I haven’t visited my Amazon book pages for a while, so thought I’d check out whether the Like buttons had finally gone the way of the dodo bird — as it’s been rumored on one of my email loops they would. (They had, BTW.) I also wanted to check on whether any of my reviews had vanished… as they are wont to do, given Amazon’s strange and somewhat inconsistent review policy. However, instead of discovering missing reviews, I discovered a new one — always good for an OMG stomach-jolt, feeling vaguely ill and yet kinda hopeful reaction. (Yeah, we authors are precious little snowflakes.)
To my delight, this review was for The Crystal Warrior, which could do with a few more Amazon reviews :) And it’s a goodie — one of those incredibly thoughtful, analytic reviews that has me nodding my head and going , Yeah, she’s so right; I’ll be sure and look at that aspect of my writing next time. Not to mention I’m thrilled to bits she had some very positive things to say about the story and my main characters’ growth throughout, as well as the secondary characters. Woot!
So before Amazon decides to pull the review (for whatever spurious reason they come up with that we’re not allowed to argue with), I thought I’d share it here… because damn, it’d be a crying shame if such a well-structured and thought-provoking review disappeared into the ether at the whim of a capricious ‘Zon bot.
A Cursed Warrior Seeking Redemption and a Disillusioned Dance Instructor Get A New Chance
By Sophia Rose, Guest Reviewer for “Delighted Reader” blog
I picked up this book because I thought the blurb sounded interesting and at the time it was free** so I was willing to take a chance. I am so glad I did because I’ve now found a new series to enjoy.
The world building of this story was very creative and refreshing when compared to the majority of romances with fantasy romance blended with the contemporary that are available out there. It is the story of Wulf, a mighty brutish warrior of the past, from a parallel world who follows the dictates of his elders and their people’s needs to conquer others and take their women. He is punished for these sins in the form of a curse that imprisons him and several of his warriors inside crystals that bear their names until they are matched up and redeemed by their true love. It is also the story of Chalsey, a strong and independent woman of the modern world who is trying to fulfill a dream by starting her own dance studio all on her own though she does have a very supportive friend who stands by her constantly encouraging her to enjoy life and not take it so seriously.
The day that Chalsey gets turned down for her latest request for a business loan ends up being a turning point. She enters a crystal shop only to have an odd experience with one of the crystals on display and the odd little owner gifts it to her. But then her day just goes further downhill when her best friend sets her up with a loser and the said loser hurts her before she is rescued by a hottie warrior-like man from her dreams who insists that he must be with her. Too bad Chalsey is almost too stubborn and insecure for her own good forcing Wulf to pull out all the stops (including help from Chalsey’s bestfriend Sam) to bring her around.
The mystery of the crystal and the crystal warriors is finally divulged by an unlikely source and instead of things growing simpler the situation for Wulf and Chalsey is amped up ten fold.
The plot for this one was complex and took a long time to build. Much of the first half of the book I spent impatient with the pace and what felt like a bogging down from all the sub-plot going on hoping it would get on with it. There was the establishment of the characters, the introduction of Wulf’s past story thread along with the present story thread, the subplots involving the dance studio, Chalsey’s life and the lives of her friends and the creepy exs which weren’t bad, but all I really wanted was to get down to the point of the Crystal Warriors and what that all meant. Fortunately, my patience paid off in the end. The story zeroed in on the main plot and got pretty intense with Chalsey and Wulf faced with some big choices and danger lurking for them.
The main plot for me was the romance between Wulf and Chalsey. I was on the fence about how it was being handled at first. I’m all for spunky heroines and I do see the sense in not just getting it on with a perfect stranger who is being insistent. I would have kicked him out too. The part I didn’t like was lying to her best friend and denying her attraction for Wulf and then getting an attitude when her best friend takes her words at face value. I just couldn’t figure out her insecurities. She would flip back and forth between thinking that she’d never find a guy who saw past her appearance and she wanted to be desired for herself to doubting that Wulf or anyone else could see her as beautiful. Sorry honey, you can’t have it both ways! But eventually, things got to the point where Chalsey allowed Wulf into her life so I guess I’ll allow that she grew a great deal in the story and that Wulf was really good for her. He rescued her from an imprisonment of her own making as much as she rescued him from his crystal.
The characters were great. Chalsey is a blend of lots of things and as I said had a lot of growing to do. Wulf, even though he is the old time warlord with antiquated ideas about women, seems to adjust easier than Chalsey. He accepts the changes of a modern world even while retaining quite a bit of his warrior spirit and alpha male-ness. I loved Jai, Sam and Ezmeralda as the sidekicks they were almost scene stealers every time. Chalsey’s mother garnished little sympathy for me even when she came clean. She was a cold-blooded gal who made a decision that made me cringe when I read it and I hated her for actively trying to force her decision on Chalsey when their situations were very different (not that I don’t still condemn her for her own decision no matter the circumstances).
Whew! Guess I had a lot to say, but the general idea is that it was a good story that I recommend to those who enjoy contemporary romances involving a magical or fantasy element to them.
(Posted on Amazon US, Jan 8th 2013)
The comment that really resonated with me was this: “He rescued her from an imprisonment of her own making as much as she rescued him from his crystal.” I hadn’t thought of it quite like that before but it’s a perfect summation of the whole dynamic between Wulf and Chalcey.
Sophia Rose, I know it’s considered extremely bad form for an author respond to a reviewer, but I truly hope it’s not considered bad form to say how much I appreciate the fact that 1) you read my book, and 2) you took time out of your day (when you could have been reading other books!) to write such a detailed review of The Crystal Warrior and post it on Amazon.
Thanks a heap!
**Note: The Crystal Warrior was free for 48 hours a few months back as part of an All Romance eBooks promotion.