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Reluctant Concubine

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To escape punishment, Tera, a maiden healer sold to barbarians must hide the truth: she has not yet come into her healing powers. Born into a much gentler world, she struggles to survive in a land of savage warlords and their cruel concubines. When ancient prophecies begin to come to pass, can the healer-slave save the realm and awaken the High Lord’s heart? For anyone wh To escape punishment, Tera, a maiden healer sold to barbarians must hide the truth: she has not yet come into her healing powers. Born into a much gentler world, she struggles to survive in a land of savage warlords and their cruel concubines. When ancient prophecies begin to come to pass, can the healer-slave save the realm and awaken the High Lord’s heart? For anyone who enjoyed the fantasy worlds of George Martin's Game of Thrones, C.L. Wilson's Lord of the Fading Lands, Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize, or the memorably crafted healer heroines in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, this is the next epic adventure to get lost in.


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To escape punishment, Tera, a maiden healer sold to barbarians must hide the truth: she has not yet come into her healing powers. Born into a much gentler world, she struggles to survive in a land of savage warlords and their cruel concubines. When ancient prophecies begin to come to pass, can the healer-slave save the realm and awaken the High Lord’s heart? For anyone wh To escape punishment, Tera, a maiden healer sold to barbarians must hide the truth: she has not yet come into her healing powers. Born into a much gentler world, she struggles to survive in a land of savage warlords and their cruel concubines. When ancient prophecies begin to come to pass, can the healer-slave save the realm and awaken the High Lord’s heart? For anyone who enjoyed the fantasy worlds of George Martin's Game of Thrones, C.L. Wilson's Lord of the Fading Lands, Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize, or the memorably crafted healer heroines in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, this is the next epic adventure to get lost in.

30 review for Reluctant Concubine

  1. 5 out of 5

    mich

    Sorry, but you lost me at manparts. I bought this when it was 99 cents. It was cheap and it had a lot of good reviews on Amazon, so I took a shot. I didn't really know what to expect, but what I got wasn't...quite...it. I guess this is kind of a romance more than anything else. Well, there was a big prophecy plot too involving duh, a scroll, but it was very, very drawn out and pretty boring to me. The writing wasn't bad, but it wasn't to my tastes. And um, yeah, the author uses the word "manparts" Sorry, but you lost me at manparts. I bought this when it was 99 cents. It was cheap and it had a lot of good reviews on Amazon, so I took a shot. I didn't really know what to expect, but what I got wasn't...quite...it. I guess this is kind of a romance more than anything else. Well, there was a big prophecy plot too involving duh, a scroll, but it was very, very drawn out and pretty boring to me. The writing wasn't bad, but it wasn't to my tastes. And um, yeah, the author uses the word "manparts" several times. Man. Parts. As in, he moved "his manparts towards her secret cave." And I was caught between laughing my head off and cringing each time. Sorry, just not for me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wyrdness

