Those are just two words to describe “The Rose of Shanhasson” by Joely Sue Burkhart. Joely expertly blends Fantasy and Romance in a novel that will make your heart thump thump thump as mine did. She produces characters that pull at your heart-strings and you’ll ache just as they ache. They are well put together and absolutely magnificent.
Shannari is the Rose of Shanhasson destined to wear the Rose Crown and rule as High Queen of the Green Lands. She is betrothed to Prince Theo, a vile man who intends to rule the Green Lands alone. However, the Blessed Lady has her own plans that she has already set in motion. Betrayed and heart-broken, Shannari’s magic is crippled and that magic is the key to saving her home, the Green Lands. Shannari has her own plans though and they do not revolve around the use of her magic to save her lands.
Shannari’s plans, however, are put on hold when the Sha’Kae al’Dan attack Dalden Bay. Rhaekhar, Khul of the Nine Camps, his nine Blood and his warriors defeat Shannari’s soldiers in battle. In victory, Rhaekhar claims Shannari, sparing her soldiers. Shannari refuses to let any of her soldiers take her place because that would wound her sense of duty. She surrenders and allows the Khul takes her home to his Plains. Rhaekhar is convinced he has found his Rose, given to him in a vision from the Great Wind Stallion. The Khul showers her with his love but Shannari rebels unwilling to love another.
Among Rhaekhar’s nine Blood, there is Varne, who dislikes this outlander chosen by his Khul. Calling to Shannari’s own shadows is Gregar, the Khul’s Shadowed Blood. Between the honorable Rhaekhar and the dark shadows of Gregar, Shannari’s destiny grows more complicated by the minute. Will she choose to love again or will she choose to give herself in marriage to the Dark Prince of the Green Lands.
I absolutely loved Gregar and Rhaekhar however I do have to claim Gregar as my favorite because of his darkness. His character is so tantalizing, the former assassin who’s shadows call to Shannari’s. He’s absolutely heart breaking at times and fearsome at others. The whole culture of the Sha’Kae al’Dan drew me in and wouldn’t let me go as Joely wove her tale around Shannari’s destiny. Her time with Rhaekhar is full of passion, desire, honor, battle, blood and choice. I have only a few words of closing and these are particularly for Joely Sue Burkhart.
I want more! ….and a Gregar doll.