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Author: Ben Wolfe
Length: 136 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Fantasy Anthology, Short Stories, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Release Date: November 24, 2019
Synopsis: *CURSE OF THE LIANSHI*
(1st of 5 short stories Tales of the Lianshi – PUB DEC 2018)
When a beautiful young gypsy falls in love with the son of the Hammer of Anjou, the right-hand enforcer for the French throne, things are bound to get complicated. Add a love spell, a blood curse, and a shapeshifting dragon and what could possibly go wrong?
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book from the author which has in no way affected or influenced by opinion or this review.
I have a one-sentence one-page rule with books I read for fun. I open to a random page and read one sentence. If the sentence grabs me, I will read the rest of the paragraph. If the sentence doesn’t grab me, I will not read the book. If the paragraph is interesting to me, I will read the rest of the page. If the paragraph doesn’t interest me, I will not read the book. If the rest of the page holds my interest, I will go to the first page and read the book from the beginning. If I haven’t been sucked in by the end of that random page I read, I won’t read the book.
Because I had decided to review World of the Lianshae before borrowing it on Kindle Unlimited, I did not need to do my page test. I would plod on through whatever my interest. To be honest, I wasn’t really sucked in until the third chapter. There was a lot of world-building and establishment of the mythology and cultures for the first chapter that I was kind of wading through at first. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good stuff and only gets better and more involved the deeper into the stories you go.
Ben Wolfe builds a culturally rich alternate reality where magic and curses are not only a matter of fact but also a means of everyday warfare. Lianshi has never been a “normal” girl. In her human life, she is a gypsy witch, an exceptional creature to begin with. But she is cursed, and her curse makes her functionally immortal (though still capable of being injured and feeling pain) and somehow banishes her to another reality where she becomes embroiled in the wars and politics of their realm as the leader of a new nation.
Because The Lianshi (now empress) is a powerful magical being to begin with, her story in and of itself isn’t terribly impressive (to me, right now, because I haven’t gotten to the really good part yet which is in another book where more of her personal adventure and challenges are explored). She cannot die until the curse is lifted and therefore, it seems like she will always prevail. (I’ve been assured that there will be more focusing on her personal story and thoughts in other books and I’m sure it will be riveting.) However, the stories of the people who serve her, or flee to her for protection from war and persecution, are fabulously compelling. I can’t wait to read more about this fascinating world and the characters within it.
Buy “World of the Lianshae: A Ben Wolfe Anthology” in e-book on Amazon with my affiliate link.
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