the battle sylph by lj mcdonald

Posted on October 21, 2010


No need to make fantasy romance a guilty secret. I’m very pleased overall with writing, plotting, world building, and characterization. With the last I feel the two main love interests were put in the shade by all the other characters I found more interesting with stronger personalities. Solie and Heyou were likable enough but they were nice kids and I don’t go reading my books for nice kids lucky enough to become the hero and heroines of a book. I enjoyed their love story but I really liked this book for the possibilities brimming in the other characters. Damaged Rill and his love for the still-child Lizzie is as intriguing as the world of sylphs and the humans whose attention they crave. I can’t wait for the sequel The Shattered Sylph where Rill goes after grown-up Lizzie kidnapped by slavers.

To enslave a battle sylph, a woman must be sacrificed. But Solie refused to be sacrificed.

Maybe this should be a guilty secret after all. When I started this book blog, I wanted my reviews (impressions rather) to be genderless. But I guess it’s impossible to hold back the squees upon encountering very good romances, which happens rarely. I usually find romances that appeal to me set within other genres, like urban fantasy (Kate Daniel series by Illona Andrews) and Sword of Maiden’s Tears by Rosemary Edghill. From the genre itself only two series stood out, Drakon series by Shana Abe with lyrical writing and solemn characters; and Darkyn by Lynn Viehl, dark, edgy and which also reads like a paranormal thriller.

In the world of the battle sylphs, women’s fantasies to be worshipped and protected are fulfilled to the max. Sylphs are powerful energy creatures that can take on any shape. There are different kinds–air, earth, fire, water, food, healing, and battle sylphs. What they have in common is an overriding need for attention. They are very simple creatures actually. The older they are, like centuries old, the more complex their needs and wants are. In their formless world, they vie for the attention of a queen. Given how numerous they are they may live and die without making an intimate connection with anybody else.

So when human magicians open a gate to their world, they are easily lured. Sylphs become slaves of humans who make them work or do battle for them. Battle sylphs are the most powerful, to be lured only by women. In the male-dominated human world, women may not become masters, killed the moment a battle sylph is caught. This so traumatizes the sylphs that they become insane, projecting powerful hate forevermore to the males they are forced to serve.

Fortunately, Solie kept her wits about her and named the creature that came through the gate that it was able to protect her and assume human form. Thus another fantasy romance is born that I bet will almost be as popular as Christine Feehan’s Dark Vampire series. May I request though for older or more complex central characters in subsequent stories. Solie and too many of the sylphs in this debut are childlike and I doubt young adults are the intended audience of the series.

Posted in: mushy weird