    I give this book an averaged 2.5 stars. Up to chapter 14 I thought it was a 3 star read but after that it quickly dropped to a 2 star "meh, why am I still reading this?" rating. Before I properly begin my review I want to say that I think it was a very poor marketing decision to go with the Harlequin like re-title "Reluctant Concubine" over the original “The Third Scroll”. It's going to put off a lot of possible fantasy readers who generally tend to be drawn to stories involving epic sword battle I give this book an averaged 2.5 stars. Up to chapter 14 I thought it was a 3 star read but after that it quickly dropped to a 2 star "meh, why am I still reading this?" rating. Before I properly begin my review I want to say that I think it was a very poor marketing decision to go with the Harlequin like re-title "Reluctant Concubine" over the original “The Third Scroll”. It's going to put off a lot of possible fantasy readers who generally tend to be drawn to stories involving epic sword battles, magic, mythical beings, and fiendish plots to take over the world, because it gives the impression the story is going to be about some woman wearing a veil and hanging out in a harem not doing much. On the flip side I think it's going to disappoint a lot of romance readers when they discover the novel is, for the most part, not as heavy on the smexy times as the title implies and instead focuses more on the fantasy elements of a girl with magical powers battling evil forces. There are moments of both in the book, but the title and cover do not reflect that at all. Now, moving on to the actual review... There was a subtle, persistent, shallowness to the world-building in this story that I didn't at first notice. Some of it was quite interesting, yet eventually I started to realise that the separate little "factoids" I was being handed all existed in their own isolated bubbles and didn't interact with each other in the way a living, breathing world should do. For example we never learn how or why the aggressive, warlike Karla and the peaceful, healing Shahala learnt to work together when their cultures are complete polar opposites, why the enemy Emperor is trying to invade a backwater island that mostly consists of desert or mountains and can only be reached by a poorly explained magical “Gate” (view spoiler)[which should make it a stupidly easy bottleneck to defend against invaders, but apparently not according to the ending (hide spoiler)] , or where any of the other already conquered and besieged neighbouring island nations are in relation to Dahru (the backwater island the Emperor really wants). This last one is particularly significant to the story because Dahru is the last island to come under attack, but early on in the story we're told that the entire island group is surrounded by a perpetually stormy ocean that can not be sailed across and Dahru, supposedly, has the only way in or out (via magical gateway). For me these inconsistencies and lack of real information led to everything feeling like a very mixed bag. Some things were really interesting or important in setting the atmosphere, yet other stuff felt completely superfluous and unimportant to anything else going on and only served to break the flow of events (view spoiler)[such as the cannibalistic village that shows up late in to the novel when Tera and Leena are already busy trying to get to and rescue Batuman from his own stupidity the enemy forces. That should have been exciting and tension building enough on its own merits, so the fact that the author felt a need to throw something else in on top should have raised some serious red flags for her (hide spoiler)] The plot was also very bitty. The general outline sounded pretty good in a classic “coming of age and fighting an evil empire” sort of way, but when it came time to execute it things almost immediately started to bloat up and fall apart. This is because the author couldn't seem to stick to the initial core idea and kept giving in to "just one more thing" creep. (view spoiler)[ This was most noticeable with Tera. First she develops her long wanted healing powers, but immediately afterwards the author seems to panic and believe that giving her character what she wanted so early on will negate her ambition and drive. So instead of having Tera actually having to grow in to her powers and learn to use them without any guidance, she tries to artificially reignite the “quest” element by making her "The Chosen One" of a previously unmentioned prophecy. Once that's added though it's decided that Tera is too underpowered and ordinary to be an ordained saviour as she is, so she's forced in to becoming a magical Mary Sue who everyone suddenly loves and respects and can spontaneously generate a crap ton of spiritual energy from nowhere, link up a handful of other healers in to a healer-mind-gestalt, then proceeds to instantaneously heal all lethal wounds inflicted on a friendly army for half a day with no real side effects. Etc. (hide spoiler)] At the same time as this creep was setting in the author also couldn't seem to make up her mind about whether she was writing a straight fantasy or a romance novel (it definitely wasn't a seamless fantasy romance). As a result we're left with a half-arsed, rambling fantasy tale and some clumsily inserted “romance” scenes that never get intertwined in to the narrative in a realistic or believable manner. I truly believe there is a lot of good, workable material in this story, but I think the author needed a different editor to help polish it up and make it shine. I get the impression the one she worked with may deal primarily with category romance and she would have been better served with one that was comfortable navigating the twists and turns of the fantasy genre instead. Moving on to my thoughts of the characters and I really need to say that up until chapter 14 I generally liked both Tera and Batuman, but after that point my interest and sympathy in them quickly took a nosedive when they transitioned in to to the typical sort of Mary Sue or Alpha-hole Jerk almost without warning. By chapter 19 Tera had completed a rapid transformation in to too much of a TSTL Special Snowflake for me to stomach. Up until that turning point she'd been almost completely focused on following in her mothers footsteps and becoming a great Healer. We're told that before her mother died she warned Tera that she must remain chaste until she received the "spirits" blessing and, unlike other girls who develop their power with the onset of their menses, Tera is left impatiently waiting for hers. This results in several years of disappointment and confusion for Tera where she only has her knowledge of herblore and more traditional "physicking" to fall back on and she begins to wonder why the “spirits” find her unready or otherwise unworthy to receive her magical gifts. I really wish the author had decided to stick with this part for far longer than she did and perhaps had shown Tera coming to realise and accept that she didn't need those gifts to be a great healer before she was given what she truly desired. Instead what we got was Tera's powers spontaneously and anti-climatically unlocking for absolutely no reason given that she'd had no real change in personality, outlook, or circumstances to act as a trigger. This was quickly followed up by an overly dramatic "near death" experience where she over-extends her newly awoken powers to the point of exhaustion and then somehow manages to get up off her “death bed”, go wandering around the fog shrouded night time streets of the fortress city, and scales a sheer cliff face to where she finds a fabled Forgotten City and three old dudes who claim to be the Guardians of the place. Almost before she can say hello they start telling her she's “The Chosen One” of an ancient (and uselessly vague) prophecy. They never give her any proof to verify this tale, nor do they tell her any details about the prophecy itself, but for some reason she 100% faithfully believes them to be benevolent, wise and trustful individuals, simply because they're really old and live in a cave overlooking a miraculously unruined lost city of the Ancients. That sits completely unnoticed on top of a cliff overlooking a more modern city. At this point in the story my Mary Sue and TSTL alarms started blaring away at me, and it only got worse when these Guardians immediately set about filling Tera's head with the notion that she had a grand and terrible "destiny" to face. Of course on hearing this she totally abandons her long held plans for trying to escape back to her homeland, because... Reasons. In my mind the justification she gives for this about face in attitude boils down to her being a gullible, naive idiot with an easily manipulated guilt complex. That and the fact it was pretty obvious that the author had decreed that this was the point in the story that Tera must start giving in to her Stockholm Syndrome "love" for the High Lord. Which reminds me, what ever happened to that sweet young childhood friend she'd all but been promised in marriage to and who had been patiently and respectfully waiting for the manifestation of her powers? Once she's taken by the slavers she never once gives him another thought, not even to contrast his behaviour to all the horrible near rapists she meets along the way. High Lord Batuman wasn't any better for me though. Up until chapter 14 I actually liked him and was pleasantly surprised that he was being a strong "macho" guy that didn't feel a need to descend to Alpha-hole tendencies to get what he wanted. Sadly immediately after that thought he Hulked Out and threw all his toys out of the pram because Tera refused to tell him where she'd been. This was in spite of him previously claiming she wasn't a slave, so really it shouldn't have been any of his business. I guess he meant that other kind of "not a slave". You know the ones, those that have no freedom to do what they want, go where they want, or even dress in what they want (amongst other things). So, anyway, because of her "defiance" he goes in to a jealous rage, tears off her dress, accuses her of being a sorcerous whore, muses out loud about how maybe he should have killed her like his (obviously evil) Soothsayer recommended he do just after her arrival at the fortress, and generally scares her out of her wits so much that she feels forced in to finally (finally!) enacting her crappy escape plan to get away from him. Weirdly enough we're nudged towards believing that he acted like that just because he loves her so much and was temporary driven to an insane jealousy, but honestly he doesn't seem too bothered by her escape beyond the idea that his (completely unwilling, totally “not a slave”) concubine had the temerity to leave him. So he sends out a load of armed soldiers to hunt her down whilst he sits around in his fortress twiddling his thumbs. Upon her (inevitable) return, instead of apologising for his shocking behaviour, one of the first things he does is drag her by the arm to a private room to berate her. Quite aside from his awful "but I love you really" behaviour towards Tera, I have trouble picturing him as a truly effective warlord. Sure he apparently looks big and appropriately muscle bound, but when Tera tries to offer alternatives to going to war against a vastly overwhelming force his first words were basically that he'd rather senselessly order his troops to die than attempt to seek a peace treaty. After that he then flings himself heedlessly in to danger for the sake of "honour", even though it was highly probable it would lead to him being captured and killed and the Karla people left needing to select a new High Lord mere days before defending against a massive invasion attempt. What kind of a leader thinks and acts that way? A really crappy leader, that's who. Like I have previously mentioned the actual romance in this was slight. For the most part there's less of that and an awful lot more implied, threatened or attempted rape going on. Not just towards Tera, but for any female character unlucky enough to come in to contact with, or the attention of, any warrior groups throughout the entire book. From this you may imagine that when I finally found myself reading some of the badly shoehorned in parts between Tera and Batuman it didn't really give me the "love vibes" just because he didn't force her in to sex straight away, because he still ended up forcing her to be his concubine/ slave and would continue to stroke and touch her even when she really didn't feel comfortable with it (until she did... Ugg). It smacks of yet another romance author either mistaking or deliberately construing a case of Stockholm Syndrome equals love (and how worrying is it that I can say another in this context). Tera gradually comes to believe that even though she is deeply unhappy with being sold in to slavery and then forced to become a concubine as part of a foreign cultural practice she finds abhorrent, just because Batuman doesn't actively slap her around or mistreat her (for the most part), that he must actually be being kind, caring and protective of her. She seems to wilfully forget within days the entire dress rending and fleeing for her safety thing, or at least convinces herself that it wasn't such a big deal after all. When she meekly returns at the mild half-arsed urging of the three Guardians, Batuman still acts like an Alpha-hole towards her and treats her like a poor, weak woman who has to be coddled and protected "for her own good" no matter what she thinks. At the same time he tries to urge her towards a "destiny" she doesn't want that would require her to go against her training, beliefs, and her very nature, to twist her life giving powers to the purposes of destruction and war. When that fails he tries to forbid her from outright using her powers, supposedly because he loves her so much he doesn't want to lose her, but it kind of reads as if he doesn't like that she can do something he can't control. At what point is any of that loving, understanding or supportive? If those aren't the three core tenets of what is considered "romance" then what are? When the two of them started having sex it just completely skeeved me out because being almost twice as old as she is he has far more experience in such matters and knows how to easily manipulate her as he wants. Plus he is literally her master and so no relationship they could have would ever be truly equal (just because he says she's not a slave doesn't actually make it true). I'm not sure if it counts as a consensual act either. Even though Tera seems willing at the time, if at any point she said no he could just choose to force her in to it with the full backing of his nation's customs and traditions and no-one would bat an eyelid. So, yeah... In theory there are quite a number of interesting ideas here, but in practice it's sort of boring and messy and I wasn't really in to it after the half way point. I don't think I would really recommend this to others because it was so over the place and by the end I wasn't really sure what the focus was any more. Was it Tera's powers and part in the prophecy? Was it on the coming war? Batuman and Tera's relationship... Thing? No idea! [Edited to add more line breaks so that this is hopefully less of an overwhelming wall of text to read. I don't claim it's any shorter though! It definitely has just as many spelling and punctuation atrocities as it did before.]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeffe Kennedy

