The fantasy novel Eolyn, by Karin Rita Gastreich, is an epic tale of destiny and romance. In Eolyn’s world, female magas are tortured and killed. She lives in hiding and develops her magic secretly. Then she meets Achim, the prince who will inherit the mage king’s violent kingdom. She falls in love with him, but he represents the forces that will try to kill her.
The characters in this novel are very well developed. They do not act like stereotypical fantasy characters as they negotiate this tale of love, magic, war, and betrayal. The reader develops empathy with characters on all sides, and as they hurtle toward the point where they must destroy each other I found myself holding my breath and wondering who to root for.
This is a wonderful book for those who like fantasy as well as those who are new to it. The novel has the feel of a fairy tale, so it is familiar until the characters react outside the stereotype and turn their world on its ear. Descriptions of the South Woods and Eolyn’s world are so richly detailed I want to pack my bags for a long vacation. And look at the cover–it’s gorgeous!