He's a ruler in a divided world...
In a magical watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com'nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.
She's an outcast, but at least she has her independence...
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn't think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of Sea Forest, Mahri knows that she has a chance to change the fate of her people...
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Single Title/Series: BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS is a single tile novel.
Cover Thoughts: Love it! The enchanting teals and greens convey the colorful wonders of the book's setting brilliantly.
Why I Read It: I received an Advanced Review Copy from the publisher.
Quick Note: BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS is a reissue of the original 2003 publication by Five Star under the same title.
Mahri Zin will not take no for an answer because this time she's not even going to bother to ask. Instead, she's going to kidnap the Healer she needs in order to save all that remains of her family from the fever that's succeeded in killing before. Known in Sea Forest as a Wilding, Mahri has the rogue genetic ability to channel Power from zabba root, a harvested poison that opens the mind to the world's micro elements which can than be manipulated. In a society where knowledge and Power are hoarded by the Royals, people like Mahri smuggle and harvest what they can of the root in secret. But no amount of Power can help Mahri defeat the fever that's come back to haunt her village.
Thinking she's plucked a mere novice healer from the city, Mahri soon discovers - much to her distraught inconvenience - that she's kidnapped a Royal. Crown Prince Korl manages to still give off an infuriating air of arrogance while bound and gagged in her boat but Mari resolves to simply ignore what proves to be a hypnotizing beauty and charge ahead to the village. But no sooner does Mahri begin to make headway avoiding the striking image of her captive when he starts surprising her on the most fundamental levels. Time and again Korl proves his compassion for life, even for a lowly water rat like herself. He compels her heart to acknowledge him and open to the vulnerabilities of loving again. But when an overdose of root causes new pathways to construct in her mind, new and terrifying wonders open to Mahri's sight.
When the previously unseen and unknown natives of Sea Forest unveil themselves to Mahri after her newly found abilities with zabba root, their revelations come at a steep cost. They want Mahri to join with Korl, the Prince of Changes as they call him, and help him familiarize the people with the amazing connected world that has been opened to her own eyes. They want equality with minimal to no power distance and they want Mahri to do everything she can to make this happen. As a being that prizes her independence, Mahri staunchly resists what she feels is the natives manipulating ways at getting what they want. The allure of Korl must merely be a trick on their part to compel Mahri's wild heart into loving him, into giving up all her independence for him. But despite her desperate refusals, fate seems to have a different plan in mind as events unfold that continue to push Mahri and Korl together. And while Mahri can admit that her attraction to Korl is fierce, she's determined to withhold her heart from the man who is just as determined to claim it.
My Final Thoughts:
Told entirely from Mahri's point of view, the reader is sadly subjected to the overwhelming stubbornness exhibited by what could have been a very complex and interesting heroine. Mahri will soon have even the most patient of readers beating this book against their skull as she proves her willful stubbornness time and again. All and all, I've come to see Mahri as a coward. Yes, her past tragedies are incredibly tragic and yes her intrinsic nature makes her extremely wary to compromise her independence but in the face of Korl's incredible kindness and patience, Mahri is soon perceived simply as childish and to be honest, just down right hurtful.
This is case where I feel the hero's point of view would have been extremely valuable to the readers' overall enjoyment of the this read. His character is quite intriguing as is his love for Mahri. To have the chapter breaks in his POV could have perhaps made this book really good. He would have broken the monotony of Mahri's stubbornness and the view from a different set of eyes may have made this particular reader more sympathetic to her otherwise grotesque resistance.
However, I must point out that the world is incredibly beautiful and interesting to read. The author paints such a miraculously detailed picture of the setting that truly it came alive for me. If you've seen the beauty of AVATAR, this book will remind you of the lush nature, unique wildlife, and complex culture of the indigenous. In fact, the book's resemblance to the movie was why I accepted this ARC to begin with.
For readers wanting to immerse themselves into a beautifully rich setting but can tolerate a head-pounding stubborn heroine, this fantasy romance may prove to be everything and more for you. Not so much for me. Enjoy!
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