Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Stolen Warrior by Anastasia Rabiyah

TITLE: The Stolen Warrior
AUTHOR: Anastasia Rabiyah
PUBLISHER: Sugar and Spice Press
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 15k)
GENRE: Fantasy erotic romance
COST: $3.99

Hessa is a slave owned and branded by the Omi House, but her scarred face keeps her to hard labor rather than as a pleasure slave. As she’s delivering food to the men used to fight in the pits for the enjoyment of the masses, one in particular grabs her attention when he asks for her help in escaping. Attracted to a man for the first time in her life, she opts to do what she can, though considering how little power she actually has, she’s not sure how she’s going to do it…

The first short story I read by this author got to me on a gut level. I was hoping for a repeat of that experience, but unfortunately, it never quite materialized.

Hessa Omi is a branded slave, scarred at a young age. The marring of her beauty makes her unfit for being a pleasure slave so instead she works hard labor. One of her jobs is feeding the imprisoned pit fighters. A select group who have survived are waiting to be used to breed more fighters, and Hessa is drawn to one in particular. He introduces himself as Gunnar, an air singer from a distant island, and asks for her aid in escaping. She initially says no, since she has no idea how to get him out anyway, but she can’t stay away from him, and when an opportunity arises to do as he requests, she grabs it.

For a short story, a lot actually happens in this, which ultimately proves to be its greatest weakness. There’s too much story going on to make it fleshed out enough to enjoy. It’s a fantasy world that only gets a minimal amount of building, with a heroine that is a passive archetype (outside of her one act to help Gunnar escape). Many of the events that occur happen around Hessa, and the changes that come do so at the behest of other characters instead of her own actions (again, with the single exception of the key to their escape). It makes her very dull as a result, and I never understood why Gunnar would be willing to trust in her…except, oh yeah, he prayed and then she showed up and he just knew she was the one. It’s completely circumstantial and uninteresting, as well as flattens any depth he might have otherwise had.

The potential of the story never fully appeared. It’s not overly erotic, so it doesn’t appeal on that level, the heroine is too passive for me to really root for her, and the hero so two-dimensional I didn’t have the romance to latch onto, either. Disappointing, though I haven’t given up on this author yet.


7/10 – Not the cleanest, and some telling instead of showing, but swift and mildly intriguing


5/10 – He’s a figure more than a person, I kept expecting more depth


4/10 – A victim of circumstance, except for her big moment in the middle she has things done to her rather than instigates change for herself

Entertainment value

5/10 – I kept waiting for the potential of the story to play out, but it didn’t really come

World building

6/10 – Not nearly enough explanation or detail to do more than hint at the promise of the fantasy world



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