Title: The Last Vhalgenn (AUDIOBOOK version)
Author: Kayelle Allen
Publisher: SHadowfire Press/ Audiolark
Length: Novella/ 1 hour listening time
Raik is bound to the king by love as well as law and tradition. When his ailing wife proposes an unthinkable plot, will Raik have the fortitude to betray her lover and her King?
I’ve never read anything by Ms. Allen, so listening to an audiobook of one of her stories was an interesting experience. It took me a moment to coordinate my imagination when the story started. The woman reading the story had a great voice, although she read sooooo slowly at times that it was a tiny bit distracting. A little more inflection every once in a while would have been a great addition.
Raik, an independent, feisty warrior woman, is the heroine of The Last Vhalgenn. As a pledged companion and consort to Orix, she is summoned to the palace to deliver a message. She guesses there is more to the message than she is told, and she soon find out she is correct when the king’s ailing wife makes a proposal, one that could lead to treason.
Raik is an admirable character, strong and capable, and devoted to her king. On shaky terms with his wife, she returns from an unofficial exile to the palace. The pregnant queen is dying, and horny king Orix is on the prowl. I couldn’t get a good fix on Orix. I didn’t really like him, but Allen wrote him as a sympathetic character, so I wanted to like him but his philandering and objectification of the women in his bed turned me off. Yet Raik still loved him, despite his wandering codpiece. I loved the way Raik didn’t pander to the king or get all mushy. She kept her head and didn’t do stupid stuff, and in the end, she stayed strong.
Allen’s writing voice is smooth and pleasant. Very easy to ‘see’, and her storytelling sucks you right into the kingdom of Qarth and Raik’s plight.
The audiobook is very reasonably priced, and it’s an interesting way to hear the story. I suggest giving AudioLark a try!