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The Road of Silk, by Matt Afsahi, Barbara Dysonwilliams Book Review | SFReader.com
The Road of Silk, by Matt Afsahi, Barbara Dysonwilliams Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Synergy Published: 2005 Review Posted: 5/16/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 5 out of 10
The Road of Silk, by Matt Afsahi, Barbara Dysonwilliams
Book Review by Adrienne Jones
Have you read this book?
Queen Yasamin is about as good as good gets. Pure as the driven snow, never thinking of herself, she agrees to marry King Amir, a big baddy from another land who's threatened to destroy her entire kingdom if she refuses him. And being the saintly queen that she is, she agrees to sacrifice her happiness to save her people and land. He has, after all, promised to kill every man woman and child, and even poison the ground to prevent the crops from rebirth after the massacre. So off she goes, escorted across the sea by Amir's less than savory soldiers, only to become shipwrecked on an island due to a supernatural storm spawned by enemies she doesn't know she has.
Adding to the angst of having to marry against her will, here on the island, Yasamin falls in love with Arash, a humble, charming prince in disguise, and the antithesis of the evil king she's reluctantly betrothed to. Ah, but remember, Yasamin is infuriatingly good. Perfect, golden, pale-haired princess good. So despite her falling in love with another, she determines upon their rescue that she will follow through and honor her agreement to marry the foul king of the distant land.
At this point of course we might be seeing her as a doomed victim, but circumstances in the plot reveal a secret, that Yasamin is a descendent of a nearly extinct sect of people that follow 'the light', and are able to bend nature to their will for the sake of goodness. In this discipline, followers of the light may open a celestial door to the 'Road of Silk', a viaduct permitting travel between worlds. As Yasamin is contacted by her ancestors and made aware of her dormant power, the cards seem more in her favor as she heads to the land where she'll be wed, determined to battle whatever evil is waiting for her.
But in a countering plot line, the king she is about to wed is already married, and his 'First Wife' Medusimia is furious at the indignity of having to share her husband with another. She seeks the help of Vulmire, a half serpent man who lives hidden, having been physically transformed after making a deal with the dark side. Bargaining with her body, Medusimia makes a deal with the well-endowed beast, that if he'll destroy her enemy Yasamin, she will be his lover. In an amusing twist, she finds after several romps in the cave with the lusty half-man, that she's become addicted to the wild serpent sex, and no man, not even her husband, the king, can ever satisfy her again. So change of plans. Get rid of BOTH the king and his new bride, take over the kingdom herself, with Vulmire at her side, where she can quell her lust at her leisure.
While cliché, predictable and at times sickening in its 'good should prevail over evil' themes, The Road of Silk does move faster than many fantasy stories, and keeps the pages turning after the halfway point. The writing is good, although there are some strange patterns of punctuation that run throughout the entire novel. Quotations disappear, or never appear at all, leaving us reading narrative, and having to go back and re-read to discover that it has suddenly become dialogue once again. I'm not sure why there is such inconsistency with the quotation marks, but it makes the read incredibly confusing at times. The other negative is the ending, which I can only assume was done in order to prepare for a sequel to this novel, because there is absolutely no closure to the story.
The Road of Silk is entertaining but not thrilling, but worth the ride for the imagery and inventiveness. If there are going to be sequels to this book, I'd bet the story will improve further therein, because the authors seemed to ease into a more natural flow in the latter half of the novel.
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