Title: The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu, Vol. 1
Author: Michelle Franklin
Page Count: 143 pages (pdf format)
Publisher: Red Willow Publishing
Genre: fantasy romance
Copy for review provided by the author and Bewitching Book Tours in anticipation of an honest review
When Frewyn's last line of defense falls, Boudicca MacDaede, leader of the Frewyn armed forces, enlists the assistance of Den Asaan Rautu, one of the Haanta giants from the islands to the far north. After winning a war, spending a year fighting by her side, Rautu is called back to his people but finds it impossible to leave without the woman he has come to love. Now he must find a way to make her his mate while fending off an impending attack against his people that threatens to break them apart forever.
This was the first fun installment in what promises to be a very good series. Originally posted as a free online serial at The Haanta Series, this is the beginning of the much wider story arc and introduces the basic cast of characters.
Rautu, the giant hero of the story, is a bit of a grump. He's far away from home and just wants to get back and finds himself constantly bamboozled by the strange customs and attitudes in Frewyn, homeland to the Commander- the two facts that she's a woman and also a great military leader just don't compute in his brain for a long time. That doesn't stop him from falling in love with her, though, and while he's okay with admitting that to himself, he doesn't have the foggiest notion about how to go about communicating that to her, so instead he grouses at her at every turn. The Commander sees through the act and teases him right back, which was quite amusing to read.
This book really sets the stage for the wider setting of the story, and we get to meet a lot of other interesting characters as well as learn about Rautu's culture and how it's different from the one in Frewyn. The Commander quickly realizes that things that seem like common sense to her are completely foreign to the giants, and that she needs to tread lightly or risk causing a big stink. Well, she tries anyway- a big stink happens regardless.
Rautu and the Commander's love story is front and center in this story, and it was a pleasure to read. The ground is laid for future installments of the series and I hope that more of the online content is released in book form. I had the pleasure of reading Tales of Frewyn during the giveaway carnival back in July and it definitely made me want to read the actual series. If you're a fan of fun and unique fantasy romance then definitely make plans to read this.
Overall Grade: B+
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