- Also check our best rated Romance Book reviews
The Archer's Heart Paperback – 1 Sep 2008
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In overview the plot is about a power-struggle between 2 branches of a family competing for the throne. Refreshingly, there's no straight-forward "good" & "bad" sides. Each contender has their virtues & weaknesses. The terrible implications of a society run on strict religious codes(at least at the surface-level)where the class/caste a person was born to or their sexual nature can condemn them to death (or worse a living hell) also threads through every aspect of the story.
The characters and the fantasy world are richly brought to life and the story gripped me from the start. I had to force myself to read the book slowly - to savour it - and not give in to the temptation to rush through it.
My only criticism is that some of the vocabulory used by the author seemed inappropriate for the aforementioned eastern style she selected for her fantasy world. For example, someone describing women as "chicks" seemed totally out of place as did one reference to a character being called "gay" (and in the homosexual context). It was also a pity that the author who had described this world's culture, food, clothing etc so richly & imaginatively - couldn't apply that same imagination to the rather tedious use of "modern-day" and "americanised" swearing & other expletives.
But please don't let that one failing stop you from buying this book - it's otherwise perfect!
And I'll admit, the plotline is good enough. Two branches of the same royal family with two competing ideologies, with lots of Indian mythology thrown in (the latter half of the book centres around some of the major stories from Indian myth). But everything from dialogue to character development is frustratingly two dimensional, and while I have nothing against cursing in principle the sheer amount of it in this book turned me off - as well as making no sense; the author makes a large point around Jandu's 'purity', but he swears all the time. That's just one example of the contradiction rife in this book. The relationships between many of the characters just aren't realistic and while I have to admit Amara knows her Indian culture, and inspects and explains the caste system in great detail, there is absaloutely nothing to hold a reader engaged except interest in the background of the story. I gave up in disgust with a quarter of the book left to go; it just wasn't worth it.
Overall - don't waste your money, you'll just end up regretting it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is very well written, and while there are a host of characters, the focus of the book is on Jandu. It's a real pleasure to watch his development, from a rather spoiled and callow young nobleman to one who takes a real and sincere interest in the plight of those less fortunate than himself. His transformation to one who is willing to stand up for what he believes is right, no matter what the personal cost, is marvellous; nicely done. The book does include some social commentary that, with very little adaptation, could be applied to situations in the modern world; makes the reader think a bit...
There are only a few very minor drawbacks worth mentioning here. The dialogue is all very contemporary in tone, which occasionally seems a bit incongruous when the setting of the story is akin to ancient India. However, I guess I can't really complain about that; this isn't a historical drama, after all, so there's no need to adhere to the styles of any particular period in history.... Now, I really would have liked to learn more about the magical system that exists in this world; it's unlike any I've encountered in other fantasy novels, and I wish that had been explored in greater depth. Likewise, I would have liked to learn much more of Keshan's mixed background, more about the parallel plane of existence through which he (because of his parentage) is able to enter. That's really my only reservation about the book, and it's so mild that I don't even consider it to be a negative comment.
In short, I loved this book, and would really like to read more by the author---I believe she has a new novel coming out early next year, which sounds interesting.
I'm going to call this a "gay fantasy," rather than a "fantasy with gay characters," because I think it's most likely to appeal to those with gay sensibilities; I don't know if this will have the crossover appeal of a fantasy like the "Nightrunner" series (Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner, Vol. 1)), for instance. While I wouldn't place this book within the romance genre, the growing attraction and deep devotion between Jandu and Keshan is a very vital part of the story; the very heart of it, in fact. And as their relationship deepens, the text does include a handful of frank love scenes, very nicely written. All this is good news for gay readers of course, but may limit the appeal of the book to the more generalized fantasy audience.
*****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FANTASY READERS*****
(I do like the cover of this one, but couldn't help but think---since this book is (for all intents and purposes) set in India, why doesn't the character on the jacket look, well, Indian?)
This book was alternately fun, touching, erotic, and hopeful. There were parts that I completely related to, such as Jandu's struggle with his sexual orientation (the scene where he breaks down and cries after he has sex with Keshan; the scene where he sees Keshan for the first time after their initial "break-up", etc).
Anyway, from someone who has read a lot of gay fantasy, I'd highly recommend this novel to anyone else who reads in this genre. This one was a gem, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Making use of Hindu mythology with its colorful cultures, mind boggling magics and terrible caste system the writer has turned The Archer's Heart into a magnificent fantasy epic. The plot itself is complex and spellbinding, one roller coaster ride both emotionally and as a grand adventure epic. Court intricacies, princes killing each other for the throne, astounding magics in the arts of wars involving gods and goddesses. And above all a moving and captivating romance as old as time. I love Keshan and Jandu, a lord and a prince who have to overcome so much trials and tribulations to be together. Keshan to Jandu's rescue is one heart gripping scene and is simply unforgettable as are both men willing to give up all to be together. There are scenes here involving the lovers and with their brothers which I do not think I will ever forget and this makes The Archer's Heart a very special book for me. Bravo Astrid Amara.