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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.

Taming the Forest King

Taming the Forest King - Claudia J. Edwards "Taming the Forest King" has so many things I like. An intelligent, active woman facing and effectively dealing with a series of problems with a mix of logic, honour and gritty determination. Tevra is a career soldier who has been sent to take command of a distance province which has been falling apart through mismanagement and greed. The province certainly needs someone to step in, but naturally there are people who stand to lose from - or at least resent - such an intervention. Tevra has a particular challenge because culturally the forest kingdom is all "women belong to men and can't be in command".Tevra is a great character, facing up to the nastier aspects of her work, trying to work her way toward just solutions. The people under her command respect and trust her implicitly because she's proven herself to them over and over. She's a little overly strict with herself (and a little hot-headed in actual combat) but a good person you really want to succeed. We only really meet one of the people under her command - her second Hetwith - but I very very much wanted Hetwith to succeed as well. :)At the same time, not a five star book for me, for much the same reason Bright and Shining Tiger is not: to get to the very satisfying conclusion I had to suffer through tropes which I don't enjoy at all.- Tevra is a battle-hardened woman in her late thirties. She's had sex before – once or twice. For all that she's proved herself in many ways, Tevra is situated in a position of extreme naivety about men and seduction. Part of this is character inconsistency – she's wise and capable regarding the approaches of some men, but completely incapable of dealing with the pursuit of one potential love interest, while being absolutely blinkered about another.- I hate, hate, hate the "Your body tells me you want me so I'm going to put my hands all over you" thing. Almost as much as I loathe any apparently adult woman being reduced to near-incoherence by a hot, sexy guy's hot sexiness. Being interested is one thing, being visibly stunned and unable to set limits to how much he touches you is quite another. Particularly if you think it would be a betrayal of your oaths to be with him - and _especially_ when she never once shows any sign of thinking him more than just sexy.- The scene with the ball dress annoyed me possibly more than any other. The woman is a soldier. She has a dress uniform. So why is she wearing a chest-baring dress that she is incredibly uncomfortable putting on? Yes, she has a diplomatic role as well as a military one. But a diplomat who dresses up in something which makes her feel exposed and vulnerable (and unexpectedly sexy) is not being an effective diplomat – particularly in a region when she's already being looked down on for being female! If her dress uniform had been a dress, I could understand it, but this becomes a manufactured situation to further romantic development rather than one of logical consistency.- All three main characters face scary creatures. But Tevra is the one who consistently needs to be held upright in the aftermath. Gods there was a lot of "his arm around my waist supporting me" going on.None of these issues were enough to stop me enjoying the story – they just happen to be romantic tropes which rub me completely the wrong way.