The Golden Dynasty (Fantasyland, #2)

The Golden Dynasty (Fantasyland, #2) - Kristen Ashley Kristen Ashley once again managed to captivate me. Set in the same parallel universe of Wildest Dreams, The Golden Dynasty is the story of a modern woman who wakes up among the Horde of Korwahk, right before the brutal wife hunt. Scared and confused, she befriends a couple of other lost souls minutes before running for her life. But her golden hair and eyes have captured the attention of the Dax, or king, of the Horde. Dax Lahn wants her as his wife…this golden woman among the dark. He knows that she is his destiny and that together, they will start a time of great magic and great peace among his people….The Golden Dynasty, a time told in prophesy and legend.Only this golden woman, Circe, is not so easily caught or tamed. She does not bow to the Dax, nor does she know the language of the Korwahk. Circe must learn this new world, the customs and language of her new people, and learn to accept a brutal way of life that most people only deal with when watching movies or reading books. Slavery, rape, forced sterilization, and bloody fights to the death are the norm in this world. And Circe is now queen of it all.And yet somehow…Somehow Circe finds the tenderness in her barbarian husband. His brutality changes on a dime into tenderness. The way that Circe and Lahn communicate so stiltedly at first was sigh-worthy. Here’s one scene where something happens to Circe that leaves her not well, and Lahn is distraught. Circe tries to comfort him.“I pressed my hands to his chest and whispered, “I’ll be all right, Lahn. I’ll be okay.”“Yes, okay, Circe,” he agreed on a light squeeze.I nodded my head against the pillows. “Yes, honey, okay.”“Honey,” he repeated on another squeeze.”Awww, the big bad warrior is worried! I also loved how Circe’s little words of endearment became crucial to Lahn…he needed to hear them in order to feel secure in their relationship, even if at first he had to have an interpreter express the importance of them.“He has decided he likes the meaning of honey best but he prefers how you speak when you call him baby. He is, of course, a ‘big guy’ and simply finds it amusing you would point this out.”Not only does Circe change due to her new world, but this Golden Queen changes those around her. Small things such as respect and compassion seem to be nonexistent…not because they are unwilling, but because it is not their way. And now their legendary queen is here, showing them her beauty and humanity, and therein lies the story of how one woman changes a barbarian horde into humans.“Your king did not break through with me until his touch stopped taking and started giving.”Most of all, this was a gorgeous fantasy, and a beautiful love story. This is the perfect blend of two genres, and it spoke to my romantic nature and my desire to get away from reality. Dax Lahn is the epitome of alpha male, as are all of KA’s men. But Dax is a king. He doesn’t have the luxury to change his mind or show tenderness. He is blunt and honest, and that honesty sometimes came so wonderfully romantic:“I could not dream a better you.”And sometimes very, very HOT!!!!!My queen, do not get drowsy. I am not done fucking you.”Oh. My. Gosh!!!Of course, in a situation such as this, the road is rocky and communication isn’t even an option at times. But my goodness, it sure made for one hell of a ride! Ashley was able to write some stunning visualizations and her storytelling is, in my opinion, best shown in this book than any other that I’ve read so far. Kristen Ashley has a phenomenal imagination…She is a masterful storyteller. Execution is perhaps a little muddled for some tastes and I can understand that. But for me, reading a KA book is like talking to my best girlfriend. I just get her…it’s comfortable and casual…it flows easily. EDIT TO ADD: For those of you that have read this already, here's a little reminder of one of the most emotional scenes I've read. I think she deserves a double rainbow in paradise, don't you?And the accompanying song, just for a little extra punch to the gut: again, I’m playing my “I LOVE KRISTEN ASHLEY” broken record. I don’t mind at all…this chick is amazing. And this book was fantastic!