Battle Sylph Mass Market Paperback – Feb 8 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
As King Alcor Baldorth's heir lures a battler through the gate, it all goes wrong. The bait, a peasant girl named Solie, escapes her bonds, names the battler and pleads for help. Having found his queen and been named Heyou (Hey, you), he rescues Solie, killing the prince in the process. With the king's men and several enslaved battlers in pursuit, Heyou must get Solie somewhere safe. The kingdom of Eferem is about to drastically alter.
**** FOUR STARS! Battlers are not the only type of sylph in this world. There are many minor ones. These are mainly female elemental sylphs, which happily aid their masters in various ways, such as growing crops. But the battlers are the strongest and most deadly. They hate all men, especially the men they are bound to.
I found myself enthralled by the story's main plot and eager to see what would happen next. This is a blending of fantasy and romance, so perhaps more female readers will be swayed to the fantasy genre; however, men will not be disappointed in this story either. A terrific beginning to this wondrous trilogy. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I loved reading her debut book THE BATTLE SYLPH. The setting of the story is on an Earth-like planet inhabited by humans. There is another dimension parallel to this where the Sylphs, elemental creatures, live. There is a doorway between the two dimensions called gates. The humans have found a way to open the gates and entice a Sylph through, who then becomes a slave to the human. When a Sylph crosses the gate, it is bonded with a man--only men are allowed to bond with a Sylph, for those in power feel a woman is too weak to handle a Sylph. There are several types of Sylphs: Battle Sylphs or "warriors", Fire Sylphs, Water Sylphs, Air Sylphs and Earth Sylphs. As their name describes, they are used to fight, warm and produce light, manipulate water, air and earth. Battle Sylphs are all male. In their elemental world they are the protectors of communities called "hives" and a mate for the queens of each hive. They are naturally predisposed to hate all other males of any species, and this hatred and their supernatural strength and abilities are what are attractive to the humans.
Every Battle Sylph desires a queen and a hive of their own. The humans take advantage of this by enticing a Battle Sylph through the gate with a virgin sacrifice tied to an alter table where the gate opens. All the Battle Sylph sees is his "queen" and he cannot resist crossing the gate to her. As soon as the Battle Sylph comes through the gate, it is closed and the man who wants to bond with the Battle Sylph kills the woman and the gate closes. The Battle Sylph becomes a slave to the man who kills the girl. The man "names" the Battle Sylph and from then on the Battle Sylph has to obey him. The Battle Sylphs are told what shape to assume, a hawk, a suite of armor, a lion, etc, and they are forbidden to change or speak to anyone, including their masters and other Sylphs. Their hatred for their bonded human, the killer of their queens, is palpable, and is strong enough to physically affect anyone near them.
The king holds a ceremony to entice a Battle Sylph across the gate to bond with his son, but something goes wrong and the virgin sacrifice, a girl named Solie, doesn't get killed. Rather, it's the prince that is killed by the Battle Sylph, and Solie unwittingly names the Battle Sylph when she tries to get his attention by calling to him, "Hey, you". He is now Heyou. Solie and her Battle Sylph are on the run with the King's men and their Battle Sylphs in pursuit. Solie and Heyou find a refuge with a budding community, and life as everyone knows it is on the brink of change.
Paranormal Romance has evolved in the past few years, looking for new branches on the Paranormal tree. First there were vampires and werewolves, then other shifters, then mixtures of different creatures, then Dragons and now demons (rightly so, these guys are hot; just check out Kate Douglas' DEMONFIRE Demonfire: The Demonslayers). McDonald's innovative world in this debut book, the first in a series, is so simple yet it achieves what many authors try to reach--a back story and characters you do not see in other books--and one wonders why no one has thought of it before. Yes, elements of her Sylph world may be seen in other books and even movies, but the way McDonald treats these elements is refreshing. Her prose is fast and though not all of her characters are likable (bad guys are not meant to be liked), each one is completely fleshed out, and the ones that are the "good guys" and even some on the fence are so interesting I wish I could meet them.
Dorchester Publishing categorizes THE BATTLE SYLPH as Fantasy/Romance and RT Book Reviews has its review under Fantasy (website only). There are a few sex scenes but these are more descriptive than literal. Certainly, compared to the heat level that current romances of the day are reaching in General Romance, this book is a light weight. Personally, I'd like to see more romantic interaction between the hero and the heroine, and the sex scenes described a bit more, but that is my personal preference, and McDonald has treated the sex scenes in the book very tastefully and each one is meaningful to the story and the make up of the characters involved.
