BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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Series Review: The Warriors of Love and Magic


Series: The Warriors of Love and Magic

Titles: The General's Hostage and The Captive Prince

Publisher: Etopia Press

Author: A.C. Fox

Pages: 228 pp and 222 pp

Price: $3.99 and $4.99

Decades ago, the reptilian Boa Visk -- driven by greed, hunger, and foul magic -- crossed the ocean and invaded human lands. They slaughtered their way across the continent, crushing every attempt at rebellion. Tyrdevna and Tharsgald and many other lands fell, and only Teirlan was spared thanks to its unique geography. Now, after years of terror and oppression, heroes have risen to lead humanity to freedom .... 

I stumbled across The General's Hostage completely by accident. After downloading the sample, I was hooked and bought the book immediately. As soon as I finished it, I downloaded The Captive Prince. And then had to stop because there is no book three. Insert unhappy moans here.

Fox has a real gift for both world-building and emotionally-complex characters. In both novels, our protagonists start as enemies. In The General's Hostage, Tav Cyrdath is at the head of the army intent on driving out the Boa Visk, while Duric Darmain is the (deeply reluctant and traumatized) human seneschal of Illunvia; when Cyrdath finally liberates the city, he intends to hold Darmain responsible for collaborating with the Boa Visk, while Darmain has been nearly broken by years of serving the reptilians and has no faith in his own goodness or worth. In The Captive Prince, Lord Domlen has taken Prince Falken of Teirlan hostage and is intent on actually sacrificing him to lift the curse on his people; Falken, understandably, hates Domlen at first and only very slowly begins to forgive him and work alongside him to save the Fortress of the Sun.

From a polytheistic point of view, the most interesting aspect to the story is the relationship between the people and the Gods. The Boa Visk invaded and conquered the human world out of greed, but also out of religious devotion; they often sacrificed people in their religious rites and to fuel their malevolent blood magic. After decades of terror and oppression, humanity has an understandably ambivalent attitude towards the Gods who abandoned them to the Boa Visk; some of the characters evince an actively antagonistic attitude towards the Gods. I don't think I have ever encountered a story filled with characters who believe, but are angry. I could easily see the third book (and I really, really hope there is one) delving further into the healing of the people and the land by addressing this rift between the mortal and divine realms.

My only complaint revolves around the editing of the series. There were an unusually high number of grammatical errors (e.g., missing words). At one point in The General's Hostage, two character names are even swapped, completely changing the nature of the conversation.

Despite that issue, I thoroughly enjoyed The Warriors of Love and Magic. I look forward to reading more of Fox' work, and really really hope that more volumes in this series are forthcoming. Highly recommended to fans of Zoe Archer, Jordan L Hawk, and Megan Derr.  

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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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