Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Battle Sylph by L.J. McDonald
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
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 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.