    disclaimer: I met Dana Marton last week at RWA, but that was only made shinier because I'd just finished this book! We had a great "OMG, I loved your book/No, I loved *your* book" exchange. All that said, I was a bit chagrined to discover that, though I'd finished RELUCTANT CONCUBINE right before RWA, I'd missed my final review and rating in the furor of leaving. It's an excellent fantasy romance, very slow burn. Awesome worldbuilding and unusual story structure. The beginning is a bit slow, IMO, disclaimer: I met Dana Marton last week at RWA, but that was only made shinier because I'd just finished this book! We had a great "OMG, I loved your book/No, I loved *your* book" exchange. All that said, I was a bit chagrined to discover that, though I'd finished RELUCTANT CONCUBINE right before RWA, I'd missed my final review and rating in the furor of leaving. It's an excellent fantasy romance, very slow burn. Awesome worldbuilding and unusual story structure. The beginning is a bit slow, IMO, so forge past that. WELL worth the read! And yes, I had lunch with Dana and spent most of it bugging her to write book 3. She's starting on it this week. You're welcome.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Monique Morgan

    I picked this book up when I found it listed as free on Amazon. I have to admit that what first made me want it was the beautiful cover, and although I have tons of other books that I have also picked up for free, I chose this one to read first. I cannot begin to express how much I LOVED this book. It had me captivated from the beginning until the end, even bringing tears to my eyes as I read the final chapter. Yes, it was THAT good. I loved the main character, a beautiful strong willed woman th I picked this book up when I found it listed as free on Amazon. I have to admit that what first made me want it was the beautiful cover, and although I have tons of other books that I have also picked up for free, I chose this one to read first. I cannot begin to express how much I LOVED this book. It had me captivated from the beginning until the end, even bringing tears to my eyes as I read the final chapter. Yes, it was THAT good. I loved the main character, a beautiful strong willed woman that stays true to the nature of her heart even during the most trying of circumstances. Personally at some parts I wanted her to want revenge, but when she chose the higher path I admired her courageous spirit. The only part that bothered me was that the second book is not out yet, but I would have immediately gone and purchased it if it had been. I would like to point out the author has other books that she had traditionally published but this book was passed up by publishers, although they praised her for the book. I have to stick my tongue out at them and say "Your Loss!" The Author decided to self publish and I am glad she did:)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Clare

