Author: Kathryne Kennedy
Release Date: Hardcover December 2003
re-release December 1, 2010
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Format(s): paperback (384 pgs), e-book
I received an ARC copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.
From the author’s website:
He’s a ruler in a divided world…
In a magical watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com’nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.
She’s an outcast, but at least she has her independence…
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn’t think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of Sea Forest, Mahri knows that she has a chance to change the fate of her people…
What I’m talking about:
The Sea Forest world is magical land that is completely covered in water, where massive trees grow up from the ocean floor to support an entire eco-system within their branches. There is no ground: only roots, branches, and channels. Dwellings are carved into these magnificent trees. In this world there are two classes of humans: the Royals and the Water-rats. The Royals control everything, including the sacred zabbaroot, which gives those with tolerance to its poison, special mental abilities.
Mahri is a Wilding, a non-Royal with an extremely high-tolerance of the zabbaroot, which gives her amazing Sight and abilities to control the movement of water and in some situations, human muscles. Wildings are hunted by the Royals because they are viewed as a threat to their control over the planet.
When Mahri’s village is threatened by a horrible disease, she kidnaps the first Healer she can locate, only to find out later that he is Korl, the crown prince of the Sea Forest. Each feel a strong and undeniable connection from the start. As the two make the long trip back to Mahri’s village, they learn more about each other and the culture in which they are trapped.
Ms. Kennedy has created an amazing and original mythology. The planet is lush, full of beautiful flora and fauna, unique creatures, and fascinating abilities. Mahri and Korl share a sexy and passionate bond. Both have faults – he is ignorant at times and completely arrogant, she is equally as willful and refuses to trust Korl – yet they both are genuine and likable. He is persistent in his demands for her body, mind, heart and soul. But Mahri doesn’t trust the Royal with her heart–thinking he only wants to control her. However, her physical attraction for Korl is undeniable, and when she eventually gives into her desires the sparks fly!
At times the descriptions of the world, actions and sensations were overwhelming and slightly confusing, but once I “got situated,” the story flowed beautifully. This story has the aura of the epic science fiction classic, DUNE by Frank Herbert – the division of classes, the secret natives, which may or may not have a direct hand in the joining of Korl and Mahri, control over the zabbaroot, and battle between ultimate power and perfect peace. It is full of wonder and excitement, but extremely personal throughout the story. The emotional connection between Mahri and Korl – their personal struggles for freedom and equality and for love and trust – make this a book worth reading. The characters climb in and out of their own darkness, which makes the conclusion a triumph of the heart. I truly enjoyed this entertaining tale.
Really enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)