"The Goddess's Choice" by Jamie Marchant
This is the story of a young man from the country and a young princess in need of a consort to rule the kingdom. The young country boy, Robbie, or , lives with his father and brother on a farm in the kings lands. The princess, Samantha, lives in the castle with the king and is trying her best not to marry anyone just because she has too.
Robbie is an outcast from his family and the town he lives in. The town thinks he is a demon, as does his father and his brother. Robbie's mother died upon giving birth to him and his father has never forgiven him for that. His dark skin and green eyes give people the impression that he is a demon. No one will be his friend and hardly anyone will even talk to him.
On top of a town that thinks Robbie comes from the Seven Hells his father and brother beat him on a constant basis over any little thing he does. His father beats his back with a strap while his brother holds him down and his brother beats him to a pulp with his friends just for being different.
Part of what makes Robbie different, other than his looks, is his magical ability. He has the ability to heal and communicate with animals. This also leads people to believe he is a demon as no one else has this ability. However, his being a demon never stops the local townsfolk from asking his help to cure their livestock when they are sick or injured.
During one of his visits to a livestock fair with his father he meets a young girl and they spend the entire day together. This girl ends up being Samantha in disguise. She knows nothing of what the local townsfolk thinks of him and sees him for just who he is and falls in love with him. Robbie also falls in love with her and spends his days dreaming of her.
After they meet is really where the story begins. The beginning was a bit slow for my tastes as it was a lot of background information, but not horrible to read. Just a bit slow. Your introduced to the main characters and get some background information on each of them and see where they are coming from.
During the story, but especially after Robbie and Samantha meet, the political intrigue is introduced. This adds a great deal of tension to the story and I found it to be pretty well done. The politics added a great addition to the overarching love story of the book. There were a few times where I felt the tension while reading and had to finish the chapter just to find out what would happen next.
One thing that bugged me a little bit was where the scene breaks occurred. I felt there were too many scene breaks in places they didn't need to be. They broke up a scene into smaller pieces that didn't need to be broken up. What that ended up doing was screwing up the pace of the scene for me and caused some pacing issues with me. I would be reading along and then scene break, only to have the next sentence continue with the previous scene. A small thing, but I felt that the scene breaks could have been handled a little bit better.
The characters were fairly done. They each had their own voice and personality. What each character said and, or, did matched their personality. Sometimes the dialogue was a bit generic, but overall it still worked. I didn't feel that the characters were flat or just melted into the background.
One minor thing that kind of bugged me with the characters were how one character in particular was introduced well into the book. They seem to come out of nowhere and then just as fast as they were introduced the chapter was done. Then you didn't hear about them again until very much later into the story.
Another thing I noticed that would of helped me is a few more character tags. There were some scenes that were hard to follow the dialogue because I wasn't sure who was saying what all the time. A few extra tags on who was saying what would have been helpful to me while reading. Sometimes I had to reread a section a couple times to fully understand who was saying what.
Over all the pace of the book was good. I don't have any major complaints. There were a few parts of the book that seemed to slow down everything, but it would pick up not too long after and everything would be ok. The speed of the book really picked up toward the end of the book. It felt like the last quarter of the book just flew by as opposed to the previous three-quarters that just seemed to pass by.
I liked the love story. That is essentially what this story was. It was the story of a young man and young woman or against all odds are destined to be together. Also a young country boy who is destined for greatness, but doesn't know it until the end of the story. Typical fantasy tropes, but they are topes that I love to read about in fantasy books. If they are done right, they work and I felt that this story did it well enough. I enjoyed the story.
I felt this book was a great opening book to a fantasy trilogy. There were a few rough spots as are some indie authored books, but nothing that couldn't easily be overlooked. I look forward to reading the next installment of this series. Overall this was a very well done fantasy story.