Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley | Book Review *Minor Spoilers*

Fantasyland #2
First Published: 2011
Adult, Fantasy Romance
Circe Quinn goes to sleep at home and wakes up in a corral filled with women wearing sacrificial virgin attire - and she is one of them. She soon finds out that she’s not having a wild dream, she’s living a frightening nightmare where she’s been transported to a barren land populated by a primitive people and in short order, she’s installed very unwillingly on her white throne of horns as their Queen.
Dax Lahn is the king of Suh Tunak, The Horde of the nation of Korwahk and with one look at Circe, he knows she will be his bride and together they will start The Golden Dynasty of legend.
Circe and Lahn are separated by language, culture and the small fact she’s from a parallel universe and has no idea how she got there or how to get home. But facing challenge after challenge, Circe finds her footing as Queen of the brutal Korwahk Horde and wife to its King, then she makes friends then she finds herself falling in love with this primitive land, its people and especially their savage leader.
Immediately upon finishing Wildest Dreams, I picked this one up. And I'm glad to say I enjoyed it as much as its predecessor, even if I still had the same qualms and issues. And a few new ones. It seems like this series is a true guilty pleasure for me.

One night, Circe goes to sleep in her bed on our modern world. She wakes up in a pen filled with woman on a different world. Soon, she finds out she's in the "wife hunt", a tradition of a warring nation in which the warrior's of The Horde hunt, fight for and "claim" a beautiful woman as their bride. This claiming, for someone who is not Korwahk, is rape.

So this is something you need to bare in mind going into this book. The main character is going to get raped in the first couple of chapters by her love interest. It's not graphic or scarring in any way (for you need to then fall in love with their love story, and you can hardly do that haunted by that scene), but it's there. And while the book definitely doesn't encourage rape, it does its best to explain this was not rape in their eyes, for the woman of their nation chosen for this hunt are happy and excited for this chance, and its "their way". It's an integral part of their culture. Still, rape is rape.

So in order to enjoy this love story, you'll need to set that aside. You will need to accept this part of the culture and shake it off along side Circe. I did so, even if occasionally I got very uncomfortable with it all, and I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the romance.

It feels weird typing these words, though. "Shake off rape". But you kind of can't help it when Circe does it so readily, when the book spends its time showing you Lahn is not a bad guy but a loving guy and such is his people's way and it's not done out of malice (for most of them, anyway).

And Lahn is a good guy. He loves his wife, but more than that he is proud of his wife. Proud of who she is and the fight she has in her, proud to call her his and proud to be called hers. And you kind of have to love that, because there is nothing sexier than a man being proud of his wife's accomplishments. Also, he's hard core alpha-male cave-man brute. You ladies know you love one.

So, yes. Despite the shaky start, despite everything, I adored these two together. I loved how they were and I loved they were ready to make concessions for each other. It's an adjustment for them both, but adjust they do. And they do it scorching hot.

Not to mention, Ashley clearly worked a lot on this book, creating it's own language, with its own rules and grammar. Kudos to that, that takes a lot of effort.

But just like in the first book, Circe sounded a lot younger than her 35 years in her inner monologues and the excessive usage of "cool" and "awesome" and the likes. Not to mention the massive descriptions of clothing and jewelry were still very excessive and I skimmed them. In a way, she sounded a lot like Finnie in her slang and mannerism, which is not the best when you're trying to create two separate heroines, but I can't deny I loved her despite this

It's been a long while since I've binge read a series, but this is exactly what this series made me do. Something tells me it might have the same effect on you guys *wink*

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