Hello, Lovelies! before I start dishing on this book, I want to offer a big CONGRATS! to the winners of this months FAB contests. I'm searching high and low for next months FAB pick and I'm sure dee is doing the same. In the meantime, stay tuned for some great dish and dee's "Hometown Hero Week" coming up shortly. And now, without further ado...
THE STRANGELING by Saskia Walker
One woman alone holds the power...
...to undo the hundred-year-old curse of a deathless army. Maerose, a beautiful and resilient maiden, must repel this evil horde by mating with a man of faith - on Samhain Eve, at the gates of hell. Unleashed, the girl's dormant magic can save the world. But a demonic madman hungry for power threatens to doom them all...
This is the kind of BCC I like. Short and to the point. This kind of BCC leaves little room to misguide the reader to what the pages within contain, and I like that. As I've said before, if more publishers would adopt the less is more approach with the BCC's, I'd have less fodder, but readers would be happier.
When two fierce armies battle it out for the Strangeling (a mystical forest) they destroy each other, but as they lay dying, they agree they would have been much stronger fighting together than against. With that agreement, a curse was set. In one hundred years, the armies would rise again as demons, and rule the world. As their battle draws to an end, one of the elders of Western Tor, Amelia, sees what is to come, and that a maiden, who will come of age when the curse is to come to pass, will have the power to stop it from happening. "She is the heart of the Strangeling,...The daughter of Beltane." "She carries the spirit of summer in her every footstep...and she has the power to undo the curse..." And basically, she has to mate with a man of faith to break the curse.
All of the above information is given to us in the form of a Prologue, and really, you know how I feel about those. I did enjoy reading the prologue, but it was unnecessary. Everything we learn there is told in bits and pieces throughout the book. So while I did enjoy reading it, I think the pacing of the book would have been better without it.
When Maerose is kidnapped from the river while bathing, she finds herself held captive by a madman, Veldor. Initially thinking him an elder, she is doubly confused as to why he is being so cruel. After chaining her to the wall, Veldor makes sure that Maerose understands that he will make her his, and he will use her for his own gain of power.
When Bron senses that Maerose has been taken from Riversbend, he knows right away who is to blame - his once good friend Veldor. Both Bron and Veldor were raised by the elders at Western Tor, both taught how to use the magic that nature provides. They both studied the scrolls that told of the battle at the Strangeling. And they both knew either one of them could be the man of faith that would mate with Maerose on Samhain Eve.
Reaching deep into his magic, Bron rescues Maerose, and explains her destiny as written by the scrolls. But as Maerose and Bron get to know one another and Bron teaches her about his magic and the magic locked inside of her, Veldor also plans. Will Maerose and Bron be able to get to the Strangeling safely and overcome the evil below the earth as well as the evil that is Veldor's heart and desire for power? Will love and faith win? Or will all be be lost to a curse that was never meant to be broken?
I'll admit - I was surprised by how much I enjoyed STRANGELING. It isn't an OMG I cannot put this down kind of book but it is a very entertaining read. Walker creates a very believable world of magic and love. A world where magic is real but used by few. Walker made Maerose a very strong woman, yet at the same time very naive, and it was impressive how she could be both but not make me want to scream.
I also have erotica on my labels and I did so because the sex scenes in this book are very explicit. HOT, but very explicit. Very well written, but once again very explicit. And here is where I tell you that I am an absolute nerd. I'm reading these scenes (and there are a'plenty) and when the POV is Maerose, although the context was far from funny, I found myself giggling. I really did feel like a child at times. And this is NOT the author's fault. With the time frame of the book, the words used had me feeling like a kid caught reading momma's steamy Harlequins. Here's an example of what I mean, "Your teats are full with passion. Touch them for me."
But, STRANGELING is so much more than erotica or magic. At it's heart, STRANGELING shows how believing in ourselves and taking a chance really can pay off. There were also some very quotable moments in the book, and I just wanted to share one of those with you. "The best a couple can do is be strong for each other, if one of them is weak. Each one of us lives life like the ebb and flow of the tides, sometimes waning, sometimes fierce. Ultimately, though, one person cannot be strong all the time; in a couple, or a chain, they will always be strong." Even if the rest of the book would have been a stinker (which is definitely was not), the poetic way Walker weaved those words was enough to make the book a good read.
If you are looking for a straight Romance, you'll be very disappointed in THE STRANGELING. However, if you want a very well written, Erotic Fantasy, this books for you. I know I sure enjoyed it, and hope you will too.