The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu by Michelle Franklin

Title: The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu
Author: Michelle Franklin
Series: Haanta #1
Publisher: N/A
Release Date: 6/14/2011
Length: 185 pages
Format: PDF
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Challenges: N/A
Source: Author (thank you!)
Purchase: E-book

The Kingdom of Frewyn is being invaded by the Galleisian infantry and at the forefront of the battle is Boudicca MacDaede, a First Captain in the Frewyn armed forces. Her regiment is charged with defending the borders between the two nations, but when Frewyn’s last line of defense falls, Captain MacDaede enlists the assistance of a Haanta, one of giants from the islands to the far north. Promising to free him from his imprisonment in exchange for his help, she gains his trust long enough for them to win the battle and save the Frewyn border from being breached. The giant’s freedom is granted, but Rautu cannot return home unless he redeems himself in the eyes of his people for his past transgressions. He is offered a place by the captain’s side, and together, they defeat the Galleisian forces and become the saviors of Frewyn.

One year later, King Alasdair Brennin takes the Frewyn throne, Boudicca is made commander, Gallei and Frewyn reach an accord, and Rautu is granted an invitation home. He is eager to return and see his brothers but finds it difficult to leave Frewyn without Boudicca at his side. He has become accustomed to her company and the idea of being made to live without her begins to distress him. Rautu invites the commander to the islands in hopes of finding a way for them to remain together, but when they arrive at the white shores of Sanhedhran, not everything goes as planned: one of the dangerous Haanta magi is freed, Rautu’s three brothers are strangely missing, and the neighboring nation of Thellis leads an attack on the islands.

Together, the commander and the Den Asaan Rautu must find a way to unite their two nations and defend against the Thellisian fleets, but can they do so successfully when outside forces are attempting to keep them apart?

Let me start out by saying that I didn’t finish this book. I know, I know. It’s really short and I couldn’t manage to finish it? I probably could have, but I just wasn’t as into it as I wanted to be and one of my resolutions for this year is not to waste my time reading books I’m not enjoying. Now, that was just a little heads up before I talk about the book and why I wasn’t enjoying it.

This book is like a weird mix between fantasy and romance. It’s set in this fantasy world and Rautu is this crazy huge warrior giant. All the names of everything in his country looks like the English spellings of sanskrit or something. The story begins by giving some background on the commander (who is barely ever called by name). One day during battle she stumbles upon an imprisioned giant. He was supposed to be executed, but was forgotten about when war broke loose. She strikes a deal with him: she’ll give him freedom if he’ll aid her in the war. He agrees, the war is won, and when he is called home he asks her to come with him. I’d say I made it close to halfway through before I started skimming rather than reading. I was pretty disinterested in the politics of his country.

I also felt like their personalities weren’t fleshed out enough. I mean, I got the gist. She was a strong female lead, but not too serious. She always brought the humor out in everything, and she made a big trend of mocking Rautu’s caveman-like tendencies and the culture he was raised in. While, she did this in a joking manner, it still came off pretty condescending. Rautu was pretty much a caveman. So much so, that it was annoying. I’m okay with big, tough guys, but this was ridiculous. All he ever called her was woman, and heaven forbid he admit his feelings for her. That would be a disgrace to manliness. I think I understood the characters, but I definitely couldn’t connect with them, and that’s probably the root of my issues with the book. I just couldn’t sink into it and get comfortable.

I really don’t mean to tear this apart, but I wasn’t a fan of the writing either. It’s not that Michelle Franklin is a bad writer, it’s that she writes in this sort of summary form. She just tells you that Rautu fought with the commander and they defeated their enemies and he always stayed close to her. While I’m getting the facts of the story, I’m getting absolutely no character connection, and for a book that’s so short, I think details would have been a good thing. I think it would have been much more effective if I had been given time to warm to the characters and get a sense for who they really are.

I don’t want anyone to read this and just think they would hate this book or something. There are a whole bunch of people who loved it. I’ve seen numerous 4 star and 5 star reviews on Goodreads. I spent a few days trying to get into this book, and just couldn’t, but you might feel differently.

If you do decide to give it a try, I suggest it for more mature readers due to some sexual content. Also, if you’re not into fantasy, this wouldn’t be a good choice.

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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