Favorite Lines: “She closed her eyes against the assault, falling into the secret place she had so often visited in her marriage to Doloth.” (p. 25)
The short story begins with Thalassa and a line of slaves about to be branded. They are spoils of a war that is destroying the countryside. Thalassa is pregnant and able to work with magic. As each new slave awaits their turn she dampens their pain before allowing them to drift off in a peaceful rest.
Until it is her turn. As she is about to drift off a pain attacks her face. She has been labeled as a witch with a pentagram branded upon her cheek. Unknown to her an elf from her past is searching for her.
He is a member of a royal family, but cannot forget the one night they spent together. During his search he begins collecting an unforgettable entourage that will help him in ways he never expected.
I was contacted by Sandy Cummins of Reader’s Eden and Writers Exchange ebook Publishing about reviewing a few books. I selected Nitesh by Jenna Kay Francis and One Step Away by Dawn Munroe, which Ms. Cummins graciously sent me. I attacked Nitesh and was pleasantly pleased with the book. It is 121 pages and sells for $4.95.
Ms. Francis does a nice job of flipping back and forth between character perspectives. We begin with Thalassa and later travel with Terran, her love interest. It is a crisp and clean transition that was never confusing. There were also flashbacks that worked well and were strategically placed allowing me to understand the emotional baggage the different characters carried.
I enjoyed the characters, especially the young girl, Vaoni. She is complex and innocent at the same time and a character that I wanted to follow. She is wise beyond her years, yet very childlike.
I didn’t particularly care for the late introduction of a few characters and their love interests. It felt a bit contrived but that isn’t enough for me to be turned off of the story.
This short fantasy story was a pleasant and quick read. You can purchase it here.