Shannari is destined to unite the Green Lands and wear the Rose Crown, though she doesn't yet know how. SHe's the avatar of the Goddess, but she's only ever been betrayed in love. She's beset on all sides by enemies, including the current pretender to the throne, who wants to marry her and then kill her, cementing his claim.
When she prays to the Goddess for Guidance, she doesn't expect her answer to come in the guise of a barbarian warrior who demands her hand. Now, all she has to do is survive a battle with the barbarian, marry him, escape him and his elite warrior band, kill her former fiancé, and make it home in one piece.
Shannari's worth fighting for, and the men in her life don't take no for an answer easily. Unfortunately for them, Shannari never says yes. She doesn't believe in love. Now Rhaekhar, her barbarian warrior, has to convince her that his love is worth fighting for, and help keep her alive while doing it.
I received this book from the author and I'm totally biased cuz Joely is one of the nicest people I know and I totally adore her work. You have been warned!
I haven't read a romantic fantasy book as good as this one for a long time. It has everything I love about this genre and even a bit more. I always like it when the fantasy is something special. I don't want to read about orks and elves any longer. I have so had enough of those.
I appreciate it when the author creates something new and creative and not just a Tolkien copy. I love the invention of new races and divine creatures. I love it when the different cultures speak individual languages. Yes, I know it's totally crazy but I'm one of those people who actually owns a copy of the Elvish Dictionary.
But back to this book. The world we find ourselves in is kind of medieval with a touch of magic and more than enough divine intervention. The people in this world believe in the power of their deities, so they all try to stay on the good side of the one they chose to follow.
The story is all about Shannari. She is a princess but not the kind we normally think of when hearing that word. She had to defend herself more than once and got gravely hurt in the process - physically and even more so emotionally. She is a strong character with deep bonds to her people. She knows what her destiny is and she is not afraid to sacrifice herself on the way. She knows what the important and right thing to do is but all this knowledge doesn't make her feel better. She knows there is no way around it so she will hold her head up high and just live through it.
The first time she meets Rhaekhar is in a battle and she sees him as a strong warrior and also as the barbarian he is. But OMG, I want my own barbarian now. Nope, I take that back I want my own PAIR of barbarians now. *wicked grin* But more about that later.
Rhaekhar is the Khul of the Nine Camps of the Sha'Kae al'Dan, so to speak their leader. He is the best in everything *wink* and has to stand up to all expectations in order to stay Khul. He's an alpha male from head to toe and he never gives up when his goal is in sight. And his goal is to have Shannari. Not as some low sex-slave as some of our dirty minds might think. No, he wants to marry her and spend the rest of his life at her side- forever. He knows from a vision that she is the one and he will fight for her hard with all he has and let me say that this would win my heart ASAP. He's a kind man although he rules with a strong hand. But he has a good heart and wants to make everything right.
And then we have Gregar *big sigh*- the Shadowed Blood. A Blood is a kind of personal bodyguard for the Khul and all 7 of them should never leave his back. And with never I mean like not even in the personal moments we sometimes have. *blush* Gregar is a special one- he has so much darkness, shadow inside that it sometimes broke my heart. He's a passionate man with a really wicked grin and oh so many other good characteristics but he really can be scary from time to time. I can't even say for sure why I loved him so much. Perhaps cuz I wanted to hug him and make it all better? I'm really not sure but Gregar is so my new book boy friend. We get the first glimpse at a wonderful love triangle but at the end we have to be patient for the next book to get a better look at my beloved Gregar.
The Rose of Shanhasson grabbed my heart from the first sentence to the last word and I wanted to scream for the next book when I closed this one. Okay, it's probably not for the faint of heart with all the blood and shadows in it but I felt honored with every drop. The emotional build up was heart wrenching from time to time and the sexual tension will boil your blood. The fantasy is fascinating and wonderfully developed, the storyline thrilling through the whole book. All in all a must read for all the fantasy lovers out there who love to read something hot and spicy. The Rose of Shanhasson so deserves the title na'lanna for me.
To learn more about Joely and her books please visit her website here. You can also find a free prequel about Gregar here(The Shadowed Blood) and another one called The Horsemaster plays in that world too.
The Shanhasson Trilogy:
1. The Rose of Shanhasson: reviews @goodreads, buy print copy @amazon,
buy ebook @Drollerie Press
2. The Road to Shanhasson: reviews @goodreads, buy @Drollerie Press
3. Return to Shanhasson (TBD)