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Desert Jewel Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Milenda is the Crown Jewel of Natalie, set in a constructed, fantasized Afrika. Jaali is an foreign-born, ex-slave who has endured unimaginable horrors and teaches at the local university where he meets the princess. Despite falling in love, Milenda must choose her husband from a set of contenders that survive a series of brutal, cruel tasks in the desert. And so Jaali, unknown to Milenda, volunteers as a contender. Milenda, when she finds out, will do anything she can to save his life and battle his demons.
It is a quick read with a fast moving plot and a vivid setting and context. However, the novel also pushes through a great deal of material, meaning that time isn't taken to fully flesh out this new fantasy world and the sociopolitical environment that Melinda and Jaali's stories are based upon. Fairly serious and traumatic topics, while discussed in some depth, seem glossed over in the greater emotional sense, and elements of the storyline don't seem particularly realistic. The plot is fairly tunnel-visioned in that the love story is the main focus (which, for those interested, is pretty interesting), meaning the topics of slavery and questions of governmental power as well as the other contenders are largely ignored despite being set up as important elements.
Overall, a quick and easy read in an interesting fantastical world. Some elements of the novel may be troubling or triggering for readers.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital copy.
Milenda is an heir to the throne, which means her future is already linked and decided upon. She has no real choices and lives up to expectations of others. Jaali, a former slave, did not recognize her immediately, and the princess’ planned and known life experiences a surprise. She falls in love with him, but once again the rules restrict her from this choice. She is expected to choose a husband from a group of competitors that have to survive harsh and brutal tasks. Jaali is well aware of that fact, so he decides to participate and fight for her. He survived cruel treatment in the past and now that it started to improve, he must have fallen in love with the one he cannot reach to… but he does not give up and fights for his dreams.
Along with the attractive world building, I liked the characters pretty much. Milenda has a rebellious mind, not willing to obey and follow the mainstream norms when she does not feel them right. Jaali is a fighter in his heart, strong and determined, ambitious to make his dreams come true.
The plot developed nicely, and I very much liked the romance between the main protagonists. Nevertheless, there were parts that slowed the pace down, and I found the political background unbalanced. In some cases the discussed topics were very important, e.g. the slavery, but I did not feel that the depth was satisfying and it was pushed into the background. On the other side, it might have also do some harm to the story, slow it down and lose the interest of the reader, so I am glad the main focus remained on the developing relationship between Milenda and Jaali, maintaining the atmosphere of suspense, drama and romance.
Interesting read, and I want to thank the publisher for a review copy.
Most recent customer reviews
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