This story was nothing short of a joy to read. It’s always refreshing to get totally immersed in a story without being jarred back to reality by misspellings, grammar goofs and other writing faux pas. As a self-declared grammar Nazi, I truly appreciated a book that has been so well-written and meticulously edited. But this is certainly not the only thing I loved about this book.
The characters jump right into your heart, at least the good ones. I love the cover, which captures the spirit of Prince Valerian so beautifully. He as well as sweet Mercy and many other supporting characters are not only convincing but very human with dreams, aspirations and hopes beset with tremendous obstacles, making it easy to connect with them emotionally. Their struggles are at times heart-rending as these genuinely goodhearted, god-fearing individuals are forced to confront situations where they’re forced to make a decision that runs against their beliefs, vows and principles. Moral dilemmas make any story more interesting while providing plenty of internal conflict and philosophical fodder as well. Nothing draws reader sympathy like making your characters suffer and suffer they truly do, through no fault of their own.
Not all of the characters are good, of course, and this one includes a villain who’s ruthless and beyond evil. His actions and intent sets your hair on end as you wonder what this devious slimeball is going to do next to make the hero and heroine miserable, up to and including making attempts on their respectively lives, as he furthers his own agenda.
Which brings me to the suspense, an element that’s superbly sustained throughout. This is reinforced by the fact that the good guys are not spared hardships, injuries or in some cases, death, making it more true to life than some where the protagonist and his cronies border on omniscient super-heroes who miraculous escape any sort of physical threat. This is a dangerous world where sedition is but part of a brutal war being waged against an enemy that reminded me more of the creatures in the “Alien” movies that starred Sigourney Weaver than a species of dragon. But there are dragons as well, some good, some not.
Fantasy fans will find a familiar world, one with a medieval flavor that includes royalty, castles, knights, ladies and dragons. The main characters have some magical traits, but nothing beyond what some possess in real life such as the ability to heal or communicate via telepathy. There are no magic swords beyond their significance as a connection to the past, which is richly represented in the well-developed culture. Their language is familiar, reminiscent of Olde English with a few variations that bring additional personality and color to the characters.
This story has enough elements to satisfy fantasy buffs, but they’re low key and realistic enough for those who simply enjoy a good tale with plenty of suspense and, of course, romance. The ending is satisfying but certainly leaves room for a sequel as new challenges await, throwing a few shadows into the “happily ever after” conclusion. I highly recommend this story to anyone seeking a journey back in time to a fantasy world that’s truly believable along with plenty of action and suspense. Pick up your copy in Kindle or print format at the link below.