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The Battle Sylph    by L. J. McDonald order for
Battle Sylph
by L. J. McDonald
Order:  USA  Can
Leisure, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In an otherworldly dimension where only one battle sylph can become the Queen's chosen consort, the thousands of remaining battlers who protect her hive are left longing for a mate of their own. Humans take advantage of the battlers' craving for love and use a virginal sacrifice to lure an unsuspecting sylph toward the portal that separates their worlds. As the battler comes through to claim his waiting queen, she is murdered and before the enraged creature can return to his realm, he is forcibly bound by the girl's murderer, compelled to silence and forced to obey his new master's every whim.

While fleeing an arranged marriage, young maiden Solie is kidnapped and marked to become the next sacrifice needed to enslave another battle sylph. When the summoning goes terribly wrong, Solie finds herself bonded to a battle sylph sworn to protect and please her at any cost. She immediately becomes the target of the king's wrath and of his best trackers, for no females have ever bonded with a battle sylph. What will Solie do with her newfound power? And what will befall the kingdom of Eferem if she chooses to set her battler's all consuming rage against those who have hurt and betrayed his queen?

While Solie and her battler Heyou are unfortunately not the strongest characters in this fantasy ensemble (throughout much of the book both display immature behaviour more suited to a teen fantasy) each grows sufficiently by the story's end to believably take on their new roles as hive queen and consort. What McDonald gets very high marks for is her refreshing and captivating sylph mythology as well as her characterizations of the adults (both human and sylph) who help the accidental and befuddled young queen and the juvenile and untried battler understand and face their new status and responsibilities.

Overall, The Battle Sylph is a great introduction to an intriguing new fantasy romance series and I look forward to the second book, Shattered Sylph, which is also on bookshelves right now.

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