    I really enjoyed this book. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the romance genre, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the story set in a fantasy world - even better. Loved the suspense of the relationship and the writing style. The only reason this missed out on five stars is because I found the ending fell a little flat. For the first 80% of the book I couldn't put it down. Then suddenly it seemed to lose pace. I look forward to book two in the saga. Dana Marton has done such a good job with the f I really enjoyed this book. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the romance genre, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the story set in a fantasy world - even better. Loved the suspense of the relationship and the writing style. The only reason this missed out on five stars is because I found the ending fell a little flat. For the first 80% of the book I couldn't put it down. Then suddenly it seemed to lose pace. I look forward to book two in the saga. Dana Marton has done such a good job with the first book, and I'm sure the second will be better still.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    This book was a well written epic fantasy embodying the character of a healer. Like most in this genre, it covered a wide array of world building, plot points, and character development. Some of these things I felt were done superbly, while others I felt were less deft in their execution. I found the characters in this book to be likeable and enduring. While some of the secondary characters seemed to be introduced into this work to be used at a later time, the characters we did interact with enou This book was a well written epic fantasy embodying the character of a healer. Like most in this genre, it covered a wide array of world building, plot points, and character development. Some of these things I felt were done superbly, while others I felt were less deft in their execution. I found the characters in this book to be likeable and enduring. While some of the secondary characters seemed to be introduced into this work to be used at a later time, the characters we did interact with enough to know were both real and relatable. They grew as the story went on and showed both fortitude and resilience. Some of the conflicts between characters early in this book were used in a large part to shape our main protagonist and her view of the world she had been thrust into. That these were then later forgotten left me feeling incomplete. This lack of closure could be in part so that these old conflicts can be reincarnated in later books in this series, but even still I felt that it was almost an avoided opportunity. The world building in this book was both a strength and weakness. The cultures were vividly done, and for the most part, dynamic in their opposition. The physical imagery was a weakness; while expansive in scope much of the world was just lightly penciled in. Some of the terrain I could clearly picture while vast amounts of it were still washed in a water-color haze. I also felt that the flow of this book was a bit dragging in places. There were days and days of waiting where I felt our main character could have been actually doing something instead of watching the days go by. The plot was wide-spread and for a good portion of the book focused on escape. This was a bit of a problem for me as while our character wanted escape her attempts were lack-luster at best. When she did finally succeed she was thrust into the second half of the plot which pretty much deemed the first half irrelevant. Once she discovers her “destiny” the plot still took the meandering path to go anywhere, and our main character’s eureka moment was not reached until the last chapter in this work. I found it intriguing that this book was written in first person. It may well be the first epic fantasy I have encountered that chose this writing style. I was impressed by Ms. Marton’s ability to convey and explore such a scope while remaining firmly rooted in the main characters first-person viewpoint. While I felt it was quite well written, this book was not exactly my cup of tea. This is due in a large part to the genre; I am not the biggest epic fantasy aficionado. For those who like the genre, especially the sub-set of a healer story, I would recommend checking this book out. As for me, it is one of the down-sides of an e-book copy, as I highly doubt I will ever reread this story and wish I could pass it along to someone who would get more joy out of it that I have. I guess that is the balance of the tasting menu price of e-books. I give this book a strong three stars. http://masquerader.harshmage.com/cate...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    The first few pages were difficult to get started with; all of the sentences are choppy and abrupt, but eventually it all leveled out and turned into a decent flow...for a bit there this book was a solid 4 stars, and for a tiny bit it even rose to possibly 5 stars, and then it kind of diverged into two story lines, and holy crap during the last 20% this book dropped to a 3 and then to a 2. We have a healer who is sold into slavery, she meets another slave in the household she is sold into and ev The first few pages were difficult to get started with; all of the sentences are choppy and abrupt, but eventually it all leveled out and turned into a decent flow...for a bit there this book was a solid 4 stars, and for a tiny bit it even rose to possibly 5 stars, and then it kind of diverged into two story lines, and holy crap during the last 20% this book dropped to a 3 and then to a 2. We have a healer who is sold into slavery, she meets another slave in the household she is sold into and even though she doesn't spend a ton of time with this other girl for some reason she becomes utterly devoted to her and they become BFFs way later in the book. Eventually our healer is given to the High Lord and becomes his only concubine (because all of his other ones are dead, yet he never mentions them or the love he had for them and their children etc...he's just totally over them I guess). Our healer does some translating and cuddles with the High Lord but we never really see them DO or SAY much of anything to one another yet of course they fall in love. And then WHABAM ta-da our healer is the chosen one spoken of in the prophesy that everyone but her knows of. I hate prophesies. Why even bother writing a book and building a tale if it has all already been decided and told!? If a character is only following a chosen path, why even bother acting like they are making all sorts of important decisions? I hate prophecies and Chosen One type shit. And this turned into a terrible Chosen One story. She is such a damn push over and "I only want to heal and not hurt whine whine whine moan poor me, I'd rather die than have another die!" Tera has no real personality. So much about this book is so jagged and forced. More than halfway through when we learn about Guardian protectors, we learn about these magical gates that let you travel to all sorts of places...now we are told this as though these gates are a forgotten mystical thing...and then tra-la-la everyone is using them all over the place as though it's ben going on through the whole book. What?? Ugh I can't even be bothered to list more failings in this book. It was going so well there for a long stretch and then just went down the shitter. The last 20% was written more like an epilogue where you just get told what happens over the course of a year and during kidnappings and battles and sieges. That last chunk literally contained enough events to be turned into a whole other book. This is the ultimate example of telling instead of showing. The romance was building very well in the early stages with him being very gentle and her trying to find her place and then that too just turned into a crap pile where we get told everything rather than shown anything, so you're left feeling cheated out of a slow burning romance. Don't waste your time on this one. Our heroine is a limp noodle who you won't give two shits about come the end, or at least I didn't.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Minni Mouse

    Nope.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Enriquez

    This was a quick read, and I actually enjoyed it. These types of romances aren’t usually my thing, but I’m thinking that may change? I was just in it for the romance though lol.

