Title: The Brush Whistler’s Song
Author: Augusta Li
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Characters: Arjin, Najadira
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Young Arjin is caught in the web of an ancient truce. Barely into his adulthood, he is given as tribute to the mysterious Najadira, part of a race of nigh-immortal horned warriors known as the Ansari. But Arjin is no innocent. Since his childhood, he has been trained for this day, groomed by the temple priests for a singular purpose: not to please the Ansari, but to murder him and free his people from the terms of their agreement.
Najadira, though, is old and jaded, and unsurprised by Arjin’s true nature. Still, he chooses to keep Arjin near to him, finding that the young man’s zeal quickens his old blood like few before him ever did. He allows Arjin access into his world, a world of beauty and wonder that had before now been denied. And as Arjin learns more about Najadira, he begins to question his teachings about the Ansari. Ultimately, he must choose between taking a life in the service of his beliefs or abandoning his duty and thereby condemning his soul to the decadence and sin surrounding him.
Augusta Li is one of those authors who writes stories that I keep an eye out for. Her descriptive storytelling ability is so smooth and almost lyrical; it immediately sweeps this reader into the imaginative worlds she creates and into the lives of her sexy and unique characters.
Ever since he can remember, Arjin has been trained to kill one of the remaining members of the Ansari. Raised by monks, Arjin has been programmed to not question their beliefs, and since they think the Ansari is an evil race, Arjin faithfully believes them and does what he’s told to do. He is prepared and given as a ‘gift’ to one of the last Ansari, Naja, and even though Arjin knows he must give into the Ansari’s will, he has every intention of earning Naja’s trust so Arjin can do as he’s been trained to do. Kill him.
But to Arjin’s dismay, things don’t always go as planned. Even though he knows he’s supposed to hate Naja, he doesn’t. The problem is Naja doesn’t act as evil as Arjin thought he would be. Instead, Naja welcomes him into his life, offers his knowledge and as well as the freedom for Arjin to be himself. Soon, Arjin knows he’s starting to fall for the beautiful Naja, and starts questioning everything he’s been told and believed in the past. Will Arjin be able to see the truth and realize that his love for Naja is truly a gift, or will his past beliefs keep him from having that once in a lifetime love?
For a short story, The Brush Whistler’s Song has a lot of intrigue, passion and content. It’s so well-written it doesn’t read like a short novel. I was immediately swept up into these characters lives and before I knew it, the story ended. Ms. Li has a knack of really getting into the heart and soul of her characters. They are not perfect heroes. They must go through a lot of soul searching and personal growth before they can make a life together. I loved watching Arjin’s character start to question what he’s been programmed to think and truly start recognizing the truth before him.
The publisher warns that this book has some dubious consent content between the heroes. I’ve read MANY books and several of them have been tagged as dub con, but in all honesty I didn’t feel uncomfortable with any of the sexual content between Arjin and Naja. It’s true that Arjin is confused, but Naja is very caring and doesn’t do anything to Arjin that he doesn’t want. I personally thought the sex scenes were quite seductive and lovely, but this is only my opinion and if you have any reservations about it, I would encourage you to read more reviews on the book or even ask the author about it, and make a decision that you feel comfortable making.
My only gripe about this book is…I wish it had been longer. I loved these two heroes and thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall in love with each other. Ms. Li has gained another die hard reader and she’s officially become one of my ‘must buy’ authors. Highly Recommended!
Reviewed By: Gabbi