I am a big fan of writers supporting other writers (I can't even begin to list the folks who have been supportive of my work over the years). I also love to spread the word about a good book. Today I've got a chance to do both, with this guest book review by my pal Diva, about my other pal Ainsley Brook's debut novel.
This one looks like it would appeal to many of the folks who read this blog, so I appreciate both of them allowing me to share this here! (Don't you love this cover?!) What do you think...are you intrigued?
The Star Prophecy: A Diva Review
THE STAR PROPHECY: Book One of The Daughters of Prophecy
By Ainsley Brooks
The first full-length novel by promising romance author Ainsley Brooks is a strong entry into the epic fantasy sub genre. Brooks' heroine, a reclusive prophetess with magical powers, is an earthier Joan of Arc, herself worthy to be a mother goddess like the one worshipped by the denizens of Talehndor (the kingdom she seeks to save). Aerdrin has a vision of vast trees, a fiery destruction made more hellish by the panicked voices beseeching her for help. Though fearful of the rampant persecution magic wielders like herself face, she ventures from the sanctuary to rescue (!) Throne Prince Alkaidin Thane and his country from disaster.
The real triumph of this book (apart from the romance itself which is both soulful and steamy) lies in the strength of the main character. She is no tough-talking warrior, nor is she a shrinking violet. Though she is delicate and feminine, at every turn Aerdrin proves herself flinty and more than capable of taking care of herself…this is not a romance heroine who needs a rescue. She is, in fact, the savior of the story. Her hero is perhaps even more compelling than she. After spending his youth in exile, Kaid has reclaimed his rightful throne and is willing to marry a laughably horrible woman to secure a valuable alliance. His single-minded focus on restoring order and prosperity to his kingdom nearly gets him killed and he is reluctant to listen to Aerdrin's baneful prophecy regarding his kingdom. She gains his trust and learns the dark secret that he has kept hidden from even his nearest advisors. As he comes to rely on Aerdrin's wisdom and skill, Kaid comes to the painful realization that, while his nasty betrothed may be the perfect match for his throne, his true heart belongs to Aerdrin.
The fate of the kingdom and indeed of the prince himself rely solely on Aerdrin. Without her, it is easy to believe that Kaid could never have faced the truth about himself and he, as well as his people, would have been lost entirely. Aerdrin is no larger-than-life heroine, though. She is all too human, feeling at times inadequate or fearful and reproaching herself for her growing feelings toward Kaid. As a reader, I felt so strongly that they belonged together that it was painful to see them torn asunder again and again by circumstance. At one point, I truly lost all hope of a happily-ever-after and complained aloud to an empty house that it was UNFAIR for Kaid and Aerdrin to be apart. This is that sort of novel, the kind that draws you in and makes the characters real to the reader. It has all the desire, yearning and sweeping romance in wartime that any Gone with the Wind fan would desire with the escapism and magic of the very best epic fantasies.
This is that rare book that will appeal to fantasy fans as well as romance lovers looking to be swept away.