Book One in the Rand Series
Rand is a magical melting pot of fantasy that sets your imagination alight; a rollercoaster of twists and turns from beginning to end.
As someone who visualises what they read, I rarely choose ‘true’ fantasy books as i’m prone to being drawn out of the story time and time again, whilst i struggle to make sense of and visualise what it is i’m reading.
Shaw’s Rand gave me none of these issues.
The main character Savannah is drawn towards the lost Circle of Sheda, and as a result is pulled through a portal from Earth to Rand. In choosing to briefly start this fantasy on Earth and by including a human main character, Shaw is able to use Savannah’s experiences on Rand in such a way as to act as a frame of reference, by which the reader can easily comprehend this new world.
Whilst the story has multiple layers with a lot happening throughout the book, at no point did i wonder what the relevance of something was. Every plot point serves its purpose well, contributing to the wider plot in a seamless manner. As a reader i was never left with a feeling that some parts were either overwhelming or unnecessary.
As a romance/fantasy tale i felt that Rand leaned more firmly on its fantasy roots, but that’s not to say Shaw doesn’t give the reader some excellent elements of romance. We’re treated to two main romances throughout the book, Valeria – The Imperial Queen, and Tamasin who are already an established couple, and Savannah and Pela. The latter are the source of a slow burn romance as they each do their best to hide their secrets from one another. The beginnings of Savannah and Pela’s relationship would have you believe that they’d be the last individuals on Rand to get together. But things are not always as they seem, with Shaw clearly knowing how to ramp up the tension and then break down those same walls.
Overall, this book was a fun and fascinating story to read. I enjoyed that Shaw was able to create an enchanting and mysterious world in Rand with a magical ensemble of characters from telepathic, flying horses, to a shapeshifting warrior come hawk. And the best bit? It all feels totally realistic. Shaw has created a narrative that is so convincing i’m two thirds of the way to believing Rand exists somewhere!
As an aside, whilst there will be a Book Two of this series (in fact it’s due out February 2022), Book One could also be read as a standalone as there is no cliffhanger. That said i think anyone would be hard pushed not to want more from this world after finishing Book One, cliffhanger or no cliffhanger!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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