Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Tour: Review of The Commander And The Den Asaan Rautu (and Giveaway)

WINNER: Martina CK...Congrats!



My thoughts:
The first thing I have to say about this book is that Michelle's world building is amazing.  Her description of the Haanta, a proud race of giants, and their lands is so vivid and detailed.  While reading, I almost felt I was walking along beside the characters.  Like I said, the Haanta are a proud race and can be very stern and austere.  Their customs are quite constraining and rigid, down to the way they live and the food they eat.  When Rautu, a captive of the Frewyn, is enlisted by Commander Boudicca MacDaede to fight along side her in the war, it is very hard for her to win him over.  But despite his outward view of women as warriors (not their place and all that chauvinistic viewpoint), we find him secretly admiring the Commander and a budding romance ensues, although Rautu tries to fight his feelings with all his might.  An interesting aside, you know the old adage, "food is the way to a man's heart," well, as Rautu is accustomed to very bland fare, I think the Commander wins him over in a small way with her delicious pork and chocolate.  He loves both so much that he greedily stockpiles it for himself.  Too funny!

Michelle's books have been touted as romance, but I didn't really feel that it was the main focus.  Yes, sure there is a romance between Boudicca and Rautu.  However, what I also gleaned from the story was a message of justice, that perhaps the Haanta could learn more humane practices from the Frewyn.  The Haanta seemed to be an intolerant people, especially in their treatment of their mages, many who are mere children.  I think that the developing relationship between the Commander and Rautu, of Rautu becoming more tolerant of her and the customs of her land, it a parallel to a future tolerance among the Haanta.  I guess I will have to read the rest of the books to find out.

Michelle has definitely written an intricate fantasy novel.  Despite some instances of words being overused (simpered comes to mind), it is well-written in its descriptive prose and I enjoyed it.

Guest blog:  Here is an example of Den Asaan Rautu's love of good food:
On his way to the garden, the Den Asaan stopped to send his correspondence by way of one of the messengers in the Haven. He gave the direction of the letters, but the hint of a familiar scent made him hurry through the address. The lingering aroma of chocolate tarts grew stronger and he was unable to concentrate on anything other than discovering their origin. He prowled toward the kitchen, believing it to be the source of the fragrance, and upon arriving at the doorway, he saw one of the fatter cooks—presumably the one who had eaten the almond paste—removing the tray of tarts from the oven.

As they had already been baked last night, she was merely warming them up and preparing to disperse them. She must have believed they were for her and the remainder of the kitchen staff since they had been
left untouched throughout the night, but the giant would prove all such assumptions mistaken.

The cook placed the tray onto the counter and went to the basin to wash her hands. She scrubbed and hummed, imagining to herself how many tarts she would eat before sharing them with others, but when
she turned to dry her hands on the rag beside the basin, she observed a most terrifying sight; a mauve-grey, enormous beast was standing over her precious tarts and devouring them one by one. His loud and
hungry snarls and voracious movements suggested his unfriendliness.  He turned, looked at her, and she drew back. She saw he had gathered the chief of the tarts into his arms. She wished to salvage them even if it meant danger to herself. She sought to lure him carefully away from his object with one of the muffins she had just prepared and when she took one from the pan near the oven, his eyes blazed in wild and ferocious
hunger. She waved the muffin back and forth, watching his eyes follow it, but when she tossed it out of the kitchen, the beast did not chase it.  He took the gesture as an offense and roared at her, causing her to flee
the room in horror. She knew not how the mountainous beast came to her kitchen, she only knew she wanted him gone and Rithea as Head Cleric would certainly know how to expel him.

She raced into the assembly hall and nearly tripped over herself when hurrying toward the lectern where Rithea stood speaking with her two guests. “Pardon me, Rithea,” said the cook, gasping for breath,
“But there’s a monster in the kitchen.”

The commander and Rithea exchanged a doubtful expression. “Monster?” Rithea repeated.

“Aye, and it’s hungry somethin’ terrible. It’s eatin’ all those tarts.  I tried to give it somethin’ else to get it away, but it wouldn’t take nothin’.”

The commander pursed her lips to suppress her laughter. “Did it look at you?” she said, feigning astonishment.

“It did, kin! It had eyes wide and fierce and all. I thought it was gonna eat me.”

The commander laughed and placed a hand on the cook’s shoulder.  “I assure you, it wasn’t. Excuse me, I will tend to this.” She snickered into her hand and went toward the kitchen.
“Was what I saw a demon, kin?” the cook asked Rithea.
“No, dear,” Rithea replied coolly. “What you saw was what happens when a very large man hasn’t eaten for some time. Nothing to worry about, Lettigh.”
The cook thought otherwise, but remained with Rithea and Ghelbhi until her kitchen was secured.
Upon entering the kitchen, the commander found little evidence to support the cook’s claims. There was certainly no creature in the room whether wild beast or famished Den Asaan. There was, however, a tray
of muffins with one missing and the tray of chocolate tarts with only those the commander had fashioned herself absconded. She looked about for evidence of the giant’s presence and found a trail of crumbs along the floor leading out of the kitchen and toward the garden. She followed them and the path led her to the Den Asaan, who was standing in the center of the garden performing his rigorous kaatas. There were no tarts in his hands, near the flower beds, or on his trappings he had left aside, but there were a few crumbs delicately blanketing the furs along the shoulder pelts. She smiled, pleased that he would take so seriously
the matter of her confectionary endeavors, and went to inform Rithea and the cook that the beast had been tranquilized for now.

