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The Plains of Kallanash by [Ross, Pauline M.]
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The Plains of Kallanash Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 564 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

Two men. Two women. One marriage.

Thousands of years after a magical catastrophe reshaped the world and pulled the moons out of alignment, the secret of magic has seemingly been lost. At the centre of the vast, forbidding Plains of Kallanash lies a land ruled by a secretive religion, whose people fight a never-ending war against the barbarians in the wilderness beyond the border.

Amongst the nobility, double marriages are the norm. Junior wife Mia always dreamed of attracting the attention of the dashing lead husband, but never dared to compete against her lively older sister. Hurst has spent ten frustrating years as junior husband, longing to test his skill with a sword in battle, longing for his beloved Mia to turn to him.

The mysterious death of Mia’s sister thrusts the marriage into turmoil. As Mia and Hurst struggle to adjust and find out what happened, they uncover sinister truths about the ruling religion. But the gods are unforgiving; even Mia’s innocent questions carry a terrible punishment. Hurst is prepared to risk everything to save her, even if it means taking up his sword against the barbarians, his own people, and the gods themselves.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2220 KB
  • Print Length: 564 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Sutors Publishing (Sept. 12 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N5WRXJ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #183,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable novel that shows great respect to the two genres that gave rise to it. The author follows the great Spec fic tradition of "what if...", in this case what if marriages involved 4 or more people, but developed characters and plot lines strong enough to make this novel much more engaging and moving than a simple thought experiment. The romance is strong, but not over done and the emotions seem quite real. An enjoyable read with a strong finish, I look forward to more good work from Pauline. I would recommend this book to any reader of spec fic or romance.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b0b5588) out of 5 stars 38 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a136ab0) out of 5 stars Enjoyable epic fantasy for readers who want something a little different Dec 31 2014
By LunarmommyK - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Plains of Kallanash takes us into a world where magic once existed but was lost in a great Catastrophe. The Plains at the heart of the world are now peopled by a civilization ruled by a mysterious, powerful, and omnipresent religion, which enforces a highly stratified social order governed by strict rules and customs. Group marriage is the norm among the nobility, or Karningholders, and the men of the Plains are engaged in a never-ending but carefully-regulated war against rampaging barbarians beyond their borders.

Quiet and gentle Mia, her sister-wife Tella, and their co-husbands Jonnor and Hurst enjoy a comfortable, stable life despite Mia's feelings of unrequited love for Jonnor, who has taken Tella as his primary wife, and Hurst's for Mia; as the junior partners in the marriage, they are forbidden to consummate their relationship without permission from the senior husband. When first one and then the other of the senior couple die under mysterious circumstances, Mia begins to ask too many questions, and finds herself banished into a world she never imagined. When Hurst undertakes to discover the truth, the lies on which their civilization is based are gradually revealed, bringing Hurst and others to the unavoidable conclusion that everything they know has to be overturned.

This is a very long book, with a lot going on. It starts out at a good pace, developing the complex relationships between the characters and the original, and cruel and chilling, society they live in (among other things, when a member of the nobility dies, his or her Companions, something between an adopted sibling and a servant, are put to death alongside them). The mystery deepens with the deaths in Mia's household until the shocking revelations that come in the wake of her own punishment. From there, the pacing and conflict sometimes sags, though we do get to see some fascinating glimpses of the Plains' ancient magical history. Hurst's discovery of the truth culminates in a cleverly-plotted rebellion, which brings in more surprising revelations about the world. The climax of the book seems incomplete, a little too easy and comfortable, and some key events are told at a distance. I would have liked to be more in the thick of things as they were worked out, and for the protagonists to experience more tension and hardship in the process. After the climax, most of the story threads are tied up nicely, with just a few left dangling for future stories set in the same world.

The romantic aspect takes an unexpected turn, as Mia finds herself torn between two lovers (cue cheesy 70s pop song, or rather, don't). The unconventional solution proves satisfactory to all involved; however, I'm somewhat more conventional and straightlaced in my romance preferences and was a little taken aback. The book contains some mildly graphic sex scenes, including some menage-y bits.

The writing style is clear, smooth, and literate. The author doesn't over-explain the strange customs and other alien aspects of her world, but does give the reader enough clues to have a comfortable grasp of what's going on.

On the whole, The Plains of Kallanash is an enjoyable epic fantasy in a highly original setting combining echoes of an ancient magical past with surprisingly advanced technology such as skyships, with a mysterious history, likeable, engaging characters, and an unconventional romance. Recommended for fantasy readers who want something a little different.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6369c) out of 5 stars A new direction in fantasy Nov. 17 2014
By Neil McGarry - Published on
Format: Paperback
Most fantasy focuses not on people but on grand quests and foes beyond human ken, but The Plains of Kallanash thankfully steps away from this well-worn path and blazes its own trail. Although the story reaches for the heights, it never gets away from the basics: the struggles of ordinary people.

