Author: Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Source: self purchase
Circe Quinn goes to sleep at home and wakes up in a corral filled with women wearing sacrificial virgin attire – and she is one of them. She soon finds out that she’s not having a wild dream, she’s living a frightening nightmare where she’s been transported to a barren land populated by a primitive people and in short order, she’s installed very unwillingly on her white throne of horns as their Queen.
Dax Lahn is the king of Suh Tunak, The Horde of the nation of Korwahk and with one look at Circe, he knows she will be his bride and together they will start The Golden Dynasty of legend.
Circe and Lahn are separated by language, culture and the small fact she’s from a parallel universe and has no idea how she got there or how to get home. But facing challenge after challenge, Circe finds her footing as Queen of the brutal Korwahk Horde and wife to its King, then she makes friends then she finds herself falling in love with this primitive land, its people and especially their savage leader.
Holy shit guys. I am not supposed to like a book that has rape and abusive husbands. I am most certainly not supposed to like a hero who rapes and abuses his wife…that’s no hero…is it? How can this be? Real men don’t go all Chris Brown up on a woman’s face. And I don’t forgive that shit, ever…I still won’t buy that bastard’s music. And the Chris Brown shit is minor league compared to how this relationship starts. What the fuck? Rape and Chris Browning is worse than cheating and you know how I feel about a fucking cheater. Fuck. I am not supposed to like Lahn and actually root for him when it comes to his relationship with Circe. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not. Then why do I have these feelings for Lahn? Damn you Kristen Ashley ***shakes fist in mock rage***!
“What has been has been but what will be is what we make of it”
Where to begin? I feel like we could devote a whole month to this book, breaking it down and sorting shit out. First off, the Korwahk language…well done Ms. Ashley. That shit is more difficult than Klingon…it’s like Klingon on crack AND bath salts. The Korwahk language and culture pretty much just straight up eat your face off. The language barrier is just another way this book demands your complete attention. There is no multitasking while reading The Golden Dynasty. Lahn won’t stand for anything except your undivided attention. On so many levels, this book is brutal on your senses. Seriously, this is onion shit right here, the more I peeled back the harder I cried. I cried out of frustration, anger, sweet, horror and I’m pretty sure my mouth was agape the entire book.
Kristen Ashley is a master of many things. She writes the hell out of some funny dialogue – her sense of humor is spot on. She also does sweet like nobody’s business. She develops plots and builds universes that completely draw you in and make even the magical seem possible. She describes clothes and dwellings better than any author I’ve ever read. She writes sex so hot, My Guy is considering getting her name tattooed on his chest as a thank you for all the action he gets when I read her books. She writes broken heroes that are flawed and dangerous but vulnerable and romantic. She does all of those things and makes it look easy. The one thing she does better than all that, the thing that blows me away with every single book she writes is, she creates heroines who are the embodiment of girl power with their strength, cunning, fortitude, loyalty and bravery. No shit…she creates women we should all aspire to emulate. These women might stumble from time to time, they’re not super heroes, but they always recover and are so much stronger in the end. Circe Quinn is fucking badass. Imagine landing in her situation. In a fucking pen full of women about to be hunted. And she handles it. Imagine being hunted and raped…repeatedly. And she handles it, she doesn’t want to but she does. Imagine handling all that shit and not being able to communicate with the other people around you. Circe Quinn is fucking badass. She finds her footing, recovers, gets out of her own head, digs deep and ends up standing up to her brute of a husband. The women Kristen Ashley writes are proof of that Betty White quote, “Why do people say grow some balls? Balls are weak and sensitive, if you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” Amiright?!!? Circe Quinn is fucking badass and might just be my favorite heroine of all time.
Now let’s move on to Dax Lahn. I honestly don’t know where to begin. He’s Dax fucking Lahn. I want to hate him but I can’t. I realize the mantra at the beginning of this book is, but it’s their way, always has been, always will be, they know no different. I get this is supposed to soften the blow of what goes down. I don’t wanna like it, not one bit but I get it. One would think Circe would end up being the character who changes the most. She certainly encounters the most challenges, both physical and mental but I think Lahn goes through the biggest transformation. He’s the brutal king of a marauding band of warriors. He knows no mercy, he’s been trained from his youth to know no mercy. His ways are in his DNA. Everything about him is rough, brutal and completely unapologetic. Until Circe sets him straight-ish. This man has never known love. At least not love of anything except his country and even that isn’t a love he chose, it’s more like it’s ingrained. Yes, Lahn demonstrates the highest level of change. Circe adapts like a mother fucker but Lahn changes.
Luckily I’ve never had that level of violence in my life, not directly at least. I do have friends and family who’ve experienced the horrors of rape and abuse. I’m curious to hear what people who have had that experience think of this book. What did you think of Circe? And more importantly, were you able to forgive Lahn? I think your opinion on this subject if far more important than mine. I don’t consider this to be some sort of Stockholm syndrome, I think Circe honestly forgave Lahn and moved forward with their future. She didn’t have much choice with the being civil aspect of it in the beginning but she did eventually fall in love with him, and he with her.
Have you read this series? If not, you really need to. I’m starting Fantastical today. I’m sad to say this will have me all caught up in the world of Kristen Ashley…I’m now at the mercy of her publishers. I’m not feeling so fine about that. Kristen Ashley does magic beautifully. She transports you to a place and time you’d rather not be but you won’t be able to tear yourself away. She creates characters you’ll love to hate and hate to love. She makes small women so much bigger than the big ass, towering alpha men in their lives. She makes horrible, impossible circumstances come to life right before your eyes. And in some whacked out Klingon on crack language, she makes those horrible and impossible situations, beautiful. Hats off to you Kristen Ashley.
Fantasyland Series Reading Order
The Golden Dynasty
Fantasyland #4 – coming soon
The Golden Dynasty