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Belfield

    4.5 stars I love love love being surprised by a book. I'd never heard of Dana Morton before she was linked up by another author for a giveaway and I discovered her by liking her Facebook page. Then I spotted a few posts about The Third Scroll, and loved the cover enough to check it out. And then I spotted it was only 77p on Amazon and the rest is history. Now don't get me wrong, 77p self-published books don't often get my attention just because of their price, so I have no idea why I chose this on 4.5 stars I love love love being surprised by a book. I'd never heard of Dana Morton before she was linked up by another author for a giveaway and I discovered her by liking her Facebook page. Then I spotted a few posts about The Third Scroll, and loved the cover enough to check it out. And then I spotted it was only 77p on Amazon and the rest is history. Now don't get me wrong, 77p self-published books don't often get my attention just because of their price, so I have no idea why I chose this one over others. But I'm so glad I did because it's one of the best 77p's I've spent in a long while. The writing is decent. Dana's style is fluid despite being written in a more traditional sense to befit the genre, and descriptive without being over-bearing, as well as appearing to have been spilled with an ease that carries the reader along with little hitch to their stride. The world building is just the right amount. Admittedly, the world 'fantasy' is enough to send me scurrying into the shadows (yet another notch on the mystery as to why I bought this book). However, the unfolding of the traditions held much more airtime than the visual aspects of this world and I believe that was likely why I tolerated it so well--because there is nothing worse than waiting impatiently to see what happens next and then the author thrusts a three page narrative of a setting in your path. Everything about this world Dana created was captivating and believable for all of its crudeness and fascinating detail. The plot was well thought out, with many arcs to Tera's journey, as I loved how none of it seemed rushed, which offered greater credibility to her development. And one of the developments I enjoyed observing the most was her aversion to men. And anyone with half a brain would know how big a role Batumar played in that. Because I ADORED Batumar. From his initial appearance and those gentle words of promise that no harm would come to Tera, to his accepting manner of all that was her, to his tenderness shown when a barrier he waited so patiently for to fold was finally crossed. He has to be one of my favourite male counterparts I've read in a while. LOVE him. Did I mention I love him? And Batumar aside (you know: that character I kinda crushed on?), the supporting cast and all of their personalities (be them malicious or benevolent) were so full bodied and colourful that I can remember literally each and every one of them by story's end--which doesn't often happen for me. Oh yeah, and can we say 'teary--much' over that ending? Yeah, I'm a soft, sad sap, I know. The only reason I knocked the half star rating off--which I pondered over because I was almost a little loathe to do it for a book that captured me so--was because there were a few lulls in the book (not big ones, mind) that slowed the pace down, and I so wanted that pacing to be consistent because for around 98% of the book, it most definitely is. Thank you so much, Ms Morton, for convincing me that not all fantasy novels are to be shied from. I'll certainly be checking out the 2nd instalment in Tera & Batumar's journey when it arrives.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I have read many Dana Marton romantic suspense books. When i was offered the chance to read her new fantasy novel, The Third Scroll I didn't know what to expect. First i don't usually read any fantasy. Wasn't sure i could get into it no matter if it was well written or not because i didn't think it could be my thing. I admit i did have a hard time getting through the first 20% of it. Mostly because the first book in a series has to have some back story and more detailed info on the setting and I I have read many Dana Marton romantic suspense books. When i was offered the chance to read her new fantasy novel, The Third Scroll I didn't know what to expect. First i don't usually read any fantasy. Wasn't sure i could get into it no matter if it was well written or not because i didn't think it could be my thing. I admit i did have a hard time getting through the first 20% of it. Mostly because the first book in a series has to have some back story and more detailed info on the setting and I also was struggling thinking i wouldn't like it. When i finally got a nice block of time to sit and read with out work, kids etc going at me I found myself entranced. The more i read the more i liked. I read the last 80% (book is 450 pages) in one sitting. The writing is just beautiful. It flows sometimes like water. I don't know how else to describe it other than to say i enjoyed how it felt reading it. Does that make sense? lol I was really afraid there would be any romance at all and was happy when it finally showed up. It takes a while to get to that though. Well worth the wait. Tera struggles to live up to her mother's legacy. She's a healer but without the true healing abilities her mother had. She's sold by her step father into slavery and for a good portion of the book is treated horribly until she is gifted to the warlord Batumar. Tera is pretty much a innocent at the beginning of this book. Struggling with her healing abilities or rather lack of true abilities and then her world is turned completely upside down when her stepfather sells her into slavery. She then has to deal with many hardships from living in a totally different climate, to being a slave to being beaten and the list goes on. By the time Batumar gets her she is pretty well ingrained to not expect anything good. It takes a while for her toget used to Batumar and his thoughts on her aren't immediately shown. Your left wondering what his intentions are. Dana Marton definitely can write romantic suspense and it's safe to say she can add fantasy to her writing abilities. I was thoroughly involved in the book. Wonderful thought out characters and a awesome plot. I can't wait for more. 5 out of 5 Modokker Book Pick Stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I purchased this through Amazon because it was on-sale and I was in the mood for an epic-fantasy. I enjoyed Game of Thrones, Lord of the Fading Lands, Warprize AND Outlander, so I thought, hey...I'll give this a shot. I enjoyed it, though the beginning was very slow and somewhat uncomfortable to read. I was a little bit nervous about the direction it was going, but my fears quickly evaporated. It really reminded me of Warprize, which I loved. The characters were crafted well. Tera was very complex I purchased this through Amazon because it was on-sale and I was in the mood for an epic-fantasy. I enjoyed Game of Thrones, Lord of the Fading Lands, Warprize AND Outlander, so I thought, hey...I'll give this a shot. I enjoyed it, though the beginning was very slow and somewhat uncomfortable to read. I was a little bit nervous about the direction it was going, but my fears quickly evaporated. It really reminded me of Warprize, which I loved. The characters were crafted well. Tera was very complex, and I felt like I knew her very well by the end of the book---her fears, her wishes, her passions, her history. It's been a while since I've read a story about such a complex character. I even liked Batumar, the big teddy bear, scary warlord. He was very mysterious at the beginning, but by the end, I felt as if I knew him, too. The worldbuilding was alright. It was very overwhelming during the first 20%, with tons of names, locations, and religions to keep in mind. Once I had those down, the book flowed smoothly. I liked the prophecy bit, but found myself confused when it finally happened. It took some reading and rereading to finally go "ahhh, I get it". Again, once I got it, I was very into the storyline and excited to see where things went. I'll admit, though, I started laughing uncontrollably when genitals were referred to as a "manpart" and a "secret cave". Especially when Tera explains how she views the birds and the bees---basically the man leaves a seed in the secret cave, where it sprouts into a babe...who then grows too big to live in the secret cave and thus crawls out. That's a terrifying image, isn't it? Overall, it was an enjoyable Friday/Saturday read. I did buy the second book in the series, as I'm interested in what happens. I would recommend to those who like romance and fantasy. I rated it 3/5 on Goodreads.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    Full Review for RT Magazine 4 Stars An ambitious, vividly imagined epic fantasy. Marton has created a promising and immersive world that is, at the same time, darkly brutal. Although barely a woman, Tera is a fully formed and sympathetic character from the start. Belonging to a passive people, she's thrown unwillingly into a foreign culture and situations of intense cruelty, violence, and political maneuvering. Her naivete persists at great cost to herself and those around her, bringing about stea Full Review for RT Magazine 4 Stars An ambitious, vividly imagined epic fantasy. Marton has created a promising and immersive world that is, at the same time, darkly brutal. Although barely a woman, Tera is a fully formed and sympathetic character from the start. Belonging to a passive people, she's thrown unwillingly into a foreign culture and situations of intense cruelty, violence, and political maneuvering. Her naivete persists at great cost to herself and those around her, bringing about steady but inevitable growth in her maturity and self-perception. Complex issues of identity are examined unobtrusively. So too is the incompatibility of innocence and war—the necessity of sacrifice and survival. The romantic angle is muted and allowed to develop in a natural, non-formulaic manner that plot-centric readers will find refreshing. The prose is pleasant and skillful. And considering the amount and quality of story you're getting, the ebook price is more than fair. There were a handful of minor grammatical errors, and the pacing wobbles a bit (mainly in the last quarter) which seems to hold it back just slightly from it's full potency. But the splendor of the author's vision cannot be overlooked.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I won The Third Scroll in a giveaway for free on Goodreads First/Reads and I'm hooked. This story is awesome! This story glued itself to my thoughts for a long time after. The Third Scroll is the best book I read in 2012. Definitely pick up this book- The Third Scroll is captivating, unique, and refreshing. It was not long before I developed a compassionate connection with the main character Tara, and I was sucked into her heartwrenching world. This was the first book I read of Dana Marton's and I won The Third Scroll in a giveaway for free on Goodreads First/Reads and I'm hooked. This story is awesome! This story glued itself to my thoughts for a long time after. The Third Scroll is the best book I read in 2012. Definitely pick up this book- The Third Scroll is captivating, unique, and refreshing. It was not long before I developed a compassionate connection with the main character Tara, and I was sucked into her heartwrenching world. This was the first book I read of Dana Marton's and I enjoyed her writing style. I was happy with how she wrote the book- stopping just when she needed to, and never taking it too far. I'm impatiently waiting for the rest of Tara's story. I will read every book to come in the Hardstorm Saga. (Update 04/05/2014 it has been about two years since I've read this book, and I still think about the story and check back often for a second book) http://lovemebooksandstuffblog.blogsp...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Holly *Confessions of a Lit Chick*

