Review: Alaskan Fury (Guardians of the First Realm #2) by Sara King
Bonded together by a tangle of curses, wishes, and three thousand years of constant, grudging companionship, Kaashifah and ‘Aqrab are suddenly on the run from their sanctuary with the Alaskan phoenix, fighting to survive a trek through the wilderness as they flee from pursuers not only technicalogically capable of hunting them, but inspired by their divine belief that what they do is right. If the Fury and her Djinni can’t work together and learn to trust each other, they’ll lose not only their immortality, but a fated love and mating bond blessed by the God of War himself. Alaskan Fury is a GraveTells Recommended Read!
- Title: Alaskan Fury
- Series: Guardians of the First Realm book #2
- Author: Sara King
- Prominent Characters: Kaashifah & ‘Aqrab
- Recommended Reader Age: 16+
- Genre(s): urban fantasy, paranormal romance
- Sexual Content Level: light-to-moderate
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
As compelling and complex as it’s predecessor, Alaskan Fury starts off with a rush and immediately pulls us into the story, heart and soul. ‘Aqrab, for all his threatening size and bluster, is a man thoroughly pledged to his woman, like it or not, and his agonizing decisions and misunderstandings with Kaashifah pluck at the heart strings. She is a Fury, a handmaiden of the sword sworn to Ares’ service, and she cannot kill. For three centuries she has fought a game of politics and power with her Djinni, hoping to find a way out of the curses that tangle their lifethreads.
After a vigorous start, this story takes some time to develop. While it’s always well-crafted and entertaining, I found myself looking forward to the next big development rather than absorbing the storyline I was reading. Luckily, Ms. King’s writing is sophisticated enough that the antagonist you initially hate slowly becomes someone you hope has a change of heart, and the character development is thorough.
The Djinni and the Fury both have a rich sense of humor, although not always apparent, and both bear lifelong grudges toward the other. The duality of their feelings for each other are what kept me up reading, far past bedtime. Despite his strange and difficult-to-pronounce name, I really fell in love with ‘Aqrab. His jovial personality and playful nature was a joy to read, and Kaashifah is a complex, compelling heroine with way more going on than you see at first glance. As the story progresses, Ms. King unravels more and more of Kaashifah’s past, and this diminutive woman has truly suffered. The great thing about this series is that while the sex can be steamy and the characters practically burn for each other, it’s not inappropriate or self-indulgent, nor does Ms. King shy away from giving a few smexy details. The scenes have meaning and impact… exactly what I enjoy in good urban fantasy. This couple is just as fulfilling to read about as Jack and Blaze from Alaskan Fire.
There is an incredible amount of historical information about angels and other mythical beings in Alaskan Fury. So much so, and so convincingly presented, that Ms. King either has an extraordinarily vivid and prolific imagination or has done her homework well. Considering the amount of detail about the Alaskan bush she effortlessly weaves in as well, I’m inclined to believe this is as close factual as urban fantasy can get, and it’s quite impressive. She didn’t just write a story, she researched it to back it up, then wove it all together so seamlessly, it’s believable that creatures like angels, demons, and the zealots who hunt them actually exist.
You don’t have to read Alaskan Fire first, but I highly recommend it. Not only is it a great story on its own, it contains a wealth of helpful backstory and lore; otherwise, you might find yourself spending more time trying to sort through who is who and what means what than actually enjoying this expertly crafted, and fairly epic, tale.
Following in the footsteps of the first book in this series, Alaskan Fury is very long. As a reader who isn’t typically a fan of urban fantasy, the length of these books (this one moreso than the first) made me impatient. With Alaskan Fire, the pacing was just right and the higher word count was a good fit. With Fury, however, I feel some of the fighting scenes could have been combined into a sleeker plot arc. As I read about the two women doing battle, I kept thinking “OMG just die already”, and when the bad guy got away yet again I had to close the book and take a break from my otherwise non-stop reading. That said, the story is rich in lore and adventure, the battles well-choreographed, and the characters intriguing. The ending is worth the build-up, and the way is well-paved for the next book in the series.
In for… what?
‘Aqrab frowned at her. “They can see me in the half-realm? You’re sure? What besides a dragon can see a djinni in the half-realm?”
“They must,” Kaashifah managed, still dizzy from the billions of different paths that had tried to take her attention from their destination. Sprawled on her hands and knees, she panted at the ground for long minutes, fighting vertigo. Beside her, ‘Aqrab was looking nervous.
“Are you saying they have a dragon working with them, mon Dhi’b?”
“It’s not a dragon,” she said, closing her eyes against nausea. “It’s infrared. They are catching you on infrared.”
“What is in for red?” ‘Aqrab demanded.
So, he REALLY doesn’t like being cold…
“Calm down,” Kaashifah said, stepping backwards before the increased temperature of the djinni’s aura burned her. “The tree is not to blame.”
“I’d light the damn thing afire if it wouldn’t bring the Inquisition down upon us,” he snarled, glaring up at the tree. The spruce, for its part, continued to reign regally above him, its near-black needles utterly impassive in the light of early dawn. “I hate snow. I wish it a thousand deaths by a thousand dicks, all of it.” He was panting as he scowled up at the sky, the snow around his feet melted into a bare patch of soggy moss and grasses. “If I never saw this white khara again, it would be too soon.”
I’m not sure who would be worse to piss off, a Fury or a Djinni…
She groaned at the idea of the djinni taunting her with food from the half-realm. “Fine,” she grunted. “Fine, you wre—” She caught herself before she could insult him. “Fine. The stomach. May your revered ancestors eat great piles of chocolate as it rains down from beneath a camel’s tail.”
He grinned in obvious pleasure. “You’re learning to twist your words, mon Dhi’b.” He almost sounded… proud.
If you liked Alaskan Fury…
If you haven’t yet read Alaskan Fire, definitely start with that one. Blaze and Jack’s story is memorable and one-of-a-kind. Ms. King’s writing is gutsy and confident and takes her readers places many authors shy away from. If you’re looking for full immersion in a story and are a fan of urban fantasy, you can’t go wrong with Alaskan Fire. Read our review here!
If you liked Alaskan Fury and are looking for more chicks-who-kick-butt action, Elisabeth Naughton’s Enraptured is an intense journey of love and fate between one of Athena’s Sirens and the star-crossed soulmate she’s been sent to judge and execute. Enraptured is the fourth book in the Eternal Guardians series but can be read as a stand-alone without too much catch-up work. Read our review here!
Ms. King weaves a fascinating tale of love, politics, betrayal, and survival, steeped in the turmoil of historical religious upheaval and persecution, and rich with detailed lore and exploration of fallen societies and gods. Alaskan Fury, like it’s predecessor Alaskan Fire, is more than a book, more than a bedtime story or a quick jaunt through a lovers’ tryst. It is thrilling, brutally honest, unexpected. It is a celebration of life and all the challenges that can come with perseverance, belief, and dedication. Alaskan Fury is sophisticated and compelling, and a GraveTells Recommended Read!
Rating: Alaskan Fury