Reign & Ruin
Mages of the Wheel, book 1
J. D. Evans
Before this, I’d never read a romance, much less a fantasy romance. Sure, I’d read fantasy and Sci-Fi with romantic elements, but that’s not quite the same. As a dude, I’m not supposed to enjoy romance, you know – it’s for girls, and all that.
Except, well, that’s bullshit. I knew it was bullshit, but I stayed away from it anyway, because I didn’t expect I’d enjoy it, because…
Anyway, this past summer, I took part in a reading challenge, and I set myself a goal to read outside of my comfort zone. I’d heard good things about this one, and I decided that I’d give it a go. I don’t believe in book cooties, so the worst that could happen is that I wouldn’t enjoy it.
Thing is, I really did enjoy it, I went on to read the second and third books, and I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth.
It’s a great story.
It’s well written and well told.
It’s exciting and interesting, and the romance aspect feels like a very natural part of story.
The backdrop to the romance is one of political intriguing and maneuvering. The main character, Naime, is heir to the sultanate, and she needs to fend off the plotting and scheming of the court in order to claim and hold on to her birthright. There’s also a war brewing, and then there’s a man…
Summed up like this, it sounds perhaps a bit cheesy, but when you’re experiencing the story alongside Naime, it’s anything but.
What I’ll whine about:
I would have liked to see more of the political backstabbing and intriguing. Perhaps it’s unfair of me, as that’s not the main focus of the story, but what was there was good, and I’d have enjoyed a bit more of it.
The steamy scenes went on a little too long. There weren’t that many of them, though, and it’s part of what’s expected of the genre.
What I’ll gush about:
Well, obviously I really enjoyed the book. Naime and Makram (the man) are great characters and seeing the story through the eyes of both of them made for a nice contrast.
The writing. The story is very well written. Smooth, easily readable prose with just the right mix of action, description, and conversation.
The magic. The concept of the wheel, and the complimenting/opposing spokes of magic is really interesting. The way a person’s magic affects them as they wield it adds an extra dimension to the characters in the book.
Stories are about characters. Characters have feelings and emotions, and it’s through sharing these feelings that we get to know and relate to the characters. Deep and personal feelings create a deeper bond to the character you’re reading about. See where I’m going with this?
If you’re even the least bit curious about fantasy romance, this is a great introduction to the genre.