- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 4648 KB
- Print Length: 655 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0088DQO9C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #403,126 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles- Book 1 Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
A. L. (Alexandra) Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance and horror genres. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history, mythology and monkeys. She has a background in history and politics which are sometimes reflected in her work. Her books have been described as 'dark and gritty' and her poetry as evocative.
A Splendid Salmagundi was awarded the best anthology for Indie Book Bargains 2012.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm
Top Customer Reviews
The book begins by following Dii, a young Elf-mage who's kept as a slave (in this world, Elves and mages are at best second-class citisens, and woe to anyone who's both). She quickly escapes her master's captivity and comes to the attention of both the Order of Witch Hunters (a corrupt group who capture, torture and often kill mages) and a very powerful mage, Archos.
As the story progresses, Archos (and his loyal assistant Olek) gradually take center stage, as he first finds Dii and then sets out to rescue a group of Elves who've been captured by slavers.
It's easy to become immersed in this world; it's richly described, and great attention is paid to the small details. This really is a "small" story - the fate of kingdoms and worlds is not at stake (although the epilogue implies that the scope and the stakes will be raised in book #2).
The book is well-written with very clear prose, and it follows the POV of various characters as the story progresses. One note/warning - there is very explicit sex at several occasions in the story, so be aware of that. And there are some very nasty people who do extremely nasty things, so, again, be warned.
It's a very good book, and I highly recommend it!
The story is very much a romance at heart, with plenty of steamy graphic sex to keep erotica fans happy. There's some very dark material in there as well, however. Dii suffers through some terrible ordeals before she meets Archos, a lord who is actively against the horrific treatment and sexual slavery of the elves.
The fantasy setting is well drawn and enjoyable to read about. The villains are just completely evil. The good characters are well written and likeable, Dii in particular, and they are easy to sympathise with.
The main thing that bothered me about this book was how the women seemed to be constant victims, completely at the mercy of men. They didn't seem to do much to fight for themselves and their own freedom. To be fair the story that was being told didn't really need them to, but I probably would have enjoyed it better if they had. Aside from this, the story and main characters were captivating enough to keep me reading.
I believe this book will be best enjoyed by fans of erotic romance.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Full disclosure, not my usual genre. I'm not a big fan of elves, magic spells and curses, but this book did hold my attention. It starts a little slow and it took me a while to adapt to the writing style, but once I got past the first couple of chapters, it picked up steam. I didn't really connect with the main 'elven' character, but I did like that she was resourceful and not so dependent on men for her survival like most female characters seem to be written these days.
Given the vivid world that the author created, I would have liked a little more action and less internal reflection and dialogue. There were too many parts where it seemed like characters were 'preparing' to do something, or talking about what needs to be done instead of actually doing anything. Its a little frustrating to have an environment with so much potential only to have to sift through so much down time where not much is happening.
There are also some huge blocks of dialogue from some long-winded blowhard characters. Not sure if this is common for the genre, but I kept expecting to hear "Here ye. Here ye." every time a male character opened his mouth. Also, it's third person but the POV seems to shift focus between characters at different points. That was a little distracting.
There was even sex... most notably some elven sex, which if you'd told me that going in, I would have passed, but the author actually did a good job with it.
What I liked most was that the author wasn't afraid to let her imagination run wild with the details. The scenes where one of the main characters "Dii" has to use magic spells are very well done and written in a way where I could actually see what the author was describing. A lot of times when authors write scenes where supernatural abilities are involved, you end up scratching your head and going 'huh? what just happened?' or the powers are so ludicrous in scope that you're like 'well why don't they just use that spell/power/ability all the time? The story could have been over in five minutes.' It's a real pet peeve of mine and I was glad to see that this author knew how to describe the world of magic very well.
Yet, even though she gets very creative with her scenes, I didn't see much by way of filler stuff that didn't fit with the story. I felt like everything was done for a reason and that too is very rare.
I was a little bummed at the ending, mainly because it seemed a little drawn out, but it is a series and she made sure to leave a nice set up for the next book.
Overall, this book entertained me and I enjoyed the read. I was leaning toward 5 stars, just because I did get caught up in the story and the world the author created, but some of the technical stuff took away points.
Some readers might be put off somewhat by the adult content of this novel. Adult content is not the type of thing that is going to bother me, but I didn’t find the examples that appeared in “Light” to be all that graphic. I was 10 percent of the way through the book before I got to the first sex scene, which was really little more than a moment of standard lovemaking.
However, that scene did put me in a contemplative mood for several reasons. The protagonist of “Light” is a “kept” elf maiden named Dii who also has a talent for magic. The word “kept” is a polite way to say that she’s basically a sex slave to a rich family that doesn’t seem to have much of a problem passing her around amongst themselves or to other people to whom they owe a favor. Amazingly, the sex bondage theme is dealt with pretty lightly, which gives this book a kind of harmlessly voyeuristic quality. I suppose if Dii had been left psychologically and emotionally traumatized by her imprisonment and repeated rape, it would make the scene where she decides to “take a lover of her own choosing” less delightful. As it’s written, Dii has no desire to return to her previous life, but she doesn’t appear to harbor much resentment. Maybe this can be chalked up to the fact that Dii is an elf maiden—not human—and maybe they’re just into that (don’t judge people, c’mon!).
Don’t get me wrong, I like Dii, although she also seems a bit powerful for a woman who was kept as a sex slave. Again, this isn’t bad, I think it’s just a result of “sanitizing” the themes of this book and keeping it as a piece of escapist entertainment. Toni Morrison, for example, would have dealt with this theme differently, and I have no doubt that the final result would have been significantly less fun than “The Light Beyond the Storm” (in fact, I think Morrison’s version would have been unreadable, so Butcher is already ahead on points in my book).
