When I was younger I became obsessed with fantasy novels. I would seek them out like rare jewels, scouring book shops for anything new and spending any spare penny I had on buying them on a weekly, or even daily, basis. I know it was an obsession I admit that now. Like all addictions I did not realise at the time the extent of my mania. It lasted for years.
But then something happened, and I’m not sure what. Perhaps it was a bad run of poorly written books, maybe I had read so many that they began to blur into one and I became confused. There is even the desperately grim idea that I just grew out of them, that I could no longer spend my days locked into fantasy worlds; where good always triumphed over evil, where heroes and heroines were flawed but ultimately triumphed over adversity to win the day. Perhaps I just started having to concentrate on the real world, a place where it is frowned upon to carry a sword, ride dragons, or shoot fireballs from your fingertips.
Thankfully my time in Limbo has been brought to an end. Through a patch of good fortune, the like of which only usually seen in a good book, I came across Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella, and in doing so I have stepped once more back into the type of world which I can lose myself in.
I must admit some nerves upon starting to read; I didn’t wanted to be disappointed once more, I struggle at the best of times to get engrossed in a book at the moment and I was afraid that my own lack of concentration may ruin an otherwise enjoyable experience. I was wrong to be worried however. From the very first few pages Ashael Rising drew me into the world that Shona Kinsella had created. The characters are believably interesting, rewarding and flawed, but in a good way. I found myself fully immersed in Ashael’s world, as though I lived in her cam alongside her. I became emotionally attached to the characters and found myself actually caring for their wellbeing and worrying for their future (I am not an emotional type, so this was a very bizarre side effect). It is not just a story about good versus evil or love conquering hate. It is so much more, and to Shona Kinsella I am grateful for that.
I will not reveal too much of the plot or the story, you can read about it on the Unbound or Amazon pages, and I don’t think that it is the job of a reviewer to give away too much. I will say this though; for me it was a rewarding experience. It has reawakened a need to visit such worlds more often, and has definitely made me want to read more from the work of this imaginative, insightful and talented storyteller.