    Started out promising, then swiftly took a nose dive towards the ground and combusted. The writing style was slow, the female character often did stuff that just felt irrelevant to the plot. The male and female leads didn't really talk to each other much, so there wasn't any chemistry, just all of a sudden they were in love... Also, the heroine was on the precipice of death THREE TIMES, probably within 40pages of each other... I'm damn sure she'd be bed ridden if that were to happen.... Too far f Started out promising, then swiftly took a nose dive towards the ground and combusted. The writing style was slow, the female character often did stuff that just felt irrelevant to the plot. The male and female leads didn't really talk to each other much, so there wasn't any chemistry, just all of a sudden they were in love... Also, the heroine was on the precipice of death THREE TIMES, probably within 40pages of each other... I'm damn sure she'd be bed ridden if that were to happen.... Too far fetched a Fantasy for me. Although, I love novels that have healers, so recommendations are wanted and NEEDED!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hollie

    The blurb on this one sounded quite intriguing so I decided to pay the .99 and give it a shot. While it did have an abundance of potential I found the plot, characters and storyline pretty dull. There were a couple of times I almost declared this one a DNF. There were some major slow and draining spells throughout this read. It won't be a series I personally continue.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers)

    This book was so good! And Elizabeth Evans as the narrator just spiced it up and made it that much more complex and thrilling! I already bought the second book, and can't WAIT to start that one as well!! Rating & Review To Come... This book was so good! And Elizabeth Evans as the narrator just spiced it up and made it that much more complex and thrilling! I already bought the second book, and can't WAIT to start that one as well!! Rating & Review To Come...

