Majai’s Fury, by Valerie Comer (GreenWords Media, 2014)
In a culture where the water goddess Majai requires every woman’s firstborn as a sacrifice, Taifa has used forbidden herbs to prevent conception. If she’s discovered—or if she’s labelled barren—her own life could be forfeit. Taifa’s one chance to survive comes in the form of a stranger from another land.
The foreigner Shanh brings a message of doom to Taifa’s people—unless they will renounce Majai and follow the true god, Azhvah. Azhvah’s power proves stronger than Majai’s and stronger than the king’s soldiers assigned to kill Shanh. But Azhvah stops intervening when Shanh encounters Taifa.
Could this god mean for them to meet? More troubling still for Shanh, is it possible that Azhvah could really have spoken to Taifa and to her grandmother? Despite the prophetic writings that reject the idea, and without these women undergoing the painful repentance ritual? Especially after Shanh himself has sinned and lost the closeness with his god?
Taifa is out of choices and flees with Shanh, despite their many differences. Majai’s Fury is a novel filled with the danger of pursuit, the clash of religions, values and beliefs, and the forbidden attraction between Taifa and Shanh.
Rich descriptions bring this world to life and draw the reader into the scenes. I found it especially interesting that Taifa’s people, ruled by the water goddess, use water to measure time. The water clock marks time in cylinders, and the citizens use expressions like “a trickle more time” and “mere drops of time.”
Author Valerie Comer is known for her Farm Fresh Romance series, which has a lighter, sweeter tone, but she delivers this intense fantasy novel with equal skill. Her farm lit fans need to know that Majai’s Fury includes more sexual tension (Taifa’s people thrive on promiscuity), but this is still a clean read. We know what’s happening “off-stage” without “seeing” all the details.
[Review copy from my personal library.]