Sarah Ann Watts, Heart of the Kingdom. Silver Publishing, 2011. 5000 words. ASIN B004MDLLZ4. £1.44 / $2.28.Reviewed by Regina de Búrca
The cover art for ‘Heart of the Kingdom’ made me want to swap this magical fantasy romance for something on the review list with subterranean journeys instead. I wondered whether the Fabio-lookalike on the cover was asleep or simply dreaming! But I was raised not to judge a book by its cover so I persevered. I was surprised to find a letter from the publisher on the next page, thanking the reader for not pirating the author’s work. This appeal to readers is quite sweet; certainly a more pleasant approach to the music industry’s stance on DRM.
‘Heart of the Kingdom’ began on page 6 out of this 30 page e-book and as I started to read I wondered how so few pages could contain enough to keep a reader satisfied. But as I read on I found that the form of this narrative is moot. This is a nicely crafted story that works very well. It is compelling and different from any of the romance genre tales I have read before.
The e-book tells the story of Elynas, a former king and servant of fire and Melior, a knight and creature of water. Their innate elemental natures prohibited them from ever being lovers. But Elynas is paying for his efforts to save Melior’s life with the aftershocks of a spell cast on him by his wife.
The language is economical, with plenty said in very few words. The reader gets a glimpse of the characters and what they are up against. The narration takes the second person’s point of view; this technique alone makes the story stand out. The heartbreak of lost love is intimated beautifully; the reader can really feel the sense of devastation as it is built up in the narrative.
My only issue with this e-book is how it has been presented. The cover really did put me off and it would be a shame if that happened to anyone else, since this story is a great read.
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