I love reading new authors. I love doing read and reviews. When I am asked by an author to read and review their work, I warn them that I am going to be as honest and unscripted as I can possibly be. I've been fortunate that I've always found something or everything wonderful about their book. I knew that some day, I would read one that just didn't hit the mark. TAKEN BY STORM by M.J. Schiller is that one. Excited after reading the blurb, I had high hopes for this novel presented to me as a paranormal romance, unfortunately, it was a struggle to get through it.
***ebook provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for TAKEN BY STORM:
Born from the fire of a palace coup, the relationship between the king of Avistad’s son Prince Tahj and the captive girl Bashea burns with a passion that neither of them quite understands. The pair is drawn closer together as they face enemy soldiers, a screaming panther, even the scathing winds of a desert storm.
After what she has been through, Bashea is afraid to trust and her fiery nature is both what appeals to Tahj and what drives him crazy. It takes a long separation to bring them back to each other, but when Tahj does return, it is once again during a battle with his greatest enemy, Lord Boltar. But now Lord Boltar, who has been forced beyond reason by Tahj’s success in retaking the throne, is an even more dangerous threat than before. Reunited, will Tahj and Bashea be strong enough to defeat their twisted and powerful enemy?
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Fabulous cover, fabulous blurb but this story fell flat from the start.
Bashea goes to the well to retrieve water only to be attacked, taken captive and then gang raped by a group of soldiers under the control of the evil Lord Boltar. Left as a gift to Prince Tahj but more as bad joke, Bashea is determined to escape and get home to her family and village even as she worries that no one will accept her back now that she has been soiled.
Prince Tahj is young, inexperienced with women, and trying to fill the shoes of his older brother who should have been the heir to the throne of Avistad but died before he had the honor. Now, Lord Boltar has pulled off a coup, killed the King and Queen and Prince Tahj is fleeing for his life with his best friend, Radeem and a young woman who is terrified even being in his presence.
TAKEN BY STORM by M.J. Schiller had great promise, from its intriguing and exciting blurb to its beautiful cover but it just wasn't what I expected or what I was led to expect. I began reading this story and was immediately struck by the fact that, having been marketed as a paranormal, it in no way tells me what setting or what time the story takes place. Is this a foreign world or the Middle East in a historical context? I kept reading and kept reading. The story, itself, had potential but it never developed. The characters were double-sided which didn't help. Tahj, at times was immature and weak and at other times, I began to think he was coming into his own only to fall back again. Bashea was strong through out but at times, she was rude and nearly combatant with Tahj yet flirtatious with Radeem who was a soldier. I would think that having been gang raped at the hands of soldiers, Radeem would be the last person she would befriend. Tahj was always on the verge of anger and frustration which if he'd been more grieving over the death of his parents, I might have understood. Radeem was the only one that had any real depth and I actually liked him except that he was supposedly so in love with his wife yet was always looking for his next sexual conquest - including desiring a shot at Bashea.
There were also times when I wasn't sure who was presenting their point of view, Tahj or Radeem.
I think Ms. Schiller has great potential with someone to guide her, help her edit, and give constructive criticism to help her build her characters. Her wording, on occasion, was a bit repetitive which slowed the pace but I will say that her action scenes were quite exciting. Yes, I did find a redeeming element in this story. The escape from the palace and city walls was thrilling and led me to believe that the story was taking a turn for the better, but then it didn't. Again, when Tahj returns to battle Boltar, I hoped again but by then it was too late. A man holding a newborn over a well as a threat was predictable, but holding the baby by its fragile neck was horrible.
I cannot recommend TAKEN BY STORM by M.J. Schiller because, frankly, I don't know who to recommend it to. My readers who love historicals might enjoy it, if it was better written, but my paranormal fans will be sorely disappointed just as I was. I hope to see Ms. Schiller stay with her craft and hone it. I do believe she has potential, this book just doesn't display it well enough.
Happy Reading Everyone!
TAKEN BY STORM by M.J. Schiller, Crimson Romance, available now in ebook format.