Book description:
The Kingdom of Frewyn is being invaded by the Galleisian infantry and at the forefront of the battle is
Boudicca MacDaede, a First Captain in the Frewyn armed forces. Her regiment is charged with defending
the borders between the two nations, but when Frewyn’s last line of defense falls, Captain MacDaede enlists the assistance of a Haanta, one of giants from the islands to the far north. Promising to free him from his
imprisonment in exchange for his help, she gains his trust long enough for them to win the battle and save the
Frewyn border from being breached. The giant’s freedom is granted, but Rautu cannot return home unless he redeems himself in the eyes of his people for past his transgressions. He is offered a place by the captain’s side, and together, they defeat the Galleisian forces and become the saviors of Frewyn.  One year later, King Alasdair Brennin takes the Frewyn throne, Boudicca is made commander, Gallei and Frewyn reach an accord, and Rautu is granted an invitation home. He is eager to return and see his brothers but finds it difficult to leave Frewyn without Boudicca at his side. He has become accustomed to her company and the idea of being made to live without her begins to distress him. Rautu invites the commander to the islands in hopes of finding a way for them to remain together, but when they arrive at the white shores of Sanhedhran, not everything goes as planned: one of the dangerous Haanta magi is freed, Rautu’s three brothers are strangely missing, and the neighboring nation of Thellis leads an attack on the islands.  Together, the commander and the Den Asaan Rautu must find a way to unite their two nations and defend against the Thellisian fleets, but can they do so successfully when outside forces are attempting to keep them apart?


Excerpt:
Rautu stood on the bow of the ship remarking his home with the commander at his side. He gazed at the island’s white sands to the south, dense trees to the north, and the animation of the docks with a reverential countenance. He had been waiting for this homecoming for the greater part of three seasons, and when he regarded Sanhedhran for the first time in nine months, all the longing he had reaped during his separation rushed on him. He was eager to stand on the southern shore again and reclaim his place among the Amghari. His exhalations became labored, his eyes glowed with quiet joy, and the Den Asaan’s estrangement was reconciled; he was home, and this was all that occupied him at present.

The commander smiled at the giant’s silent worship and used his fascination as a diversion to place her hand atop his as it rested against the ship’s railing. She savoured the texture of his stone-like flesh with her rough fingertips and then placed her hand along the railing beside his. She observed him to inspect any perceptible difference. There had been a momentary upturning in the corner of his mouth, but his gaze held firmly toward the island approaching. She was satisfied with his minimal recognition, but was amazed to feel his small finger suddenly wrapping around hers. He moved not otherwise, did not even peek at her from the corner of his eye, but she heard the sound of a profound sigh and knew whose sigh it was. She coiled her finger around his, looked toward their pending destination, and wondered how he should govern himself once returned to his people.

Links:

The official site

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble


Reviews:

"I'm always on the lookout for the next series I can get thoroughly involved in and love. With Michelle
Franklin's Haanta series I have found just that." -- Back of the Book Reviews

"If you are a fan of Tamora Pierce or authors similar to her YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK (seriously,
you will not be disappointed)." --Avery's Book Nook

"I was drawn in by the story and prose, which flows beautifully off the page and into the imagination.
This series has something for everyone! This novel alone has war, bloodshed, magic, romance . . ." --A
Book Vacation

"The prose has an Austen-esque quality, the characters are believable and engaging, the woman and the giant are hilarious, the sexual tension is intense. Never thought I would like a romance this much." 
--Concrete Visions

"Instant love." --Cassandra Florence

"I was wondering where well-written, high fantasy went. I found it." -- WareHouse Magazine


Bio:
Michelle Franklin is a woman of moderate consequence who writes many books about giants, romance and
chocolate.

Twitter: @MrsDenAsaan

GIVEAWAY:
Michelle is giving away a PDF copy of her new Haanta novel, The Reporter from Marridon, to one lucky winner.  Just leave a meaningful comment and include your email address.  Giveaway will end on Wednesday October 12 at 11:59pm CST.

4 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

This blog is Award Free. I appreciate your thinking of me for an award, but please know that your comments are my award. Thank you!

  1. Thank you for the kind review! I'm so glad you enjoy it. I hope you'll enjoy the other books in the series as well. :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome, Michelle! I'm glad I was finally able to read it. Like I said in the review, you are an excellent world builder. =O) Now, I'm going to try to read Tales from Frewyn a little bit at a time...in between all my other obligations. Thanks for touring on my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Enter me, please. Great review :)

    martinack_75 AT hotmail DOT com

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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