes pregnant.
Samantha must fight off priests, enemies, and her closest advisors while Robrek discovers the reason the goddess chose him as king, to defeat the Soul Stone, a stone capable of sucking the soul out of its victims, which threatens to obliterate all life in the joined kingdoms. Their archenemy, the Bard Alvabane, awakens the Soul Stone and plans to use its power to reclaim Korthlundia for her people (a people driven out over a thousand years ago by the hero Armunn). Armunn had to sacrifice his life and soul to contain the Soul Stone. Will Robrek have to do the same? Will the young couple have only a few short months to love each other?
Here's a Taste:
Robrek led the princess through the corridors toward her quarters, the princess leaning against him, giggling, and singing a verse from one of the ballads:
“But who will bake my bridal bread,
Or brew my bridal ale?
And who will welcome my brisk bride,
That I bring over the dale?"
Her bodyguards had to show him the way; she was in no condition to do so. The two men Captain Hawk had appointed were still following him. Both they and Bearach and Conroy stopped at the door to Samantha’s quarters. Robrek followed Samantha in.
When they were alone in her bedroom, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. Gently, he pushed her away. “You’re drunk, Sam.”
She clung to his shirt. “Please, Robbie, make love to me. Touch me like you did last night in my tent.”
Despite himself, his body responded, and he wanted nothing so badly as to give in. But it wouldn’t be right. “Sam, I can’t take advantage of you when you’re like this.”
Abruptly, she collapsed sobbing against his shirt. “Robbie, I feel so alone. They’re gone! Both of my fathers are gone!”
He led her to the bed. He lay down beside her and let her soak his shirt with her tears. Holy Sulis, she’s lost so much.
At least she was crying now. It seemed inhuman to withstand so much loss with dry eyes. He wouldn’t have been able to.
After a long while the sobs subsided and were replaced by a soft snore. She’d fallen asleep on his chest. He gently extricated himself and stood. For the first time, he looked around her room. One entire wall was covered by a painting of a princess, resembling Samantha, riding a Horsetad. Horsetads ran free on the Reidhlean plains, and people said they could never be tamed. Robrek had never known anyone other than himself who had ridden one. He thought of Wild Thing, his Horsetad mare, down in the palace stables, and he reached out to her with his magic. She was sleeping contentedly in the paddock and didn’t want to be disturbed.
Besides the painting, the room held two huge wardrobes, carved with horses and stars in intricate detail. He opened them and found them full to bursting with dresses in silk and satin, lace and velvet, so many she could wear a different one every day for an entire year. Robrek shook his head. Although his father had been considered wealthy by those in the Valley, Robrek had never had more than a couple changes of clothes. Figurines of horses in gold, silver, jade, crystal, and precious stones arrayed themselves on the mantle. Ten years’ proceeds from his father’s crops couldn’t have afforded one of them.
Last night the princess had had him leave her tent before dawn—they’d been camped at the base of Gloine Torr waiting for today’s battle—so it wouldn’t be known they’d slept together. Tonight he didn’t know where to go. Robrek left the princess and walked into her reception room. A life-sized horse made of smoked crystal dominated one corner. It had a gold mane, tail, and hooves and wore a gold saddle studded with emeralds. On the wall was a huge tapestry of a white mare at the edge of the forest, helping her newborn foal stand. The mare reminded him of Roberta, the horse he’d helped Samantha choose at the horse fair where they first met. The mantle was covered with more horse figurines. There was enough wealth in this room to support the entire Valley for a hundred years.
What in Sulis’s name am I doing here?
Not wanting to wrinkle his bronze silks by sleeping in them, he removed them and placed them over a chair. Then he wrapped himself in a blanket and fell asleep on the rug in front of the fire.
About the Author:
Jamie Marchant lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband, son, and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. Her first novel The Goddess's Choice
was released in April 2012 from Reliquary Press. She released Demons in the Big Easy
in January 2013. The sequel to The Goddess’s Choice
, titled The Soul Stone
, will be released in June 2015 from Black Rose Writing. Her short fiction has been published in the anthologies--Urban Fantasy
and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds
—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven,
Find Book 1 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Goddesss-Choice-Jamie-Marchant-ebook/dp/B007VPA9R6/
Find Book 2 on Black Rose Writing: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/sci-fifantasy/the-soul-stone
Read Jamie's thoughts on her Website: http://jamie-marchant.com/
And Blog: http://jamie-marchant.blogspot.com/
Chat her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamie-Marchant- Author/164706710298768
Tweet at her: @RobrekSamantha