McDonald has written a solid debut book. As with any debut book there is always room for improvement, but McDonald is way ahead of the norm. Her characters and the worlds in which they live are obviously well thought out. The tantalizing glimpses of future romances and intrigues whet the reader's appetite. With this book she has made me laugh and cry. If you love Paranormal Romance and you are looking for a new branch of the sub-genre to explore, pick up THE BATTLE SYLPH. This is the type of book you dread finishing because you like the characters and their world so much you wish to live in it forever (like Avatar). McDonald with THE BATTLE SYLPH has my highest stamp of approval. I can't wait to read the next story, THE SHATTERED SYLPH (Apr. 2010)The Shattered Sylph, about Lizzie and Ril.
While reading I experienced feel-good moments, a bit of humor, a lot of excitement and some sad, heart rendering scenes. This is definitely a story that gets to you on an emotional level as you follow not just fiery Solie and her randy, battle sylph Heyou but other engaging characters, whose journeys end up entwined with each other. I also like that this story was told from the different characters' point of views throughout. This story leans more towards romantic fantasy but the story surrounds the romance and the romance isn't always the main focus throughout it.
There is one little thing that kept niggling me, it was the dialogue. The story's setting is in time that was obviously long ago but the dialogue had some modern day speak in it. I'm not saying this a bad thing but while I was reading along, every now and again, a phrase would pop up and it kind of threw my rhythm in the story. It gave the story a bit of a an odd edge but didn't take away from my enjoyment.
I think The Battle Sylph was a great beginning to the Sylph trilogy. It was a fast paced, imaginative story that ended on a satisfying note but hints of things to come and few side stories that I would love to see closure on.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. I loved the premise - various ethereal creatures called Slyphs are called from the otherworld to serve humans with their extraordinary talents and magic. Terrifying and powerful Battle Slyphs are reserved only for those chosen by the King and require the sacrifice of a virgin to draw it through a portal so it can be bound to their new master. Unfortunately, Solie happens to be bumbling down the road after running away from home and she's kidnapped for this purpose. All hell breaks loose during the ritual and the Battle Slyth binds itself to her.
Rather than wax on and on about how retarded Solie and Heyou (the Battleslyth) are, I'm just going to wax on and on about how I'd change the story.
* Solie is running away from home because she is faced with an arranged marriage with a successful grocer whose only faults are being "old and fat". He also has the nerve to notice the gorgeous redheaded girl in town. Heavens to Betsy! While I'm all about a heroines holding out for Their One True Love, it would have gone a lot farther in making Solie less of a shallow, empty headed idiot if the guy had been like...a brutal, lecherous drunk whose pretty young wife died mysteriously 3 years before. So instead of sympathizing with her situation, I couldn't help but eye roll a bit.
* It's even harder to take the story seriously when Solie, in the midst of being sacrificed, looks up at the battleslyth about to emerge from the portal and says, "Hey you!" which he then takes as his name. Heyou. I'm not joking. Everytime I'm forced to read his name I cringe. Some authors might have been able to pull this off in a playful, tongue in cheek sort of way, but this one can't. Frankly, there's already too much silliness for it to be endearing. Heyou? God almighty.
* Solie and her constant "wailing" and "Um's", combined with her brazen silliness makes me wonder if this author is even a woman. How could a fellow XX create a heroine so vapid and worthless? She lacks any redeeming characteristic. If the author wanted to make her character more of an "every girl" than a "chosen one" at least write her as being overly serious, or shy...or fiesty and strong! Someone women can relate to! And that brings up another point - there's pretty graphic sex in here, so I'm assuming this book was intended for adult women, not 13 year olds. While I was reading this I really could not tell what kind of audience this book was meant for.
* The character development was exceptionally weak. Readers have no idea what is driving and motivating the actions of the people in the story. Far too often the author relied on people doing things just because they're nice, or just because they're evil.
Sorry, but I guess I expected more. I can't even endorse this as Fun Fluff to read by the pool. Ms. McDonald has great ideas, but the execution is absurd at best.
Sorry but this was just not that great a book.