Monday 20 July 2020

Review: The Beast of Blackmoor - Milla Vane

Dive into the world of beasts and barbarians in this prequel to the exhilarating Gathering of Dragons series by Milla Vane.

A warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. When she arrives in Blackmoor, however, she finds a land cursed by a demon and ruled by an evil warlord...and discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.

A Gathering of Dragons Series:
(Chronological reading order as per the author's website)
The Beast of Blackmoor (Novella in the Night Shift anthology)
Silent Night (Free short story on the author's website)
A Heart of Blood and Ashes
A Touch of Stone and Snow (July 2020)

Visit Milla Vane's website for more information

I already wrote a brief review of The Beast of Blackmoor when I read it as part of the Night Shift anthology but I didn't go into much depth at the time and having reread the novella a couple of times recently I wanted to talk about it some more. This is one of those stories that I've loved more every single time I read it and I don't think I fully appreciated it the first time around. It's the first novella in Milla Vane's A Gathering of Dragons world and is a great intro to the dark and dangerous world she has created.

Mala is a warrior on a quest from her Goddess Vela to tame the Beast of Blackmoor, she will do whatever it takes to achieve her goal because her people are depending upon her to protect them and she needs the Vela's gifts to help them survive. What she doesn't realise is that the Beast is in fact a man and Kavik will do anything to avoid being enslaved again. Kavik angered Vela so it's not too surprising that she has forsaken him but Mala believes that they can both earn redemption for themselves and their people if they only listen to the Goddess and follow her will.

I think one of the things I love most about this series is the strong women Milla Vane has created. Not only do we have Vela, a powerful Goddess who is brilliant even as a minor character but we also have Mala, a strong and fierce warrior who stands up for people who can't stand up for themselves. This is a harsh world but Mala thinks nothing of taking on dangerous causes if she believes they are worthwhile. She chose to take on a quest for Vela knowing that the reward would be great if she achieves it but that the punishment will be even worse if she fails, she has faith that while the Goddess will make her task difficult Vela won't give her an impossible challenge so she believes that with hard work she can achieve her goal.

Mala and Kavik are brilliant together, he is the rightful leader of his people but his life was turned upside down as a child by an evil conqueror. Kavik has been to hell and back but has spent his entire life focused on saving his people. He made a huge mistake when he offended Vela but you could feel the frustration he felt as a teenager and could easily understand how desperation led him to fall so low. Now he has spent years waiting for his punishment, knowing that one day the Goddess will catch up with him and the minute he sees Mala he knows she is here for Vela's vengeance. Kavik has waited years for this moment but nothing had prepared either of them for the sparks that fly. The heat between these two was intense and from that very first meeting I was totally rooting for the pair of them.

There aren't many authors who can pack quite such a punch into a novella but Milla Vane manages to create a whole world, give us fantastic characters and create a romance that doesn't feel at all rushed. There was just so much to love about this book and considering I've already read the first full length book in the series, A Heart of Blood and Ashes, three times I can definitely confirm that this whole series is going to be a firm favourite.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


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