Hey, guys! Today I have the honour of being part of the blog tour for Trisha Wolfe's Astarte's Wrath, and I'm hoping you'll enjoy the little sneak peek Trish has kindly shared with us. If nothing else, don't forget to scroll down to enter the giveaway!
Title: Astarte's Wrath (Kythan Guardians)
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Released: 2nd March 2013
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Trisha Wolfe is one of those authors I've been very curious about for some time now, so when I got the chance to read Astarte's Wrath, I couldn't say no. But I decided I wanted to read Destiny's Fire first, even though both of these are independent and can be read in any order. And I'm kind of glad I did because, while DF impressed me, I did seriously love Astarte's Wrath.
This story takes place in Egypt, under the reign of Cleopatra. The Kythan, comprised of Narcolym and Shythe, were created long ago to protect the Egyptian pharoahs and Astarte, or Star, now has the job of guarding Xarion, Cleopatra's son and the last pharoah. When they were younger, before duty compelled them to step into their respective roles, they had been good friends. Even now, Star's feelings for Xarion grow deeper, but she knows they cannot have a relationship. Things are complicated further with the threat from Rome and questions regarding a new breed of Kythan. Ultimately, Star will have to choose between freeing the Kythan of their binds to the pharoahs, and ensuring the safety of Xarion.
It has to be said that I am not the greatest fan of Egyptian history. I am a history geek, and as a rule I tend to find myself fascinated with pretty much anything I learn about the past. But I can still remember my Year 4 History lessons - nine years ago now - and wishing I was studying something else. Even now, the closest I choose to get to learning about Ancient Egypt is watching The Mummy. I'm not really sure why; no doubt just one of my pecularities. However. In reading Astarte's Wrath, I found myself fascinated. The novel is full to the brim of Egyptian lore, and it quickly becomes clear that Wolfe has done her research. Rather than feel disconnected by the Egyptian background, I was drawn in further, soaking up the information with keen interest. The coupling of this with the concept of the Kythan made for a truly imaginative world, and I was hooked. The sole purpose of the Kythan's existence is to serve and protect, and it's not difficult to feel sympathy for them as a whole.
Neither was the world-building let down by the individual characters. Star is a tough heroine, and very focused. While I felt a little bad for Xarion each time she tried to push him away, it was easy to appreciate her sense of duty, loyalty that went beyond her binds. Xarion is incredibly sweet when it comes to Star, and his love for her comes across clearly. He is selfless, willing to sacrifice a lot just to have a future with her. He also rarely commanded her to do anything. When a Kythan is commanded to do something, they literally have to do it, the old magic forcing them to obey; it is a pharoah's prerogative to treat their slaves this way. The couple of times Xarion did this I was upset with him, but because of the situations, I could sort of understand him. Even as a person, a ruler, Xarion is extremely likeable. Both he and Star are strong characters. The secondary characters, too, are wonderfully fleshed out. I adored Phoenix, one of Star's best friends, and even the brief appearance of Cleopatra is enough for you to connect with her.
Astarte's Wrath is not a simple story. It has history mixed in with fantasy, and for even more flavour, a whole myriad of emotions. There is love, pain, grief, happiness, hope, conflict, heartbreaking betrayal...and the most bittersweet of endings. It is happy, and at the same time it isn't. Trisha Wolfe has written something astounding here, rich with culture and feeling, making this a book that is not to be missed.
Sneak Peek: Bath Scene from Xarion's POV
Star narrows her eyes at me, her full, bottom lip puckering out the way it does when she's in serious thought - and though I'm listening to her words, all I want to do is trap that bottom lip between my teeth. Nip it and caress it with my tongue.
"I knew you'd say that," she says. "And that is precisely why I didn't want you to know." She raises her hand from my chest and swipes the wet hair from my forehead. Her body subtly moves against me with this action, and it drives me wild. "A possible retaliation by the guardians is just one more weighted burden on top of the many you already carry. You don't need the added strain. Let me deal with Candra and the Kythan. They're my kindred. As long as I'm their equal - in both power and status - I can protect you."
This woman - the woman I've loved my entire life - is my protector. She not only guards against physical threats, but watches over my mental wellbeing. But I cannot allow her to carry all my problems alone anymore. I want to be her guardian, to be the one to comfort her when she's fearful, and protect her against this world.
I tilt my head and take a deep breath. "This is why you won't be with me." I want her to admit it. If she finally confesses that our titles and her battle with the right course of action have been the only reasons for her kept affections, then by Gods...help me from laying her out on this tile and taking her - making her mine. I won't stop.
"This is the only reason." She nods again, and that is all the confirmation I need. "Then I refuse to let them keep us apart for one more moment." I grasp her face between my hands and claim her lips with mine.
Her lips are soft and warm as I achingly coax them into a fevered kiss, unable to hold back my desire for her. I had planned for our first kiss many times, imagined it over and over. The way I would caress her lips slowly and lovingly, conveying my affections. But every emotion I have ever felt for Star rushes to the surface all at once, and I can't slow. I won't. I won't allow her a moment to question our actions, to reconsider us. I'm going to kiss her senseless - kiss the reason right out of her infuriatingly rational head.
Help Trisha get to 50 reviews on Amazon for the full scene release of the “Bath Scene” on Trisha’s blog! You can bookmark the bonus material here! (You want the full scene. Trust me.)
Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), the NA Historical/Supernatural ASTARTE'S WRATH, and the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, October 2013. Her NA Dark Fantasy OF SILVER AND BEASTS available May 2013.
She’s the creator of YA Bound, a promotional site for the Young Adult genre. Also a member of SCWW and The Apocalypsies. Check out www.TrishaWolfe.com for more on her books and bonus material. Follow Trisha on Twitter @TrishWolfe and like her Facebook page for updates.
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