The good:

The prose is crisp and clear, which sets Ross head and shoulders above the competition. This is so easy to read that the pages seem to turn themselves.

The world Ross has created is refreshingly exotic, with customs and traditions that piqued my interest. Even better, she doesn't "cheat" when it comes to making this culture familiar reader, which in the hands of a lesser author usually takes the form of awkward and unnecessary dialogue. ("As you know, Hurst, the time is upon us to travel back to the Ring for the ancient ceremony of...") Ross respects the readers enough to let them suss out the details of the society from the story.

Ross is a patient storyteller, which I find incredibly gratifying. A good story sells itself on every page, without needing to rush along as if the reader has the attention span of a fruit fly. This works really well in a story such as this, where it's subtly evident from the beginning that Something Is Not Quite Right.

The bad:

There are a good many secondary or tertiary characters in Kallanash - Tanist, Gantor, Jonnor, Trimon, and many more - and I felt it was sometimes difficult to keep track of them all. The Law of Conservation of Characters applies, which states that whenever an author introduces a new conflict into the story, she should integrate existing characters into that conflict before creating any new ones. Perhaps if these minor characters had been more vividly painted they would have been easier to distinguish one from the other.

I really wanted to like Mia, but this was made difficult because for about two-thirds of the story she demonstrates very little agency. She goes where she's led and does as she's told, and very rarely does she make meaningful choices. I get that this sets the stage for her eventual turn-around, but it seemed a steep hill to climb. In addition, she is ensnared in what (for me) is uncomfortably close to the "rape is love" trope. Leaving aside feminist objections, I think rape is not the most interesting way for an author to distress a female character. Obviously readers will need to make their own decisions about this, but it caught my attention, and not in a good way.

There's a lot going on in this story, and while that can occasionally cause confusion, all in all I'd much rather read a novel with too many ideas than too few. The Plains of Kallanash certainly steps boldly in that regard, and in my view that - and not Dark Lords and Swords of Destiny - is what good fantasy is all about. So read this book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6387c) out of 5 stars An Interesting Read Feb. 2 2015
By Loni Townsend - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well, that was interesting. Ms. Ross weaves an intricate tale with threads leading to deep in the world's culture. The prose is clear and well-done. The world-building is superb.

I often say characters will make or break a story for me. Hurst and Dethin were of some interest to me, but they didn't captivate me. Mia was a door mat for the beginning parts of the book, and therefore I didn't have much vested in her. Gantor had the most personality, and I'd have to say he was most memorable and probably my favorite.

Many of the other reviews use the word "different" to describe this book, and I agree. The themes of sex and religion are heavy throughout this book, sex in particular. It wasn't hot or erotic necessarily, just a lot of it. If that disturbs you, then this is probably not your type of book. I should also warn about polygamy, in case that affects your reception.

As far as events go, chapter 34 was my favorite. The both the fight and trial were handled delightfully and I even squealed. Dethin and Hurst earned my appreciation in that chapter. I was less impressed with what is probably considered to be the final battle. A minor character steps into the lead role and, well, our heroes don't have much to do. It wasn't boring, but for my personal tastes, I would've liked to have seen more action on their part.

Overall, it's a thought-provoking, down-to-earth read--not a lot of adventure or levity. It's best suited for those who enjoy character-transformation drama (not whiny-girl-causing-issues drama, but more of an ignorant girl learning life isn't as wonderful as she had hoped).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a37875c) out of 5 stars Enthralling Dec 6 2014
By JDB - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not since I read The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon have I been so drawn into a book. Ms. Ross is a wonderful wordsmith and her writing drew me so deep into the novel hours passed quickly. The first time author brings you into a world from the primary character's POV (each chapter is written from their viewpoint). Many fantasy novels are written from the viewpoint of the mission and this is refreshing in that you gain an in-depth understanding of the primary characters, Mia and Hurst. This is a must read fantasy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f638dc) out of 5 stars Great read and debut, complex world and story worthy of a good read. May 12 2015
By Salvador - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The Plains of Kallanash is a very well written, multi genre type book that combines fantasy with more than a touch of romance. I read this book using my Kindle Unlimited subscription and am glad I did.

What I liked most about this book is the very clear prose and writing style. The world building is complex and detailed including elements of culture, sociology and religion. The characters are three dimensional and well fleshed out and finally the overall story is intriguing while the plot is sound and I felt very comfortable reading at the pace the writer set.

What could be challenging for the reader are the many characters and keeping track of them, the romantic elements also may not be appreciated by say, a die hard sword and sorcery reader as this book focuses on relationships as much as conflict, not to mention the polyamorous aspects and finally, it's a larger book and requires an investment of time to complete. All of which may, or may not, be perceived by the reader as positives or negatives.

For myself, I felt this a worthy debut effort and am looking forward to reading The Fire Mages next. I would recommend this book, especially if you like complex stories and world settings.