Title: Sons of the Countryside
Author: Jenni Michaels
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love sci-fi/fantasy and who savor the rich uses of language.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: In the kingdom of Ailis, the Council removes all magicians from their family at the onset of their powers. All except one—Knox Cane, whose father hid him to keep him safe. But when Knox’s skills become known, the Council captures his father and gives him an ultimatum: use his abilities to help them locate and kill the last prince of the Phela line, the royal family the Council overthrew twenty years before, or never see his father again.
When he was just a child, Cailean Phela lost most of his family in a senseless slaughter perpetuated by a power-hungry group of men. His race—the Mac Tire—were banished to the nearly uninhabitable northern mountains of Cairn, where their numbers have dwindled. Luckily for the Mac Tire, the rising resistance is finally ready to make a move. If they can harness the magic the land holds for them before time runs out, they might find the strength to take back their kingdom.
Cailean knows he is a hunted man. He anticipates a difficult battle to free his land from the Council’s tyranny, but he never expected to fall in love with the man charged with ending his life.
Review: Wow! What a journey. This beautifully written story really packed a huge punch, satisfying so many elements of what I love about reading sci-fi/fantasy. The tone of the story felt like an old English story like Robin Hood. In fact, the story this made me think of was Shirewode (another great book) as I was reading, although the language was more contemporary.
Colorful language and rich descriptions painted clear images of the landscape. The heroes were strong and stoic, all masculine and duty-filled. And the plot was ripe with magic, mutiny, and war. We begin the journey with Knox, a magus (person imbued with the ability to use magic), traveling in search of the Beasts. When he is captured, we quickly learn that the Beasts are not what Knox had been led to believe.
Through their journey, the author weaves tension into the story, illustrating the inbred hatred born of generations of separation and struggle between humans and the Mac Tire. Wherever Knox goes, he’s viewed with scorn and mistrust, but quickly wins the trust and admiration of those who are supposed to hate him.
The love in this story is as much about love of country and duty as it is about the love between Knox and Cailean. In terms of heat rating, this would be more of a simmer than a boil, but the emotions and the raw passion between the two characters more than makes up for the lack of explicitly drawn out sex scenes. There are a few, but it takes a while to get to the first one and when they occur, they aren’t as graphic as some other stories…which makes it even more romantic in my opinion. There is no need for descriptions of penetration and pounding when the focus is on connection and emotion.
This book is definitely meant to be savored. Each word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter further develops the world and propels the reader towards the inevitable conflict/climax at the end. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love sci-fi/fantasy and who savor the rich uses of language.
You can buy Sons of the Countryside here: