Title: Colina de Lavanda
Series: Warmest Wishes: Advent Calendar 2018
Author: August Li
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 50 Pages
Category: Historical, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Colina de Lavanda was a bit muddled for me, and seemed to need a lot more page time to unravel the love story that suddenly blossomed in the final few pages.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Lord protector of whores, thieves, sorcerers, and deviants.
Owning a parcel of land the railroad needs to cross means Edward gets to run the border town around the station as he sees fit. What starts as a place to indulge his varied appetites becomes a haven to society’s castoffs, and if Edward encourages legends about its founder to flourish, well, he’s not so much a liar as a man who wants to protect all the cultures living in peace. Being mayor means folks might ignore his vices, but they also expect him to fix what goes wrong.
When a crushing heat wave and drought threaten not only the town’s diverse holiday celebrations but its very existence, Edward must turn to the one man he’d rather french kiss a timber rattler than face—the icily elegant Cantonese mage Edward walked out on but never stopped loving.
Review: I’m pretty conflicted by this short story. On the one hand, I really enjoy this author’s work and find that it is, more often than not, intricately crafted with really fascinating characters and paranormal creatures. I failed to see much of that artistry present in this holiday offering. Also, beyond adding that Edward’s pride and overreaching need for selfish gratification are the major components of his downfall, I fear giving you much more backstory than the blurb itself will ruin the story, such as it is. So let me say that I thought this story had great potential but needed a bit more page time to make it really impactful.
Suffice it to say that I felt this was not August Li’s best work. While the creature element in this book was interesting, as was the idea that addiction takes down even the most powerful of us all, I was hard-pressed to believe the love element that would ultimately be the saving of Edward. In fact, that turned out to be a minor side story compared to the main thrust of this novella which dealt with the appearance of a strange medicine man whose elixir proved to be bad for the general health of a person rather than good. Couple that with the drought threatening to make the town Edward had founded and nurtured a ghost town, and you have a couple of major problems that had to be taken care of asap.
Apparently, the one person in town who could help also happened to be the man who spurned Edward due to his being unable to be monogamous. Since the man in question, Shu, was hinted at as being so very important to Edward from the very first few pages, I was scratching my head at the lack of backstory on their former relationship. Instead, Edward seemed to make one stupid mistake after another, and I couldn’t quite understand why Shu just didn’t let him bear the consequences.
All in all, Colina de Lavanda was a bit muddled for me, and seemed to need a lot more page time to unravel the love story that suddenly blossomed in the final few pages.
You can buy Colina de Lavanda here:
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