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3 out of 4 stars
Review by jamesabr
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Embellished is the first novel of the Orian trilogy, written by Karen Glista. It begins by introducing Travis, Bekka, and Travis’s friends in Galveston, Texas. Travis is a few days away from attending college, while Bekka, suffering from Marfans syndrome, rests in critical condition. Upon playing a fantasy game with Travis and his friends, she enjoys living through her character until the hurricane storm zaps the whole group out of the modern world and into Orian, the world of their game.
As far as the romance is concerned, this book is very well pieced together. The love triangle between Vallas, Bekka, and Randar becomes gritty, with both male’s tactics hitting hard without them having to directly contact each other until the middle of the story. Some background characters even develop alongside the main characters, which kept the first plot interesting.
The world of Orian is very well created, with interesting races of people and species of animals being utilized for the plot’s progression. The manner in which each kingdom conducts itself is reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The rituals are well orchestrated throughout to separate the royalty from the commoners and slaves, resulting in a fascinating array of cultures.
The end of the book surprised me, but I welcomed it. I didn’t expect the worse from this book, and Glista wrote it masterfully to avoid cliché routes that could’ve thrown off the entire story. The last fifty pages of the novel managed to be a quick read more so than the rest of the book because I knew all of the characters involved by that point. It also provided more depth to characters that I admittedly thought were going to be less than three dimensional.
I gladly rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars. I would’ve given it a rating of 4 if there weren’t so many comma splices and grammatical errors. It is very much a romance novel, but the sexual moments are grounded in the question of the existence of true love rather than explicit romps between two characters. Because of this, as well as the setting of Orian, I recommend Embellished for Fantasy and Romance novel enthusiasts over the age of sixteen. I look forward to Glista’s second novel of the series.
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