A 5-Star YA Fantasy! LIONESS OF KELL by @Graylorne

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Lioness of Kell

Written by Paul E. Horsman

Genre(s): YA Fantasy

Secure in his position as the Prince-warlock’s son, seventeen-year-old Basil is content with his solitary life of study and magic. He has a comfortable set of rooms in his father’s tower, he has his books and scrolls, and he is perfectly happy. Until the Warlockry Council summons him, and their demands sets his whole, safe existence tottering. Scared and unsure, he decides to run, and takes the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, the handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.

Maud of the M'Brannoe, at eighteen already a mighty warrioress, is about to graduate as a Lioness, a special duty officer answering to the Kell Queen and no one else. The Prince-warlock asks her to fetch a certain boy from a pirate town, who could be double for his son. On their way back, someone sabotages their airship and the two find themselves marooned in an ill-reputed forest. Together, the young lioness and Jurgis the lookalike battle their way to the coast and a ship home, while finding solace in each other’s arms.

Then the four young people meet, and Basil learns of a spell that might help him. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Arrangh Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. When the four young people decide to go looking for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change the world. Or kill them.

A spirited fantasy story of high adventure and romantic love in a world where both magic and early modern technology flourish.
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Sharon's Review

This is an exciting tale that has a mish-mash of elements that you wouldn't think would work together, but they actually do. There are flying carpets along with gnomes and fire breathing lizards that aren't dragons, although there are those, too. There is a sailing ship with a steam engine, and a gas filled dirigible. It's not quite Steam Punk, but not your usual Fantasy story, either. The plotline is essentially a love story, but even that is unexpected as well, because there is a gay male couple as well as a heterosexual boy/girl couple. Both couples are faced with the same physical and magical challenges and dangers, and they both deal with it all in a strong and brave manner. The girl is just as valuable in the relationship as the boy, and the sailor in the other relationship is just as valuable as the prince. Homosexuality and heterosexuality is treated in a sensitive and caring way, without being mushy or deliberately erotic. I think that would have been a mistake in this type of novel, which seems to me to be geared more toward teens and young adults.

I was taken with the storyline within the first chapter. In my experience, strong female characters tend not to be very likable, simply because they're perceived to be bossy, or masculine, or bitchy. That is true of Maud, the Lioness of  Kell, but only on the surface, and only until she finds a partner worthy of her love and trust. After that she is still strong, still a warrior, but with a softer side. I really like the way the romances of both couples play out. I also like the unrepentant adventure of it all. I would recommend this book to anyone who isn't bigoted against gays, or strong women. For those who are bigoted, then they're missing a really great story because they can't get past their own  ideal of  what acceptable love is. I give this novel a solid five.

Book provided by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

About Paul E. Horsman
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch-Belgian border.

He has been a soldier, a salesman, a scoutmaster and from 1995 till his school closed in 2012 a teacher of Dutch as a Second Language and Integration to refugees from all over the globe.

He is a full-time writer of light fantasy adventures for Y.A. and older. His books are both published in the Netherlands, and internationally.

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