Prayer-of-the-Handmaiden-by-Merry-ShannonPrayer of the Handmaiden by Merry Shannon is the follow up book to Sword of the Guardian. This is a bit of a role reversal book where the main characters from book one play sub characters in this book and minor characters from the first book now take the lead.

When this sort of thing happens I usually start off weary because I have grown to love the characters in the first book and I worry that the author will be unable to give me an equally satisfying experience since they are no longer the main characters. Well, I was perfectly safe in Merry Shannon’s hands. Not only were the characters and the story so unique that they held their own but the story was completely different from Sword of the Guardian.

The brilliance, however, was that Shannon managed to keep the world the same, up the stakes while still allowing us to keep touch with the characters from book 1.

This story is about Kadrian and Erinda. Kadrian (Kade) is appointed as a spiritual warrior by the Goddess Ithyris. Everyone is mystified, including Kadrian, since Kade isn’t particularly outspoken or warrior-like.

Erinda and Kade were childhood sweethearts, but the priestesses cannot be romantically involved and Kade had to leave Erinda when she joined the service of the Goddess seven years before.

Erinda has been unable to get over losing Kade and in a desperate attempt to forget her childhood sweetheart she flees her job at the palace to join the army that is headed for war with the Barbarians who have crossed over to the Goddesses lands. Little does she know, Ithyris has sent Kade to fight the same battle.

The Characters

Authors like to write the same two characters over and over again, it is comfortable to change their names, occupations and descriptions a little but you know that you will get the slightly butch quiet one and the slightly more femme one who is usually feisty. Shannon killed this stereotype with this book and I love that she did.

The depth of the journey that Kade goes through is fantastic. The feelings of loss and longing that Erinda feels is so poignant that you cannot help but love the two characters and hope for them to be together.

The Writing Style

I love the way Merry Shannon writes and am fast becoming a huge fan. She gives enough detail to keep me completely engrossed yet doesn’t over write. Her characters are unique and interesting and the dilemma that she creates for her characters is always fun and smart enough that I cannot see a way around it.

I enjoy not knowing where she will take me next as I read late into the night.

The Pros

Great writing, epic stories and a completely unique set of circumstances. An all round great read.

The Cons

I would love to see better book covers on these books. The stories deserve it.

taras favourite lesbian bookssheena's favouriteThe Conclusion

It’s so so good. It’s very different from the first book but I lOVED it.

Read Sword of the Guardian first and follow that with Prayer of the Handmaiden. They are both very worth it.

Excerpt from Prayer of the Handmaiden

Kade brought Erinda’s face close, until her breath fanned softly against her lips. “Of course I do.”

But when Erinda leaned down toward her, Kade’s other hand pressed her chest, stopping her descent. She wasn’t pushing her away, but for a long moment she helped Erinda’s face a fingerwidth from hers, on hand trembling in her hair, the other splayed against her breastbone. Such a deep sadness filled her eyes, warring with another darker emotion that Erinda couldn’t identify.

 

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About the author

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Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from Amazon.com to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born