Author Name & Publisher: Natasja Hallenthal (Beyond Books Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 29, 2015 – 310 pgs
Two decades ago a great deafening silence entered the world. Since then, the winds have mysteriously vanished. And with the disappearing of the wind, the magic held by the once mighty, immortal Sky Whisperers was shattered. Their influence over the natural world lost. Now only the small powers are left to Xenthia and her people, helping to sustain life––what little remains. For the world of Lorian is dying.
All Nemsa has ever known is a world without wind.
Strangely, the winds stayed away around the day of her birth, twenty five years ago, setting off a chain of disastrous events including a fatal sickness. And for that the girl is both tormented and shunned.
Unaware of her involvement in this, she leads a small, miserable life in a mountain village, close to where she was found as a baby.
She wants nothing more than to find out to why there is no wind. And why the Gods have seemingly forgotten about them.
That tiny spark starts a fury of change when one day Nemsa meets alluring Xenthia––a mystifying Sky Whisperer––and it becomes clear that Nemsa’s path lies far above all she is familiar with. Beyond her village and the Lower Sky, past the red, dusty mountains even, and up to the unknown lands of the Upper Sky Dome to the realm of the Sky Whisperers. But, even with her true heritage revealed, how can crippled and one-eyed Nemsa’s destiny be linked with that of the much older, immortal Sky Whisperer she grows fonder of by the day? What is expected of her? More so––how can frail Nemsa ever hope to stand up against the supremacy of a vengeful, ambitious Sun Whisperer? Will the courage in her heart be enough?
Magic is at work, a fatal sickness is spreading among mortals and immortals alike, the sun is brutally beating down, and the fate of all hangs in the balance. And if Nemsa is to fulfil her destiny and save the world, she must find her way through it all…
Follow Nemsa and Xenthia in this Epic, Dystopian, NA Lesbian Fantasy tale of courage, interracial love, redemption, and hope
I found the story very ponderous and it was a struggle to keep my interest at times . Nemsa slowly finds out about her past, her parents and how their actions had affected the world. I felt it took way too long to get there and maybe it should have been more strictly edited. It was a good enough story, just too meandering . The growing attraction between Nemsa and her sentinel Xenthia was very slow too. It was all very subtle but ultimately led to a passionate and loving relationship. The pace needed to be quicker though.
The journey Nemsa and Xenthia take, along with Roux, was interesting and led her to face her father and make choices that would impact them all.
I have to say that I loved the description of this book. And I love the concept of this story. I think that there were a couple of flaws in the execution that kept it from getting a higher rating. This is written in a style that mirrors the retelling of a myth, with the only difference being that the story is told in the first person pov from the two main characters; Nemsa, who believes she is a lame, half-blind foundling living in her village by the grace of her adoptive mother, and Xenthia, one of the gods of the world of Lorian who all humans believe have turned their backs on the world. I know that there are more and more books being written this way, but I have only recently even begun reading books with a first person pov and I cannot emphasize how much I dislike having two or more people narrating in first person. It seems like a cheat, to tell the truth. First person to me means that the story is happening from one person’s point of view, which is why they get to say “I.” Having two or more people be the focus of the story’s narration is “head jumping,” and to me, if you have to do this, you should simply write the story in third person. This is my personal preference, but I simply don’t feel the story is better for being told in both women’s perspectives.
Next, the characters in the book seem to be more archetypal to me than deep. Like our bad guy, Brastalos. He has no redeeming characteristics. He’s simply a bad man, not conflicted at all about the things he’s done. It seems a bit one-dimensional. I have the same problem with Roux’s character. I also had a bit of a problem with the whole plot point of “we have to have sex now or you’ll die.” While the idea of the Change itself made for an interesting twist, it really reduced the meaning of their first sexual encounter. The only reason I can think that it was put in there at all, was that there had to be some reason for them to have sex before the final confrontation with Brastalos. Basically, it made what should have been a special, meaningful encounter into a cheap plot device. Also, the way Nemsa held onto what she considered Xenthia’s betrayal seemed naive and immature. The whole trek to confront Brastalos, Nemsa wowed Roux and Xenthia, and even the Singing Mountain and the Sky Terror, with her maturity and wisdom, and yet when one person doesn’t live up to her image of perfection, Nemsa almost throws everything away.
In all, I’m left feeling a bit ambiguous about the book. In some ways, it seemed a bit too simplistic, but I still loved the idea of the story.
Ms Hellenthal is not human. She is a novelist, eco-warrior, animal lover, vegan and her hobbies include outdoor activities such as hiking, wild camping, organic farming, swimming and cycling. She lives in the Pyrenees, South of France, co-parents two small children and has two dogs and a cat who all follow her around the house at the same time.
If there is any time left she writes speculative fiction that entertain people but at the same time makes them think. Her work has been described as ‘thought-provoking’. Her writing is about change, freedom, advocating for lgbt equality and animal welfare.
In her writing she also deals with big psychological and ethical themes and struggles of life such as death, love and loss, abuse and the consequences of our actions. She tries to build strong characters as realistic as possible, for even though the genre is Fantasy she wants people to feel connected with her heroes and villains as they would with their real life people.
‘The Queen’s Curse’ was her debut novel and has been a Canadian and Australian Best-Seller.
It’s an epic, heroic Spiritual/Paranormal Fantasy novel in the old tradition, yet with original and surprising elements. It attracts attention from a wide range of people, both straight and gay as it deals with many issue’s such as: justice/injustice, power, lesbian romance, freedom, adventure, magic, immortality, intrigue, soul searching, love, life, loss and near death experience.
In this book the author explores more than the ancient battle between good and evil so common in Fantasy literature. What is evil really, and how does someone become ‘bad’? Her books are available for Kindle and in Paperback.
Ms Hellenthal is influenced by writers such as Tanith Lee, Kahlil Gibran and Hermann Hesse.
She is currently working on book three in the Epic Supernatural Fantasy Comyenti Series, book 1, ‘Call Off The Search,’ and the dramatic sequel, ‘Children Of The Sun’ are available both for Kindle and in Paperback.
‘Chained Freedom’– a stand alone fairy-tale for adults as part of the Comyenti Series to give readers a taste– is a free download on Amazon.