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Khantara: Volume 1 Kindle Edition
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I found the language in this book very beautiful and relaxing; it reminded me stylistically of Kipling. It is not action-packed, but the descriptive language is very dense.
Recommended if you're in the mood for something relaxing and calming.
*I was given a free copy to review.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Why, yes, I realize that's not the standard way the story is interpreted!
Khantara, remember, is a magical giant. He speaks to birds, he is incredibly old, and he has impossible physical strength. He has subordinates who each bear their own incredible might. His people have only invaded Thellis after it became clear that Thellis would not stop attacking them; he reigns over a swath of occupied territory with an agenda centered around not intervening in its people's lives. It was only after Khantara met Anelta and saw first-hand just how abused she was by her owner/pseudo-husband that he resolved to get involved in the affairs of any of his subjects. He ultimately deals with the slavery issue, at least in part; he certainly liberates Anelta, who displays an incredible amount of intelligence for one as downtrodden as a slave. Then again, slaves are often smarter than their presumptive "owners" give them credit for!
The writing in the book is strong; although there are mild slip-ups in grammar, there's nothing worth picking. With regards to diction, usually, any misses suffered when shooting at stars still strike moons. While we do see a bit too little of Khantara's subjects, the giant himself is easily sympathized with so long as we bear in mind the fact that he is, effectively, an alien entity. He is devoid of the emotional fits which his species' males are known for, and he has never settled down with a woman as they tend to. Does it make sense, then, that he would find himself swayed by a comparatively feeble creature like Anelta? Well, in a sense it does; the sentient mind is drawn towards that which is different, and Anelta's existence as "Marked" is certainly strange; though, unlike many of her fellows, she has a natural thirst for knowledge which allows her to compete with the otherwise-advanced culture she brushes up against.
I would strongly encourage you to read Khantara's tale; if nothing else, it makes you understand why an alien race might merely allow us to advance on our own pace, rather than swing down and try to save us from ourselves in one fell swoop!
Khantara is the biggest giant at 9 ft tall, but he is a humble, wise, gentle leader with many talents. He is sent away from the Haanta islands with an invasion force to the mainland to establish a place where the Haanta can keep an eye on a hostile nation that has provoked and attacked them in the past. He is an almost godlike male of his people and respected by all. He teaches the children, oversees the daily affairs of the little outpost, instructs the warriors, and spends time with three of his commanders who were trained by him personally. He has a gift of speaking and listening to animals. But what doesn't he have?
That is where Anelta, a woman of the Thellesian race they have come to observe comes to Khantara's notice. Her role as a marked, untouchable in her culture makes her the lowest of the low of her race. This classification restricts her purpose to slave status though her situation is even more pitiable. Most slaves at least have food, clothes and shelter. Anelta is left with no food, threadbare clothes, and must grovel to maintain the shelter for the frequently absent and abusive man who owns her.
The difference in their cultures draws Khantara's attention, his compassion, and then because of Anelta's indomitable spirit, his care and respect. In Khantara, Anelta finds the first person to treat her with value. Their friendship blossoms and grows to something more thought they both are hesitant to acknowledge this. What of her master when he returns? Anelta fears him discovering her friendship with a Haanta and Khantara fears for her wellbeing and how he can keep her safe without jeopardizing the precarious peace between the two peoples.
This book is not one with a great deal of conflict, but foreshadowing is there of the possibility. The plot is mostly a gentle ebb and flow as the characters interact.
The principle h/h are wonderfully written and draw one's interest, but as she does so well, Khantara's 3 trainees and companions all are wonderfully well written too. His bird companion is a delight and it is fun when the writing comes from his little POV.
The world building is terrific and one has no trouble immersing in the Haanta world. The Haanta giants' culture is well described without being tedious as is the Thellesian culture.
My only moment of dissatisfaction was to realize that once again, Michelle Franklin has ended her book right with that whole 'to be continued' at a good spot. Grrrr!
I must make special mention of the cover illustrator, Twisk, because I adore her work in taking Michelle Franklin's character descriptions and turning them into life for us to see.
Love the book- recommend!!!!