These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review: The Healer and the Warrior

The Healer and the Warrior The Healer and the Warrior by Bekah Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read three Bekah Clark books thus far – The Hawk In Winter, The Stone Sisters: Lyssa, and The Healer and the Warrior – and I have enjoyed all three. Despite enjoying all three, I can easily pick my favourite. The Healer and the Warrior is, without a doubt, my favourite Bekah Clark book to date. It is a wonderful read in so many ways.

I’ve given all three of my Bekah Clark reads a four star rating. However, after reading this one, I’m left with the belief that I really need to work on handing out a wider range of ratings. Whilst all three are four-star ratings, this is a much stronger four star rating than the other two books. In fact, I seriously considered giving this one a five star rating. I opted not to in the end – something I will go on to explain later in my review – but it is a solid four-point-five read, and I’m sure many will happily hand over the five star rating. The fact I didn’t round up reflects my views of the rating system in place, not a lack of enjoyment in the book. You merely need to look at my prior ratings to realise how rarely I hand out a five star rating – it’s been over a year since I have done so. Nevertheless, after reading this one, I’m fairly certain Bekah Clark will be an author to pull a five star rating out of me at some point in the foreseeable future.

In terms of genre, The Healer and the Warrior falls into two distinct camps: fantasy and romance. Be aware that the romance comes before the fantasy. Whilst the fantasy is a lot of fun, it is merely the backdrop to the romantic storyline. I feel as though people should be aware of this before entering the book, simply to avoid confusion. For those who are fans of both genres, those people who enjoy a combination of the two, I certainly recommend grabbing this one. You will not be disappointed by this romance set in a fantasy world, as both elements will keep you engaged throughout.

Whilst there is a lot to love about this one – I’ll try to squeeze it all into this review, yet I know in doing so I’ll be writing another of my essay length reviews – I can easily inform you of my favourite aspect. My favourite aspect is how Bekah Clark took a step back from the current craze in fantasy novels with female heroines. At the moment to be a strong female character, there is the misconception that the female needs to be a serious warrior. She needs to be cutting down her enemies at every turn, she needs to have her heart locked up, and she needs to give off the general ‘do not touch’ vibes. This is all well and good for the occasional read, but it becomes boring when every single female character falls into this type. Not every female will grab a sword and fight, not every female will be charging into battle. It is all well and good to represent such females, but in doing so the other kind of strong female characters seem to be overlooked.

Bekah Clark amends this issue.

Our title gives it away – we have a healer and a warrior. We’re shown it’s possible to be a strong female character, to make a real change, without the need to pick up a sword. Our female lead makes a change through other kinds of actions. Just because she does not pick up a sword, it does not mean she is weak. As the story progresses, she develops as a character, growing stronger with each chapter, standing up for herself and developing into a person everyone will come to love. It is a prime example of how strong female characters come in so many different guises. You can be a strong female even if you have a man at your side to lean on, even if you’re better at comfort than attack. I positively loved this about the story. It is, as I said, without a doubt my favourite aspect.

Although it was my favourite part, it wasn’t the only wonderful element of the story.

All of the characters were a lot of fun. I’ve already explained why the female lead is my favourite aspect of the story, but the male lead is also wonderful. Bekah Clark gives us a warrior with more than just the usual tropes. He may be a dab hand with the sword, but he’s also a wonderfully complex character. He has flaws, he has emotions, and he is so much more than a simple ‘hot warrior’ you often see in such stories. In addition to our two main characters, the supporting cast are also wonderful. Most of the story consists of interaction between our two leads, yet I came to love so many of the side characters as they came into the story. It really is a wonderful cast of characters.

In addition, the romance was a lot of fun. I’ll be honest and say the start of the romantic story is part of the reason for a four-point-five rating rather than a five star rating. I’m extremely particular about my romance stories, and I have a bit of an issue with romance stories that start with kidnap. I enjoy them, yes, but I have a very particular checklist in my mind that I like to tick off before I consider the story to have been a success. For me, this one didn’t quite hit all of the boxes. Mainly, it was the instalove aspect of the story. I understand that it plays a much bigger role in the overall story, and these details do come about later on, but I still found myself feeling a bit uneasy with how quickly our female lead accepted her situation. I prefer a bit more fight, I like to see a bit more before the kidnaped character starts to have feelings. This, as I said, is just a personal preference of mine. I did love the romance, there were so many fun scenes throughout, but I do feel as though things moved much too quickly at the start.

The other contributor to my four-point-five rating is the ending. I loved the ending – I cannot deny that – but it felt a little bit too quick, and I feel as though a few more things needed to be wrapped up. Throughout, I had so many questions relating to the fantasy world. I came to really love it, yet I was constantly left wanting a bit more. I wanted details of how everything came together, of the events taking place. By the end, I’d hope for some solid information regarding everything, yet it felt a bit too open to me.

I realise this is because there are thoughts of future books. It’s not a given at the moment – although I really do hope we get these future books as I’m so in love with the world – but there is the possibility. Were these future books a done deal I would be content with the somewhat open feeling of the ending regarding the world as a whole. As it is currently a standalone novel, and these future books are not a guarantee, I would have liked something a bit more solid. Again, this is just a personal preference – I was so invested in the world, I wanted to know exactly how the details played out.

Overall, however, this was a wonderful read. Without a doubt, my favourite Bekah Clark read thus far. It has everything you expect from both the romance genre and the fantasy genre – great characters, a wonderful adventure, a love story that leaves you with all kind of emotions, and everything else you could think to request.

Without a doubt, this is certainly a book to pick up. It’s no surprise it was a Kindle Scout winner, as it’s a winner in so many possible ways.

View all my reviews

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