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Saturday, June 17, 2006

****½ Taming the Forest King by Claudia J. Edwards. Fantasy.

This was a surprising little gem. I'd found it at the flea market and, for 33¢, I couldn't resist the female warrior--in chain mail, yet, instead of a bikini!--and the pristine condition. (ahhhh... new books. the tight pages, the smooth cover, the unbroken spine, the story waiting to be discovered... give me a moment here.)

It's a short book, only 215 pages, from 1986. Colonel Tevra has been called to the forest lands to investigate the myriad problems besetting them: from a corrupt governor to supernatural attacks. At her side is her ever-faithful Second (XO), Hetwith.

She's aided and romanced by the Forest King of the title, Dard.

Taming the Forest King is as much a romance as it is a fantasy, but it's all the better because the focus is on the fantasy. The worldbuilding is vivid, the society rich with details. The various supernatural creatures and the way magic works aren't described very thoroughly, but it's enough--they're consistent, and clear enough that the story makes sense.

Tevra does veer awfully close to the TSTL line on occasion--not in her professional capacity--she's a very capable officer, and is highly respected for good reason--but in her personal life. She's very dense when it comes to realizing that she's actually the center of a romantic triangle. She's saved--barely--by her focus on her duty and military ethics, and by the fact that it fits her character to view emotions and sexual attraction as inconveniences to be ignored when duty doesn't permit indulgence. In short, she represses what she sees as inappropriate emotions, and in doing so, is blind to their mirror in others.

I was disappointed to find that Claudia J. Edwards only has a handful of books, none of them still in print. I'll be looking for them anyway.


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