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About Hollen the Soulless by Denali Day

He’ll mark her flesh. She’ll claim his heart.

Always the dutiful daughter, Lady Joselyn is weeks away from marrying a rival lord in order to save her house. However, she suddenly finds herself in the clutches of an ancient beast she’s only ever heard of in legends. More terrifying than that is the beast’s master, a wild man who insists Joselyn is his bride by right, and plans to seal his claim in blood.

Wyvern-rider, Hollen, has finally captured the woman of his dreams, though he quickly learns waiting for her was less than half the battle. His new bride wants nothing to do with him and Hollen knows he only has one chance to change her mind.

Their wills pitted against each other, Joselyn will go to any lengths to free herself from this savage and fulfill her marital contract. Her father’s life depends upon it. To win her over, Hollen will do whatever he must, even if it means keeping secrets.

Even as she plots her escape, Joselyn begins to wonder if one can also be bound by a duty to their own heart.

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Review of Hollen the Soulless

Denali Day is a new-to-me author that I am very happy to have discovered.  Believe it or not, I was a little tenuous in requesting the ARC.  It turns out Denali Day can write up a storm!  In this expertly written story, I found a world of amazing characters struggling to live a life of honor.  The struggle comes because one person’s honor is another person’s torment.

Joselyn is such a strong woman.  She grew up believing she is meant to serve her family and her people despite the fact that her family never did much for her.  Hollen is also strong, as a leader of his people, the Dokiri. But he is gentle with Joselyn.

The thing is, Hollen did abduct Joselyn.  I refer to this type of a story as a ‘Mars Needs Women’ story.  That is, Hollen’s people only birth male children, so they need females from outside the tribe.  And how do they get those women?  They abduct them.  Their rituals coincide with that of their gods, which is not to make it seem okay but to explain their methods.  I can’t say I am crazy about this aspect of their culture.  With the exception of that whole abduction thing, the Dokiri tend to treat the women very well.  My wish is for the author to find another way to introduce these men to good women.  I will say that the terms of the abduction turn out to be more favorable for the women and I will leave it at that.

Hollen the Soulless is billed as fantasy romance.  While most fantasy involves some kind of magic, sorcery or witchcraft, this book has none of that.  It does include mythical creatures such as the wyverns that Hollen and his brothers ride.  It also includes strong cultures and exotic locations that are not of this world.  The romance element is the biggest part of this book.  The fact that it takes most of the 497 pages for Joselyn and Hollen to finally see eye-to-eye only makes me love this book more.  And while there are lots of intimations of sex between loving and consenting adults, there is no explicit sex.

Hollen the Soulless is a very well told story.  I plan to continue with this series.  I see that Hollen’s lonely brothers will all need to find love too!

Many thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book via Booksprout in exchange for my honest review.

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