Even before I finished reading this book, I ordered the next one. I hated this book to end, it was that good. I was completely caught up in the world created by the author. Not only did McDonald create an impressive setting for the book but also created not one or two great characters, but numerous interesting secondary characters.
Usually when an author bounces from character to character in a book, it annoys me and it disrupts the flow of the book. Quite the opposite was true in this book. I found myself intrigued with all the characters and I wanted to know more about them. The secondary character's POV is vital for the story and McDonald handles it with ease!
The main characters in this story are Solie and her battle sylph Heyyou. Battle sylphs are creatures that inhabit a separate dimension. In Solie's world, she is a young farm girl who lives a simple existence. In a Battle sylph's dimension, a young girl like Solie is a "queen". Queens are to be loved and worshipped and most of all treasured and respected. Battle sylphs, curious about the abundance of "queens" in Solie's world, often will be enticed (and tricked) into her world. Unfortunately, they are tricked into this world by men with malicious motives of controlling the battle sylphs.
Solie, running away from her father (who plans to marry her off to a man she does not like) ends up being the tool to trick a battle sylph over to Solie's world. Thankfully, for Solie and Heyyou, everything goes wrong. Solie ends up with her own battle sylph and that is when the adventure begins.
Solie and her battle sylph Heyyou are playful, witty and engaging. Solie, who starts innocent and naive, learns plenty about the world around her and about herself. Heyyou, who starts angry and bitter, learns about true innocence and joy. The friendships the pair form and the adventures and challenges they endure make for a memorable story.
I would not call this book a paranormal romance. While there is romance in the story, it is much more a fantasy book.
I found this novel in the romance section at Borders but it is more of a fantasy story than a paranormal romance. There are romance elements in it, but no more than you would find in a Sharon Shinn novel. I'm really glad it's not a straight forward romance because the main romantic pairing is not what makes this story so interesting. Heyou and Solie provide the framework for a whole host of intriguing characters to get together and form a community (literally called The Community)--a utopia wherein sylphs, men, and women live in equality. They become a kind of rallying point for the others to create change in a world dominated predominantly by sadistic kingdoms in which sylphs are slaves and women second class citizens. But because of their youth and inexperience they must rely on more fascinating and fully developed characters to help them lead. And while Solie and Heyou are cute and innocent, it is the other battle sylphs, their masters, and other more world-savvy folk who provide the true intrigue for me. Another battle sylph, Ril and his master Leon form the most complex and creative relationship that is worth following into the next novel. I'm so glad they were such a powerful element in this first novel as it made L. J. McDonald's world more 3-dimensional to me and drew me toward reading the next novel in the series and each successive story thereafter. Had the author spent less pages developing her well-crafted secondary characters I would not have liked this novel so much. Solie and Heyou were just not that interesting on their own--a fact which I think is on purpose. After they get together, the focus of the story shifts to the other, more dynamic, characters.
And really this novel is a set up novel for more complex stories to follow. Solie and Heyou are likable clean palettes upon which is built a new era where sylphs, men, and women are all equal and interdependent upon one another. Their story had to be told so that Ril and other damaged sylphs could have their happy endings in later books. (Mace's story will be told later this year in an anthology called A Midwinter Fantasy which has yet to be assigned an ISBN number and will include work by Leanna Renee Hieber--Yay!)
I definitely recommend this book but only if you like well-written fantasy novels with some romance. There isn't very much sex and though Solie and Heyou are the glue which bind all the other characters together, their relationship isn't the main strength of this story. My definition of a romance novel includes the hero and heroine as the main interest of the plot. But Solie and Heyou take back seat to several more intriguing and dynamic characters and I am happy to let them. This is not a typical romance story and the book is better for that.
I was skeptical but really ended up enjoying this book. There are so many characters in the book yet I never got confused and I enjoyed the flow from 1 story to the next and back again. I wish the main character "Heyou" was a little more mature, at times I wanted him to be more of "the man" but there were others that filled the role. I ended up liking the second-hand characters better.
Tons of action, some great surprises, and all very well written. L.J. McDonald creates a fantasy world that I couldn't stop reading about! I'm so glad the story continues in the next book!
Excellent fantasy read with an action plot. The lead characters - Heyou [the battle sylph] and Solie [a farm girl] - meet up because she is kidnapped to be the virgin sacrifice to 'catch' a battler sylph. She defends herself from the Crown Prince's attempt to kill her giving the battle sylph time to come through the dimensional gate and rescue her; killing all present [including the prince]. She inadvertently names him by calling out 'hey, you'. He is enchanted by his new queen and carries her away from danger.
Neither of the protagonists knows much of the world - essentially they are teenagers - hormones with feet and not much experience. If their storyline was the only one, it would be a good read but not a great one. But this plot contains several storylines - those of the other [older] battlers, the King's efforts to destroy them, and the emerging culture of the Community where sylphs are friends, not slaves...
The action is intense and kept me turning the pages well into the night...
1. The Battle Sylph (2010)
2. The Shattered Sylph (2010)
Incredible read. I highly recommend it.