Thursday, August 14, 2008

A NOBLE SACRIFICE by Ciara Gold

A NOBLE SACRIFICE starts out with a man in a restraining collar. The mention of a planet makes you think it's Science Fiction, but then he's picked up and carried off by a dragon. Okay, so maybe he's a criminal. But, no, he's been betrayed by his own brother and is cursed to relive the torment of a painful hole in the ground over and over again. Apparently, there's sharp things and nastiness at the bottom.
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Break to the heroine lusting over a guy's backside. Joyella wants to settle down but her domineering mama won't allow it just yet. It's not easy being the daughter of a matriarch, you know, dependent on a rock to tell you who you can marry. Joyella's girlfriend starts gushing about the rock finally letting her have some and adds fuel to her chagrin.
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But, then, another rock flashes red, indicating an intruder into their secret rhealm. Joyella is convinced its her fault. She failed to patch up the shield right. There's more mixing of Science Fiction and Fantasy through here. The shield is generated by technology, not magic. Mama demands Joyella read some rocks to find out what happened and is positively abusive when she doesn't like what she hears. And Joyella doesn't even tell her everything.
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A dark-skinned stranger has fallen into their midst. While a rock tells her girlfriend who to marry and Mean Mama tells girlfriend she can apply for the right to bear children in a few years, Joyella is struggling with the intruder. Oh, yes, her male friend, Asa, seems to have to hots for her too. What a day she's having. More fun's on the way. Men are treasured possessions to her people, yet Joyella foresees the dark-skinned stranger leading them. She so does not want to tell Mom about that.
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The dark-skinned stranger, Tared, is discovered and Mean Mama requires Joyella's participation in the interrogation. Joyella learns more than either of them want to know. Tared can see into Joyella's thoughts as well as she can see into his and is convinced she is to be his wife. Needless to say, Mama doesn't like that at all. She can probably sniff 'usurper' all over him, since it is Joyella who will succeed her as queen. Oh, yes, Joyella also learns Tared's an exiled prince gone crackers who's discovered them by accident.
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Mean Mama is in no hurry to give up her throne to anyone, even her daughter. She won't listen to Joyella's concern that their protective shield is failing and the planet above may not be as inhospitable as it once was. That's the trouble with being a tyrant. Once you lose control of what your people fear, you lose power. It's as true for religious tyrants as political ones and the Queen is both.
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So, Joyella is worried about her people's future and convinced they ought to explore the planet's surface. And Tared is convinced he's supposed to marry her. She's from a totally matriarchal society and he's from a totally patriarchal society. Sounds like a match made in Tolkien heaven to me! There's more. Joyella carries Life while Death dogs the Queen's steps. Joyella has no idea, but Tared does.
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Natural affection is not part of the Queen's heart. While she fears the loss of loyalty which has never been truly hers, Joyella accumulates it unknowingly day by day. The Queen concocts a mission for Joyella which she claims will win her favor among their people and Tared's all for it, because it involves them being together. Of course, you've got to suspect the Queen has ulterior motives, but Tared also has plans for Joyella. And Joyella needs the confidence to find her own path between the two, if she's to save her people. And herself.
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If you wrestle with liking Fantasy more than Science Fiction, or the other way around, if you like your Fantasy and/or Science Fiction with a strong romance too, A NOBLE SACRIFICE may be a good one for you. If you like stories which forge bonds across cultures and uncover true virtue beneath lies convenient to tyrants, pop over to http://www.ciaragold.com/ and learn more about the novels of Ciara Gold.

10 comments:

Ciara Gold said...

Thanks so much for the review, Kimber. Yep, I guess it is a cross between fantasy and sci-fi, so a little bit for everyone on this one.

Kimber An said...

We like to mix it up here at Enduring Romance!

Big Mike said...

I read Ciara's first one, and couldn't put it down till I finished (2:30 in the morning). Being one of her writing bud's, I'm hoping she will trade with me again on this one (hint, hint).

Big Mike
Davisstories.com

Kimber An said...

You're a lucky guy, Big Mike!

Kimber Chin said...

I LOVED A Noble Sacrifice.
LOVED it
(can you tell I LOVED it? - Grinning)

The other, other Kimber

Rayka said...

Though it is a mix of sci fi and fantasy, the fantasy part carries the day, I think. Needless to say, I loved reading this book. Ciara Gold has a warm and funny voice which makes her books a must-read for me.
Rayka Mennen

Ciara Gold said...

Thanks bunches, I'm so humbled by all your wonderful comments.

The Belle in Blue said...

I don't usually read either Sci-fi or fantasy books, but this one and Ms. Gold's first one (CELESTIAL DRAGON) grabbed me on the first page and didn't let go! Her construction of the intricate worlds she's created for her multi-faceted, realistic characters is amazing, and the romance between the characters sizzles. Wonderful books!

Ciara Gold said...

Oh wow, thanks so much! An author loves to hear when a reader enjoys their work.

Ginger Simpson said...

Count me in as a lover of Ciara Gold's work. She has such as way of bringing the characters to live and endearing them to the reader. She's on my fav list. :)

Ginger