A Julia Review: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In the nation of Villalu…

Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden turns against the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.

As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.

The Sidhe is Charlotte Ashe’s first volume in her Fantasy series “The Heart of All Worlds”. And what a strong start it is! The sequel is titled “The King and the Criminal” and I will definitely be reviewing that one as well. So let’s waste no time and take a look at how the journey begins!

When it comes to lore and world building, I believe that the devil really lies in the detail. While for example history and geography form the basis of creating an imaginary world, it’s those precise details about the everyday lives of its inhabitants that allow it to become a seemingly living and breathing organism. Things like what do the people eat, how do they live, what do they work and so on. At least that’s what draws me in the most when reading a fantasy story and I was delighted to discover that the author did not disappoint in that aspect. In contrast to the coexistence of several different races living in one place, this novel introduces two main cultures that exist in a kind of tense proximity and yet largely separated from one another: humans and the Sidhe (elf-like beings). Both societies offer rather different takes on a variety of subjects from ways of living to attitudes towards sexuality. The only things they seem to have in common are feelings of distrust, fear and ignorance towards each other. I especially found the unveiling of the shared history of these two peoples quite fascinating. Themes of race, subjugation and freedom feature heavily in this story and are addressed from several different points of view.

I took a liking to both main characters and found myself rather invested into their relationship since they make simply an adorable couple. Brieden is a kind, brave young man who finds himself before a big decision: staying complacent and giving up on his true believes or risking his very life and future. I deeply respect him for his courage in choosing the latter. His care and devotion to his partner were as heart-warming to witness as Sehrys in turn slowly starting to warm up and eventually coming to trust Brieden. What I also found most interesting when it comes to Sehrys was learning about how the six years he spent in slavery affected and changed him.

Despite the fact that I found those two very likeable and was rooting for them all the way, my absolute favourites were amongst the supporting characters: queen Brissa and her sister Cliope, who intrigued me so much that I wish they could have their very own story, as well as Firae, who features as a protagonist in the second book. In fact, the only flaw I might give this novel is the fact that I found myself wishing that these characters would feature more prominently and we would get to learn more about them.

The sex scenes were very well done which is good because there are quite a lot of them! Still, they never really felt out of place and although they are quite steamy and described in vivid detail, you can tell that the author always tried to give them meaning and draw them as an important aspect of the characters’ relationship to each other. They are mostly m/m with only a brief hint of f/f. There are mentions of sexual abuse and rape. 

This book was a wonderful read and had me engaged into the world, the narrative and the characters from start to finish. If you like fantasy or just a touching romance story against all odds, you should definitely pick up this book. I know I certainly am looking forward to delving into the second volume of this series!

The cover and interior illustrations by Sarah Sanderson are simply beautiful, they caught my attention right away. The drawing of Brieden and Sehrys framed by their special red flowers is a lovely piece of art and sets a wonderful stepping stone for entering their magical world. I also want to give credit for the map illustration by Sarah Sanderson and R.J. Shepherd.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 442 pages

Published July 21, 2015

by Interlude Press

ISBN: 978-1-941530-50-4

Edition Language: English

In the Book Spotlight: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe by Charlotte Ashe (excerpt and Giveaway)

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The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe

The Sidhe revised final

Release Date: July 21, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/32040943-charlotte-ashe#_=_
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Sarah Sanderson

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Sales Links: Interlude PressAmazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden finds that he can no longer tolerate the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.
As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.

Pages or Words: 442 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The sidhe was tall, supple and lithe, as all sidhe tended to be, with milk-pale skin that glowed like moonlight over lean, taut muscles. Like all the others before him, he was naked, giving potential buyers a full picture of what they were bidding on.
And he was extraordinary, head to toe.
His chin-length hair was violet-red and it gleamed in the afternoon sun. His lips were pink and delicate with a pronounced bow, his nose had a narrow, smooth slope and his eyes…
His eyes.
It wasn’t that they were the most incredible color imaginable: a storm of deep, contrasting, impossible greens unlike any Brieden had ever seen. And it wasn’t that they were large and almond- shaped beneath a fan of plum-colored lashes.
It was that they were full to the brim with life.
Never before had Brieden seen a sidhe slave with such lively and expressive eyes, even as he stood for auction. Those eyes were not dull or defeated in the slightest. Wary, yes, and utterly devoid of trust, but also blazing.
Blazing like the eyes of that sidhe Brieden had seen at the riverbank when he was twelve years old— the only free sidhe Brieden had ever had the chance to behold.
The elf stood on that platform as if he owned it. As if he were judging every human man before him, and not the other way around.
He tucked a lock of hair behind a delicately pointed elfin ear, then jutted his chin to reveal a chiseled jaw that contrasted beautifully against his tender features.
And though he knew it was insane, Brieden was quite sure that he was in love.

 STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Charlotte Ashe is a social worker by day and a writer of romantic fantasy by night.  A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBTQ characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her B.A. in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of online fan-based fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot.

Charlotte lives in Portland, Maine and can be found sleeping at the beach all summer and clomping along the cobblestones in her Bean boots all winter, writing fairytales in her head to distract from the cold.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Ashe/1416233241994204
Twitter: @CobwebsandAshes
Website: https://www.CharlotteAshe.com

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Contestants must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card; also, five multi-format eBoook editions of THOAW: The Sidhe
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