Let me discuss a scene that will give you a better idea of Dii’s personality. Dii is offered a bag of coins from a recent lover. Dii, of course, didn’t have sex with the guy for money, and she considers giving the money back. However, in the end, she decides to keep the coin because, you know, she really is kind of desperate. Now, I had a hard time believing that Dii could afford herself that inner dialogue. I don’t know if writing it that way was an attempt by the author to justify Dii to less mature readers who would have been uncomfortable with her just taking the cash from the start. As far as I’m concerned, somebody who had been through the things Dii had, would DESERVE all the cash she could get her hands on. I also think that she would think she deserved it herself (and the disconnect between what she thinks and what society as a whole thinks—and what potential readers think—would create all kinds of potentially interesting situations for social commentary). Sidestepping this seemed like a bit of a wasted opportunity to me.
Still, Butcher’s choices weave an interesting tapestry. I’m left a little confused as to whether my own interpretations of this novel are a critique of Butcher, society as a whole, men’s vs women’s issues, or my own screwed up perception of things. Any book that get your head spinning in such a delightful way is worth a look in my opinion. I’ll be curious to hear the responses to this review from other readers and, hopefully, the writer as well.
But you can’t respond unless you read it...so get on that people!
To be sure, there is plenty of steamy prose, fantastical sex in a fantastic, dark fantasy setting. But, the story is so much more, so much better than just that. So don’t be fooled into thinking that books that incorporate sex are just sexy books—dime-a-dozen throwaways.
This author proves that sex, if used appropriately (and not for simple, gratuitous reasons) is another tool in the writer’s belt that may be used to advance the story, resolve or heighten conflict. It is, after all, one of the driving forces of human nature. Like violence, it is visceral, animalistic in its genesis, and may be used as an underpinning of good or evil acts, for it takes us to our most base selves. The author of this story weaves it into the fabric of a great, dark tale, an extremely important component of the main character’s backstory, and how she deals with her own evolution in a truly wonderful, and heart-wrenching way.
Beyond that, Ms. Butcher creates a world for the reader that is very rich in history. The magic system in this story is also quite good, researched well and put together in an excellent believable manner—as good as most I’ve read.
The characters, most importantly Dii, are deep and well developed, keeping the reader interested in their wellbeing right from the get-go. We watch and we groan, and we cry and scream at the book, as she struggles through a dark world, dealing with the baggage foisted upon her by past built on slavery and abuse. This story deals with deep issues of abuse and racism and the toll it can take on a person. But it goes one more, it deals with the very human (elvish) ability to overcome, to face the darkness, deal with it in very stark terms, and turn the pain and horror of abuse into the iron-like strengths that define the best of us.
I recommend this book, not only for its strong, fantastic elements, but for its great story telling, and wonderful characters.
Take a read. I think you will enjoy.
It is always interesting when a writer takes a classic fantasy figure, in this case the elf, and does something rather quite different. When thinking about the classic elf, one tends to think of a very noble, highly intelligent immortal being, who seems to possess traits and knowledge second only to the gods. They are a race that all other races in one way or another are envious of. While this story does have some of these themes, essentially most elves in this story are “bed-slaves.” They are considered property, lowly figures that aren’t to be admired or sought after with the exception of satisfying one’s cardinal lust. So immediately when I began reading this I knew I was in for something quite a bit different to what I was use to.
This book dealt with themes that I had read about before, but deals with them from a different perspective. So for example the theme of a slave escaping or being liberated, when this occurs a slave normally does something of their own choosing that is clearly influenced by their time as a slave. Having recently read Walter Rhein’s Reader of Acheron, I shall use his character Kikkan as a contrasting example. Kikkan was essentially a labor slave, he was used to plow fields and the like, so his most useful trait was his strength, when he took his own freedom he began to use his strength to accomplish tasks of his own choosing. Dii, being a sex slave was eager to choose her own “lover.” It is the same theme of liberation but presented from two very different angles.
I’ve never been a big fan of erotica for the simple reason it doesn’t really interest me. Most erotica has a very specific purpose in mind and is meant to entertain in a very specific way. For me that is where this story outshines most of the erotic genre, it is rather quite clear that Alex Butcher has a genuine love for the fantasy genre.
I am not talking about how one “loves” fantasy because they are a fan of a song of ice and fire but haven’t read anything else in the genre. I mean no offense to anybody, but that is the equivalent of saying you love sea food because you love a particular crab cake a certain bakery sells, but have absolutely no interest in any other seafood. I am talking about a real affection for the fantasy genre has a whole, not one tiny corner of it.
This is first and foremost a dark erotic story, filled with plenty of scenes of sex, both consensual and often not. Dii is sexually desired by most males in this story and that is the biggest theme, but not the only one. Beyond the erotic aspects there is an interesting world and story taking place within the pages of this book.
I found the aspect of magic being illegal most intriguing, I particular liked the quest of Archos, why he was interested in Dii beyond her obvious beauty. The mythology of the Arcane realms I thought was as well presented as a lot of fantasy books I have read. The witch-hunters were capable villains, Lord Joset, the man who once “owned” Dii was a particular vile character.
This story is dark and gritty, but through all of it the author manages to obtain a subtle sense of hope, while never compromising the brutality and wickedness of her presented world. This certainly isn’t a world without heroes, but much like Dii a lot of them are victims of circumstance.
As I said in an earlier paragraph, this goes beyond simply being a stock standard erotica and tells a compelling story, one that I personally enjoyed reading.