Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Romance_Goddess Bertrice_Small, Pâtissier_Extraordinaire

Bertrice Small - The World of Hetar Series
1. Lara

2. A Distant Tomorrow
3. The Twilight Lord

Series Category: Crème Brûlée - My All-Time Moan-Out-Loud Favorites. (A+)
Flame height: 7" out of 9"

The World of Hetar: Book I - Lara
From RT (4.5 stars): "The queen of sensual romance creates a magical world and Lara, a heroine strong and beautiful enough to conquer all she meets. Daughter of the mercenary John Swiftsword and a fairie princess, Lara accepts her fate when her father sells her in order to obtain the funds to become a Crusader knight. Lara draws on the strength of the fairie crystal she wears around her neck. Her journey takes her from the master of pleasure palaces to the harsh and brutal world of the Forest Lords—where she is initiated into the world of sex, but not that of sensual pleasure or love. To gain that knowledge she journeys to the kingdom of the Shadow Princes and then on to the Outlands, where she begins to understand the power she holds within and the meaning of true love, accompanied by a talking staff and a sword that sings.Lara is what Small does best: grand exploits, larger-than-life characters and erotic sexual explorations (similar to her great harem scenes). Like Small's most beloved heroine, Skye O'Malley, Lara follows a path that allows her to discover her courage while uncovering the power of her sexuality, the difference between lust and love and most of all, what it means to be a woman with the power to change the world. Small wows with a brand-new example of her creativity and masterful storytelling. VERY SENSUAL

The World of Hetar - Book II - A Distant Tomorrow
From RT (4.5 stars): “For five years Lara has been the wife to Vartan, leader of the Outland clans. When he's killed in cold blood by his treacherous brother, Lara avenges his death and flees. She is captured and presented to Magnus Hauk, ruler of Terah, as a gift.Magnus is fascinated by Lara's courage, intelligence and outspokenness, which earn his admiration, while her beauty earns his love. When Lara lifts an ancient curse that has nearly destroyed the country, he shows his gratitude by agreeing to cross the great sea and return to Hetar with her.Though the war between The Outlanders and Hetar is long over, Gaius Prospero is plotting to become emperor. As Lara and Magnus walk into the city, they discover that deception, treachery and betrayal surround them. With her fairie knowledge and powers, Lara refuses to falter in her quest to prevent another war and keep Hetar safe as the prophecy foretells: "From a distant tomorrow comes Hetar's true destiny."The second volume in Small's fantasy series is imaginative and inspiring. Like Skye O'Malley, Lara is unstoppable, powerful, passionate and a woman who wins in a man's world. As Lara seeks out her destiny, we watch in awe as Small hooks us into a story of unrivaled adventure, excitement and steamy sensuality. Once again the incomparable Small works her magic. VERY SENSUAL

The World of Hetar - Book III - The Twilight Lord
From RT (4.5 stars) “Lara, the wife of Magnus Hauk, recognizes her destiny is yet to be fulfilled when she hears rumors of war between her homeland, Hetar, and the land she rules, Terah. She has no inkling she’ll be abducted by Kol, the Twilight Lord- the embodiment of all that is dark in the world. Following an ancient prophesy, Kol believes only a faerie queen, representing the light, can birth his successor.
With her memory erased, Lara become’s Kol’s consort and the mother of twin sons. But when her memory is returned, she goes back to Terah and her beloved Magnus, ready to take her place in the coming battle and do her best to avert all-out war. As others scheme to overthrow kingdoms of the world, she strives to meet destiny head on.
With imagination, originality and a passion for epic fantasy, Small returns to the world of the epic faerie queen Lara and her wild, sensual adventures. Like all epic heroines, Lara is caught in a battle between the forces of good and evil, yet we can easily relate to her and her world which, as fantastic as it is, has bits and pieces of our own. Small brilliantly balances that with titillating sexual escapades thrilling adventures, letting us savor every moment

First off, let me say that I firmly believe Bertrice Small is a goddess. There are a lot of authors on my “I’d like to meet…” list. At the top would have been Laurell Hamilton, Lora Leigh, and Bertrice Small. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Laurell a couple of times and would be happily mesmerized listening to her for hours if I could. I’ll hopefully be meeting Lora (and many others on my list) at RAW in September. I met others at RT Con 2006 and hope to meet still more at RT Con 2008. So that leaves me still hoping to meet Ms. Small some day (one does not address a goddess by her first name). I even took some of her books to RT Con 2006 to be signed even though she wasn’t scheduled to be there. Although, if I ever do meet her, I’m sure I would be a complete mute idiot and she’d have to call security to get me off the floor where I will have prostrated myself to worship at her feet.

Other than the fact that any attempt by me to summarize Ms. Small’s Hetar world would result in a babbled confusing mess, the reason I’ve included RT’s summaries of all three books instead of just the latest one is because I think there is a misconception about the series. I'm still scratching my head over the fact that even RT categorizes it as “Historical Romance” and it is NOT. This is EPIC FANTASY. Period. And, frankly, I avoid most epic fantasies because I get a bit bored with them and end up skimming over a good portion just to get to the end. (As LissaNY, who has been trying to get me to read “Druids”, knows.) And this cannot be categorized as alternate history either. There is no history from our world here. Ms. Small did not have historical restrictions when writing this, but instead allowed her muse free rein to create this lusty, sweeping saga. So for anyone that avoided the series because they don’t care for historicals, I would say that, if you liked Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, then you will LOVE the Hetar series. I’m not really comparing the two (there is no comparison) just trying to clarify what I mean by “Epic Fantasy.” Okay, actually I guess Hetar is in it’s own category- Erotic Epic Fantasy Romance. I think Irene Maillol's Across the Sea would be the only other saga I’ve read that I’d place in that category.

Ms. Small’s writing is incomparable. There is NO ONE that can weave such a rich tapestry with words the way she can. To read a Bertrice Small book is to instantly and completely immerse yourself in the tastes, sounds, sights and lives she creates. In her previous books, she made our history come alive- I could never again see English history as dull and boring after reading Skye O’Malley and her descendants’ sagas. That same richness exists in the Hetar story, but without the constraint of historical fact, Ms. Small has created a world that is in some ways recognizable yet vastly different than our own. I understand she is working on the next chapter of Lara’s amazing saga right now. I’ll gladly delay my chance at meeting her if it means I’ll be gifted with another trip to Hetar.

Oh, and let me just say right here that I would like a Shadow Prince of my own, thank you very much.

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