  18. 4 out of 5

    BJ

    This is an author skilled in showing not telling, and I liked it. Lots of paranormal elements, healers, warriors and prophesies that needed translation by the innocent h . It her courage that builds connections wherever she goes. She often vanquishes enemies with her combination of her healing skills, and her integrity. It was a sweet book, perhaps well suited to teenage readers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ann (annreads)

    “For some, their endless potential can be more frightening than their shortcomings” That was a super quick, enjoyable read! Originally, I picked it up thinking that it was a romance read, but it turned out to be something really different (and kinda boring tbh, since the romance was basically non existent😂) It was entertaining though, and the audiobook was amazing, I pretty much listened to the whole thing in less than a day! 3.5/5★★★

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elsie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As my first book that I've ever actually won, I was really excited to read the Third Scroll by Dana Morton. Seriously. I was giddy. Sold to slavers by her father, Tera seeks to give her mother her last rights in the savage country that has now claimed them both. She's a concubine who must remain a virgin until she gains her hereditary healing powers or she never will. Even as she struggles to escape war threatens her barbaric realm. Yet as she is moved from one Pleasure House to another she learn As my first book that I've ever actually won, I was really excited to read the Third Scroll by Dana Morton. Seriously. I was giddy. Sold to slavers by her father, Tera seeks to give her mother her last rights in the savage country that has now claimed them both. She's a concubine who must remain a virgin until she gains her hereditary healing powers or she never will. Even as she struggles to escape war threatens her barbaric realm. Yet as she is moved from one Pleasure House to another she learns of another destiny that may be hers. A prophecy was written which could mean the destruction of her home. The world building was a bit of a hit and miss. Some places it worked and seamlessly followed the story. Others it was jarring and not fully fleshed out. The story begins with a rich boy who is very much in love with Tera at the beginning of the book. She actually is thinking she wouldn't mind marrying him but she doesn't want to because she has to stay a virgin to gaining her healing powers. But she is sold into slavery as a concubine and she never thinks of him again. Not even later when she goes back to visit her country. Also if there are male healers in her society does that require their virginity as well to gain healing powers? Tera is then a concubine in a society that allows, supports and even encourages raping of virgin maidens to be followed by gang raping as good luck before they go to war or battle. Tera barely escapes this fate by being taken into another lords Pleasure House. Then because her newest captor is kind and doesn't want her to think she is a slave (even though she still is) and he seems to be enamored of her she (with only a touch of Stockholm Syndrome) falls in love. Apparently the age gap is not an issue either. Additionally, in the culture a Warlord's Pleasure House (similar to a sultans harem) with all his wives, concubines and slaves are given to his brother if he dies. Tera is terrified of her warlord's brother and dreads the idea that her warlord may die because that would make her his brother's property. Yet, when the brother dies the fact that her warlord should have adopted his brother's Pleasure House is never mentioned. And he had an extensive Pleasure House. Then there is a battle with the ultimate enemy which they barely make through. She writes it all down in the Third Scroll and then they all go to war with vastly superior forces. And it ends. I feel like they are all going to die. I really wanted to like this more than I did. So although it makes me feel like a heel (because hey, free book! well you asked for my honest review) I think I would give it 2 stars out of 5. It had a lot of promise but just needed some more edits in there. If she would go through and clean up those plot points or those throw away statements (aka "I despaired") throughout the writing, I think this book would be excellent and gripping. It has a lot of promise but didn't quite deliver for me. This review is also posted on my blog http://eslifeandtimes.blogspot.com/.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Meeks

    Well while I enjoy epic fantasy such as this one, I always hate reading the first book and then waiting for the next ones. I usually wait until they are all written before I indulge due to trying to remember all the characters and the plots details but here I am once again with the first book of such a fantasy. I guess the other thing that needs to be mentioned is that this story does have a romantic element in it but that takes awhile to show up. Any real details on that would be a spoiler so I Well while I enjoy epic fantasy such as this one, I always hate reading the first book and then waiting for the next ones. I usually wait until they are all written before I indulge due to trying to remember all the characters and the plots details but here I am once again with the first book of such a fantasy. I guess the other thing that needs to be mentioned is that this story does have a romantic element in it but that takes awhile to show up. Any real details on that would be a spoiler so I will leave that one for the reader. Tera who is our healing heroine starts out in the usual manner in epic fantasy as someone who is nobody much but has a bit of a hidden past and unknown powers. The reason you see this so much in epic fantasy is that it appeals to those of us who enjoy these type stories. It's not a bad thing, just something to work through. She has a pretty horrible existence for a goodly portion of this novel but this is leading to more discovery and growth in our heroine. While most of it was interesting and done well i have to admit to doing a bit of scanning in several places in the latter half of the book where the action slowed and I seemed to be seeing more descriptions of scenery than anything that added a lot to the story (I felt the same way about Lord of the Rings so take that into consideration). I really enjoyed the story although at least one of the transformations from evil to good I found a small bit lacking, but some of this I guess could be explained away due to a culture that was a bit barbaric. I REALLY wanted to see a bit of revenge for earlier horrid moments but did not get it, maybe in a subsequent book maybe? I am pretty much a revenge junkie at all levels. While you know that everything is not going to be resolved in book 1, I was pleasantly surprised to find an ending that was both satisfying and intriguing enough to not frustrate you but still make you look forward to the next novel in the series (trilogy?) Bottom Line: I enjoyed it, I liked the characters although most of them went through portions of the book where I was not so enamored with them so a few of them needed some getting used to and the ending felt a wee bit rushed IMHO. This was still an easy 4 Star reading experience and wonder what awaits in the next one. The middle books in these type tales (assuming a trilogy) are the ones that are hard to get right, hopefully it will be at least and good as this one without getting mired down in minutia. Highly recommended 4 Stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley E

