Beneath the Thirteen Moons by Kathryne Kennedy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length: Full Length (350 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
He's a ruler in a divided world...
In the magical, watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com'nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.
She's an outcast, but at least she has her independence...
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn't think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of the Sea Forest, Mahri knows that this is her only chance to change the fate of her people...
Anyone who enjoyed Avatar or liked the concept of it will surely enjoy this latest amazing adventure by the talented Ms. Kennedy.
I think the author’s version is more along the lines of what would happen generations later to humans who settled a planet and forgot their origins. Over time they evolved into something new and magical but something cathartic needed to happen to set the metamorphosis in motion and in this story, that event is love between a man and a woman.
Mahri is the heroine who has trust issues. Not because of something diabolical that scarred her. It was based on her own experience of lost love and the complications of class structure among the society she lived in. She has good solid values of loyalty, duty, love of family but her drive and determination come from her refusal to fail. She’s compelled to do the unthinkable in order to save those that she loves from a dreaded sickness and time is running out. The author did a good job of making me care for those that Mahri loves including the woman herself. I got a clear sense of her fears, her yearnings and her tentative hope. I understood her skittishness when something really positive and beautiful came into her life and her obstinate refusal to admit that it meant as much to her as it really did.
That something positive and beautiful is Korl, the hero. He doesn’t exactly come into her life, she kidnaps him. I enjoyed watching this proud man, who was secluded from the realities of the people who live beyond the scope of his kingdom, come to grips with all that he saw and Mahri opened his eyes to a much bigger world than he realized. Because he is so sure of himself and his position in life is why I felt he was freer to recognize and verbalize his love for Mahri. Korl’s character is full of strength, passion, and the will to fight for what he wants and what he believes to be right. His sense of what is right is challenged by Mahri in every step of his journey with her. The part in the boat with the cats was incredibly powerful. At that moment I understood just how strong a man Korl is, and how much more Mahri needed to grow within herself before she could accept the gift that he had already given her.
Another beautiful part of the journey while Mahri was fighting her attraction and growing love for Korl was her revelations. As much as she fought her feelings, she had emotional urges to share things with him that she’d shown no one before, even her first husband. Ms. Kennedy wowed me with the scope of her imagination. The visual pictures her words painted in my mind would have rivaled the movie Avatar if it were brought to the big screen. The creatures she has created to populate the planet include those in the air, on the ground and in the ocean. The world building alone blows my mind because the author paid attention to the littlest detail. Even Mahri’s furry companion, Jaja was a delight. I liked how he’d whack either Mahri or Korl when they were being too dense about something or needed to pay attention. The critter didn’t need to use words to get his point across. Not only that but the author has a surprise up her sleeve for readers as the story unfolds in which Jaja plays an integral role. It’s not too often I read a book where a strong secondary character isn’t even human. I liked the freshness of it.
The conflict, as you can well imagine, is primarily internal. But there are definitely external dangers and they plague both of them on and off throughout the story. The zabba root is the substance that makes good things and bad things happen and I found the concept fascinating. There’s a revelation about that little herb that has powerful repercussions and actually plays into the plot throughout the book.
Watching the romance develop between Korl and Mahri was both entertaining and painful. The sensual buildup was seductive and the physical moments between the two characters were fraught with emotional tension. So much healing had to take place before their bonding was solid and unbreakable. Korl’s eventual realization that to keep her he had to let her go was another touching moment that endeared his character to me all the more. For me, Ms. Kennedy didn’t miss any of my emotional hot buttons to push. She found them all with the telling of this story. Not only that, but the last things that Korl says in the book just had me melting into a puddle of romantic happiness. What a hero. :::sigh:::
Beneath the Thirteen Moons is a wonderful epic of a romance taking place on a fantastical world with a hero and heroine sure to find a place in a reader’s heart. Ms. Kennedy has another winner on her hands and her talent for words brings to life characters you can believe in and is what makes the happily ever after so powerful. This book is a must read for all sci-fi romance fans who seek quality writing full of heart, adventure and a world that will astound a reader with its vivid imagery. I hope Ms. Kennedy plans to visit with Korl and Mahri again someday because all that creative energy that went into the making of this book shouldn’t be a one shot deal. It’s too amazing and rich and I really want to learn more about the indigenous people of the planet. This book was total entertainment and I don’t want it to end. I give this tale a big and loud five books.