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REVIEW: Belega – Dianne Hartsock

Belega - Dianne Hartsock

Title: Belega

Series: The Karthagans Book 1

Author: Dianne Hartsock

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Pages: 340

Reviewer: Sharonica

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About The Book

The Karthagans have regained their ancient powers of manipulating nature, but at the price of madness. In their lust for control they’ve destroyed their island and most of their race. They come now to Belega where one of them, Camron, seeks domination over the known world.

The Mage has come from the northern continent of Sennia to bring peace, but finding his strength no match for the coming struggle, he passes his abilities on to Natan, who only desires a simple life. Now only Natan has the ability to stop Camron, but the personal cost is more than he imagines. It is only with the combined strength of his friends, his Karthagan lover, Kavi, and his deep desire to bring peace to the earth, that he finds the courage to overcome Camron and restore balance to the world.

The power of the mind is immense. In this world, mankind has learned to gather the energies of creation to use at their whim. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The Review

War! A word that brings to mind so many thoughts and emotions for just about anyone with the ability to comprehend the word. From page one of this story, you know you are in the middle of a war that has been going on for far too long. Not only are the characters cynical and battle-worn, but the land holds on to the spirits of her dead the way a parent clutches the hand of their small child as they attempt to flee their parent’s side to join their peers on the playground.

Sometimes it is hard to tell which side is the side of right, as evil seems to be done on all sides, in my opinion. The kidnapping of heirs, infiltration into different camps, spies, magic users who were pushed from the land years ago are still used (in small capacities) but more as weapons than anything.

The two MCs, Natan, and Kavi have a strained and strange relationship that I found hard to wrap my head around. At times it felt like they wanted to have feelings for each other, but the chemistry just was not there. Whether it was the author’s intention because of the constant oppressive and “high alert” vibe or if the two men just didn’t work for me, I must confess I am not 100% certain. It wasn’t until the last 80% of the book they seem to finally act like they truly loved and cared for one another.

I will say, as individual characters go, I adored Natan. I always love seeing growth in characters, and my favorite fantasy is a hero’s journey. That is precisely what this was. From beginning to end the pace is steady and forward. For those who enjoy character-driven high fantasy, you will love this.

4.00 miraculous-mage-stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Reviewer

These are always so hard so I will keep it simple: My four adult sons (28-21) call me Ma and Dragon Lady. Their ringtone ranges from the Imperial Death March to Stewie’s “Ma Mom Mommy.” Because of my disability, I am a hermit and stay inside and mostly  in very dim light, hence the nickname Dragon Lady. I read for therapy and am slowly getting back into my art, thanks to friends I have made in authordom and fandom.  If I had  one wish, it would be to see Ru Paul and Donald Trump in an MMA ring and the winner after answering questions on censorship of books in our libraries, LGBTQIA advocacy, national healthcare, and our troops and vets, being the next POTUS. 😁  

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