Zarkina had always known she was the bastard daughter of the Queen and was perfectly content to have never met her mother. Perfectly content guiding merchants and travelers through the Broken Arrow Mountain range.
What? Huh? No. Dang it! That was my reaction when I got to the last page of Retrieval. I was so into the story that I didn’t realize that I was nearing the end of the book and I was NOT ready for it to stop. I am a big fan of Cothern’s M/M romances and paranormal romance series, Shadows. So when the opportunity arose to review Retrieval I automatically said yes because I wanted to see how the author’s talents lent to the fantasy genre. Obviously based upon my reaction when I hit the last page, I was not disappointed by the world the author has created.
With Retrieval being a novella and the first installment of the Goddess of Fate series, Cothern wastes no time in dropping Zarkina and the reader straight into the action. While I didn’t immediately know WHAT was going on or WHO I was with when the book began, Kina’s sense of urgency to flee while avoiding detection by her pursuers had me on the edge of my seat as I connected with the unknown (to me at the time) traveler and hoped that she would find her way to safety. The world in which the book takes place is reminiscent of the medieval ages with monarchs, knights, and inns. It becomes apparent rather quickly that Kina is not the typical young woman of the time – or in other words, my favorite kind of heroine in this type of book – as evidenced by her stealth, weapons skills, and level of alertness and awareness that come into play to insure her escape. Despite her success in avoiding capture by her initial attackers, the morning brings a new set of people intent on escorting her – with or without her permission. But when the group’s leader lets her know they were sent at her mother’s behest, all attempts to escape (funny scene) and be difficult cease. But her compliance is only one of the many obstacles Indearn must overcome if he hopes to see his charge safely to the Queen.
I loved Retrieval and my only disappointment lay in the fact that the end came too soon and the next installment isn’t out yet. Cothern has created a world that feels familiar yet is its own. I enjoyed the use of Veselko, the Enitane (think minstrel), to use his story telling skills to relay the legend regarding the Goddess-Touched as it allowed the reader to be introduced to the information in an entertaining way that didn’t feel like a cold recitation of facts. While there is an attraction between Kina and Indearn, there is nothing more heated than a few kisses exchanged, but the lack of sex was not a negative as it wasn’t appropriate for this part of Kina’s journey. And the manner in which the book ends, the tale that Veselko shares, and the presence of other players revealed within this installment point to many more books in the series and I cannot wait to read them. One hundred pages, tons of action, a goddess legend, and the potential for romance and I am hooked.