Guest Review: The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

Posted April 4, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers–but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

I have read a number of Sandy James’ works and found them always to be well written, constructed logically and with a fine grasp of the overall plot and story concepts.  And it was because of my previous enjoyment that I was OK with reading a sort-of paranormal kind of romance mixed in with the contemporary as long as it was authored by her.  It’s not my usual pick of themes, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed the story and was excited to be able to move right on to book 2 in the series.

To say that our heroine was “reluctant” is sort of a misnomer.  She was not only reluctant, she was really unprepared and not well suited (in her opinion) to what she was being asked to do as an Amazon warrior beholden to the Earth goddess Rhiannon.  Rebecca was so apparently unsuited to her “calling” that the goddess herself was prepared to return her to her earth existence with no memory of her unhappy and often painful experience of preparing herself to fight the forces of evil alongside her other Amazon “sisters.”  Rebecca was a thoughtful, considerate, careful and caring kind of woman who felt right at home teaching little kids and fitting in with her friends and teaching colleagues.  She didn’t deserve to be mislead and snookered by her loving-mom-above-all-else kind of bridegroom, a man who evidently was so weak-willed that he had to get drunk in order to abdicate his betrothal obligation in front of all Rebecca’s friends as well as the triumphant leer of his mother.  Add in the fact that she was then claimed by a sexy Scotsman at the door of the church, given the choice of running away with him, and faced with the possibility of leaving behind the hurt and humiliation.  Who wouldn’t have gone with him?  However, to have found out that she was entering into a completely different life, one where she would be living on a different plane of existence was a large jolt, especially when she found out that her former friends and her students wouldn’t even remember her.

Yet this book is about the journey of discovery Rebecca had to make to discover her own inner strengths, to become aware that she had powers of good judgment and leadership she had either been unaware of or ignored in the past.  She also had to discover that she did indeed have the physical wherewithal to meet the demands of what it meant to be an Amazon warrior.  That’s probably the greatest difficulty she faced immediately.  Later there were other challenges that served to make her stronger.  Suffice it to say that this woman’s expanded awareness of her capabilities was WAY beyond anything she could have ever imagined in her former existence.

This is a very captivating story of one woman’s experience that took her into unexpected directions.  She discovered a new level of relationship with her Amazon sisters, with the Ancients (as the various goddesses were called) as well as seeing a new level of evil that threatened humanity and demanded her special skills.  Her relationship with her Sentinel Artair was problematic in that her goddess lusted after him and was not very happy about the attraction that seemed to be developing between him and her Earth Amazon.  Yet in spite of the idiosyncrasies of this powerful Ancient, the love story between Artair and Rebecca is interesting, certainly laced with difficulties, but entertaining to read and a vital part of this novel.

One of the most compelling aspects of this story is the nature of the relationships between the various Amazon warriors.  Each seemed to have their needs and hang-ups–they were human, after all–and yet in spite of their capacities to fight evil in their own special way, they were first and foremost women of heart and intelligence and who valued the friendship and sisterhood that formed during their training phase.  There are times when these loyalties are challenged and strained but I would hazzard to comment that every relationship is subject to stresses that put those ties to the test in all our lives.  Their willingness to cover each other’s back, to be supportive when not in a leadership role, to defer to the wishes of their goddesses and Sentinels while still maintaining their own sense of self was, for me, a delight to read.  All of the women in this novel were special in their own way and being under the guidance and direction of others didn’t dilute that special quality in any way.  I love it when characters are given those traits.

This book was released in the Fall of 2012 as the first in a new series.  While the books in the series are stand alone, I think it is important to read this first book to gain a good foundation for enjoying the novels to come.  It’s a very good read that combines lots of literary themes and will be entertaining for lots of readers on lots of levels.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.