The Continent of Gaia is split into four quadrants; N’Gasse, Tapin, Daháka, and Ravenrock. Years previous to our tale, the rulers of these great lands had joined forces to defeat the Wyldebeasts of the Black East, horrible creatures that were ravaging the lands. After combining their magic’s, they created the powerful Green Rose to help them win their war and then erected the Eastern Wall to keep the creatures from ever returning.
For 800 years, the wall had kept the beasts away and Gaia safe. But now, a traitorous mage from the Kingdom of Tapin has cracked the wall wide open and taken two of the realms rulers’ prisoner. The demands are simple; Give the Mage the Green Rose or both Kings will die.
It soon becomes apparent that Centuries of peace has led to complacency and the Rose has become a neglected heirloom. It is left to Prince Sophie of Tapin and Crown Prince Ivan of Daháka, to journey to find the Rose and free their Fathers. But there are many traitors within the Land and the perils that they both face are many. With the attraction between them threatening to become a distraction, can they keep the relationship between them professional enough to complete their quest?
Sometimes, I read something so different and refreshing I can do nothing but give it a full 5 star rating. I confess, I don’t read much romantic fantasy, but this was so well structured and so lovely, I could not put it down. It took me a chapter or so to get my head round the world-building (there was a 10 minute verbal recap to my completely uninterested DH at one point, just to make I fully understood) but after that I was hooked.
This world is very feudal in structure. Each land has a royal family, a mage and several “houses”. Each of the lands is completely separate and classed people from the other lands as “foreigners”. Each house was represented by an animal and some members of the houses (classed as elite) had the ability to “bond” with an animal that represented them. These bonded human-familiar pair were then joined for life, destined to hear each other’s thoughts and feel each other’s pain. I loved this aspect of the story. Sophie was bonded to a Falcon, as it was the animal of her house, and Ivan was bonded to a Dragon. The relationship between them was so comforting to read about; they were never alone, always had a protector and a being to talk to, and the animal was revered and protected. The animals had a massive part to play in this tale and I found the plot-line incredibly engaging and unique. The way you could tell a person was bonded was they took on the animals eyes….this kind of freaked me out a little (a woman with Falcon eyes?).
Our couple were an interesting mix and reading about them was so incredibly sweet. Sophie is the young, feisty Princess, who has been trained, since the age of 5, to defend herself and her Kingdom. She could stand up for herself, actually had ideas that aided in resolving the situation and didn’t allow Ivan to dismiss her experience and knowledge. On the other hand, although she was very experienced in the art of War, she was not very experienced in affairs of the heart. She had no frame of reference when it came to dealing with the sheer sexuality that Ivan oozed, only ever having had a relationship with her ex-fiancée (a complete prat). She struggled with her feelings, often getting into situations where she would end up pulling away from him completely through flinging herself into unfamiliar territory without caution. She is an incredible passionate person to read about and I enjoyed the way she threw herself into all situations fully.
Ivan was a man who had no qualms about his experience in either war or romantic entanglements. I enjoyed the way that he allowed her space to become comfortable with the idea of sleeping with him, even when he was physically in pain with frustration. He didn’t push, just showed her what she allowed him to, and then backed off. I loved the way he tried to make the Falcon comfortable with him as he tried to become a more consistent fixture in her life. Watching him manoeuvre her, and her rather unfriendly bird, into unfamiliar relationship territory, so carefully, was yummy to read about. The sex scenes weren’t quite so sweet, filled with lust and passion. They certainly affected my blood pressure