    Let me be honest here. Most self-published books could use a little more editing, so when I picked up The Third Scroll, even with its lovely cover, I thought I would be wincing once in a while over little grammatical mistakes and typos. I didn't. Not once. I am beyond impressed that Dana managed to get this book whistle clean in the editing department. So the reading was smooth sailing. And it was a wonderful trip too. The plot is a bit classical prophecy fantasy, but well-played and very focused Let me be honest here. Most self-published books could use a little more editing, so when I picked up The Third Scroll, even with its lovely cover, I thought I would be wincing once in a while over little grammatical mistakes and typos. I didn't. Not once. I am beyond impressed that Dana managed to get this book whistle clean in the editing department. So the reading was smooth sailing. And it was a wonderful trip too. The plot is a bit classical prophecy fantasy, but well-played and very focused on the central plot. The romance was pleasantly subtle, as opposed to many of the "leap into bed" romances out there. The symbiotic relationship between the Shahala and Kadar was fascinating as well. I never expected Tera to end up where she did, and the changes she experienced along the way were inspiring. I hope the next in this series comes out soon! [I received this book for free through First Reads and was not required to write a positive or any other type of review. All opinions stated herein are solely my own.]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    Daughter of an 'epic' fantasy story centred on a young healer and her quest to save the world, and a growing up one (NA), the third scroll is a novel of mixed - results. There are parts that are smoother than others, but overall is a very pleasant story, if not a gripping one. The romance is just a thread, however important, while the plot revolves around a young woman destiny and her acceptance or refusal of it. My lack of enthusiasm is born by my idea that this story isn't sure of what it want Daughter of an 'epic' fantasy story centred on a young healer and her quest to save the world, and a growing up one (NA), the third scroll is a novel of mixed - results. There are parts that are smoother than others, but overall is a very pleasant story, if not a gripping one. The romance is just a thread, however important, while the plot revolves around a young woman destiny and her acceptance or refusal of it. My lack of enthusiasm is born by my idea that this story isn't sure of what it wants to be. Or at least that may be a reason for it. World-building is a mixed bag too. Some of it good, some a bit less. Too many unexplained moments for my tastes, like how do they survive a cannibal village? (Minor plot point, unimportant.) Character-wise it has the same problem, the evil people are too shallow, you aren't given much depth or motivation. But honestly everyone is pretty on the shallow side of the beach. I sound less than positive, but I swear the story is cute, and the heroine worth following.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kainani

    If I could, I give it 4.5 stars! First time reading Ms. Morton. The book was a page turner. This epic fantasy novel was well written. The author painted a very vivid, captivating and believable world. She did not shy aware from crudeness either. The harsh conditions that the heroine, Tera, had to overcome kept me glued to the book. I loved the hero, Batumar. At first I didn't know what to make of him but he had a subtle gentleness that made me adored him. The only reason I gave it a 4 or 4.5 was If I could, I give it 4.5 stars! First time reading Ms. Morton. The book was a page turner. This epic fantasy novel was well written. The author painted a very vivid, captivating and believable world. She did not shy aware from crudeness either. The harsh conditions that the heroine, Tera, had to overcome kept me glued to the book. I loved the hero, Batumar. At first I didn't know what to make of him but he had a subtle gentleness that made me adored him. The only reason I gave it a 4 or 4.5 was somewhere after the halfway mark, there were times the story dragged for me. I was getting impatient for the ending and it just seemed really long. However, in all it was a great story. If you are a fan of Elizabeth Vaughan's Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy, you may very much enjoy this story. After reading The Third Scroll, I'd gladly read more of Ms. Morton's works. Can't wait to read more of the Hardstorm Saga as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Terri Rochenski

    Make that 4.5 stars, please. This is by far one of the best epic fantasy novels I've read in some time. I was immersed in Tera's world from the first chapter and compelled to click my kindle's page turner late into the night. YUMMIES: Cliche-less awesome story telling wraps around real life characters who lack in perfection. Rarely am I surprised by character revelations and spilled secrets, but this story had quite a few I didn't see coming. I was thrilled, to say the least! YUCKIES: Not really a Make that 4.5 stars, please. This is by far one of the best epic fantasy novels I've read in some time. I was immersed in Tera's world from the first chapter and compelled to click my kindle's page turner late into the night. YUMMIES: Cliche-less awesome story telling wraps around real life characters who lack in perfection. Rarely am I surprised by character revelations and spilled secrets, but this story had quite a few I didn't see coming. I was thrilled, to say the least! YUCKIES: Not really a yucky - more a personal preference which some fantasy lovers would disagree with ... I'm a sucker for romance and the fulfillment of love being shown. Just when I thought, "Woo Hoo! THE scene,' blinds closed, curtains were drawn. Pooh. :) RECOMMEND: You better believe it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kara-karina

    3.5/5 Alright, the premise is good. The setting is good. The potential is there... But I couldn't help comparing this one with Warprize, and it kept coming up short. There is no either coherency to the plot or a strong, charismatic love story, and the book which started strong, lost me by its ending. Otherwise it's an enjoyable enough read. 3.5/5 Alright, the premise is good. The setting is good. The potential is there... But I couldn't help comparing this one with Warprize, and it kept coming up short. There is no either coherency to the plot or a strong, charismatic love story, and the book which started strong, lost me by its ending. Otherwise it's an enjoyable enough read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kayci Morgan

    There were aspects to this book in regards to characterization and world building that made me rage. Like literal, fist shaking rage. But with that being said, all in all, it was a good story. One I read from beginning to end in a fairly short period of time and enjoyed. So if you can get past the main character being naive to the point of idiocy and few questionable world building choices, then what's left is a pretty good tale that's I'd definitely recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is a strong epic fantasy with a compelling romance. I really enjoyed it, but the tone is defintely more in the style of traditional fantasy work than you find in Ms. Marton's romances. If you're a lover of fantasy, I would highly recommend this, but if Tolkein is not for you, this might not work for you. I loved it, however, and definitely want to see more of this world!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura (Kyahgirl)

    3/5; 3 stars; B+ This fantasy story was a little rough around the edges but I enjoyed the mystery, the magic, and the adventure. I definitely liked this book enough to buy the next one, which was even better.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Damaris (GoodChoiceReading)

    Eh, I quit... :-/

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