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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Hollow King by Tasarla Romaney

The Hollow King by Tasarla Romaney
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Humankind is plagued by an unspeakable evil who releasing monsters of nightmares. The banished world of magic is fading unable to contain or fight the evil threating the humans.

The Hollow King begins the journey of five unlikely companions. All harbor secrets that have the power to destroy or save. Friendships are formed. Love is found and destroyed. Can they overcome their differences and adversities to begin seeking the Specter of Hope?

Leave the world you know behind and join the quest for the Scepter of Hope.

Ms. Romaney has created an enchanting world filled with magic, fantastic creatures, and wonderful characters. The world in The Hollow King is being threatened by Ovezara, an evil sorceress. Five strangers, Queen Taraly, Taigo, King Crenshaw, Sancha, and Jalie, find themselves bound on a quest to recover the Scepter of Hope, the only thing that can rid the world of the evil. However, each member of the alliance seems to have secrets or a personal agenda that threaten to derail the quest. Will the uneasy alliance follow the path fate has destined for them, or will the quest fail before it even starts?

One of the things I like most about The Hollow King are the interesting characters on the quest. Taraly is probably my favorite of the bunch. She is strong and loyal, but also young and impulsive. After the death of her father, Taraly is so determined to prove that she can be a great queen, that she makes some foolish decisions. Despite her rash behavior, I found her very easy to like. Though she is a woman, she fights as well as any man, and she’ll fight fiercely to defend those she cares about. I also liked that Taraly had a softer side to balance her character a bit. Once she begins the quest, Taraly begins to have feelings for Taigo. However, Taraly has never been in love before and is uncertain of her feelings or how to act on them. I certainly look forward to watching their relationship progress in future installments of the series.

Taigo is definitely a mysterious character. He’s the leader of the outsiders, misfits who are beings of magic and are generally shunned by humans. However, Taigo’s knowledge of the world of magic makes him a valuable asset on the quest. At first, Taigo seemed very reserved. I had a hard time discerning his personality. As the story progressed, Taigo gradually came out of his shell. Though humanity has hardly been kind to his people, Taigo is an honorable man determined to save the world from evil. That sort of integrity is very admirable. Taigo really shines when he is with Taraly. They bring out the best in each other. I loved watching them practicing sword play or engaging in flirtatious banter.

Crenshaw is a broken man. Like Taraly, he is a young ruler. Unfortunately, Crenshaw made the mistake of falling for Ovezara. After she took over his kingdom, he was tortured for months at her hand. Once Taigo helps him escape, Crenshaw only has thoughts of revenge. At first, Crenshaw’s character seemed very one dimensional. He doesn’t care for anyone or anything. The only thing he wants to do is kill Ovezara. However, as I continued to read, Ms. Romaney gives little flashes of insight that reveal Crenshaw isn’t as hard as he seems. Despite his sarcastic outer shell, he does care about the fate of humanity and even comes to care about the other members on the quest.

If I had to describe Sancha in one word, it would be dependable. After the loss of his father, Sancha is determined to rid the world of the evil creatures that killed his father. Though Sancha seems plain compared to the other characters on the quest, he is every bit as important. He is a skilled fighter and has the extra ability to communicate with animals. I especially enjoyed his humorous conversations with a wolfhound.

Jalie is the most enigmatic member of the group. She is the daughter of the oracle, so she knows certain things about the future, but cannot always reveal what she knows. I found it very hard to discern if Jalie was lying or simply leaving out some of the truth. Despite my unease about her character, I enjoyed watching Jalie and Sancha interact. The two have a budding romance that is very sweet to watch. However, Jalie’s secretive behavior weighs heavily on him. I have a feeling their romance is going to follow a rough road.

One of the things that set The Hollow King apart from other stories is that Ovezara is a truly interesting villainess. She is selfish, power hungry, and commits some truly terrible acts in the story, and yet, I found myself feeling sorry for her. Ovezara is not her own master. She is following the orders of a very evil man called Trelek who has abused her for most of her life. I can’t help but think that Ovezara would have chosen a different path for her life if Trelek hadn’t gotten a hold of her. I look forward to watching her character continue to develop in the next book in the series.

Ms. Romaney is also very adept at adding little twists into the plot. Just when I thought I had certain characters figured out, Ms. Romaney revealed a hidden relationship or bit of back story that would cast everything in a different light. These little surprises added a great deal of depth to an already interesting story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hollow King, but I must warn readers that this book ends at a pivotal moment that leaves readers hanging until the next book in the series comes out. I have become so wrapped up in the characters and their quest, that I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment. Readers who enjoy a great fantasy with a touch of romance won’t want to miss this book.