Title: Beyond the Rift [Elemental Lovers #1]
Author: Alana Ankh
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 260 pages (89,200 words)
Sub-Genre: High Fantasy
Kisses: 5 Kisses
Across the centuries, the Nikari, a race of vicious elemental mages, have built an empire, bringing an entire continent to its knees. The course of history seems set… until one innocent Andari mage changes everything and claims a greater prize—the heart of the Nikari emperor.
Behnivyr ‘Ivy’ Erethe knows his duty is to wed another Andari Pure-Blood. Craving one moment of freedom before his loveless bonding, he escapes his father’s suffocating protection and goes to a masquerade ball, only to unexpectedly meet a mysterious Nikari named Kris. Kris makes Ivy ache with a need he barely dares to acknowledge. One kiss, one dance—and Ivy’s life changes forever. Unbeknownst to Ivy, Kris is actually Kristelien Fezenda, the Nikari emperor. Forced to make a difficult choice, Ivy picks love over duty and becomes Kris’s concubine.
Poorly prepared for the whirlwind of emotion Ivy summons inside him, Kris now faces the hardest battle of his life. In a ruthless world where all weakness is exploited, where allies become enemies in the blink of an eye, where love can mean death, he will have to defeat more than his own personal demons to breach the rift between him and Ivy.
Even though the blurb makes the books sound a bit like a Young Adult story, with Ivy only a few weeks past his majority, it is not one. Instead, this is an intrigue. Although, Ivy is young and sheltered, Kris is anything but. The story has a rich history, very different cultures, and dangerous secrets.
I think the best bit was that Ms Ankh didn’t make Ivy grow up too fast, instead he is the naive boy thrust into court and a position that is mostly decorative who wants to help the man he’s fallen for. And Kris isn’t the man who know everything, instead, having been raised to duty, the situation with Ivy is something he is personally ill prepared for. And despite being the first in the series, there is a very satisfying conclusion.
I would recommend this for any lovers of high fantasy. Yes, there is some sex, but it’s not gratuitous, and the plot is strong and a roller coaster of emotions. I will definitely be reading the next in the series, and probably the third, just on the basis of this book alone.
Reviewed By: Alison