“Khantara” tells the story of a noble and quiet conqueror from the Haanta island of Mharvholan. Khantara is blessed with the ability to command and summon animals at will, has unmatchable skill on the field, and has three commanders whom he treats like sons. When war comes to his lands, the giant along with his three commanders leads a massive assault against the Thellisian Empire, the Haanta’s ancient enemy situated directly south of their peaceful islands. The battle is won, Khantara gains a quarter of the empire in his people’s name and begins a settlement, allowing the occupied Thellisians to live there without fear of harm, offering them the enlightenment the Haanta can provide.
While Khantara is overseeing the construction of the outpost, he finds a strange Thellisian woman. He notices that she bears a brand on her neck and is ill-treated or disregarded by her people. After a short meeting with her, he discovers that she is one of the Marked, a lower cast of Thellisians deemed unfit for education who may only be sold as slaves or adopted as indentured spouses. Feeling that such a life is cruel for the forthcoming woman, Khantara frees her and places her under his care. He shows Anelta the Haanta way of life, and they, against Haanta warrior cast regulation, fall in love.
Their attachment is kept a secret until a violent rebellion suddenly breaks out and Khantara is called to fight, but how can he now leave the woman he has come to love and still lead his people to war without revealing their secret?"
With the release of this book, the third book in her ongoing "Haanta" series, Michelle Franklin has quickly risen to the top of my 'Most Favourite Fantasy (with a hint of Historical Fiction) Authors' list.
Now I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to read this book because I loved "The Commander And The Den Asaan Rautu's" Rautu so much and I was a bit concerned that in reading this book, knowing that it was about his parents (and perchance him as a youngster), would perhaps alter what I thought about him. However, after having read only a few pages of this book all my worries were forgotten as I recalled how exceptional Michelle is not only at her world building, but also her character development- talents which completely draw the reader in, making them impervious to everything going on around them. I don't think it possible for the reader to not fall in love with Khantara, the most kindhearted and selfless giant EVER, and Anelta, the most gracious and eager-to-learn character I have ever read of before!
However, I did find the end of the book to be a bit rushed. I thought the last quarter or so of the book were somewhat anti-climatic and then all of a sudden (within the last 10 pages of the book) BAM! all hell broke loose. I would have preferred to have seen a some of the epic-ness of the end of the novel to have taken place a bit earlier on, allowing me to savor it more.
All in all, I highly recommend all of Michelle's books, I find them to be some of the most original and satisfying books I can ever recall reading!
I received this book from the author to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.