The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James
Series: Alliance of the Amazons #1
Source: Review copy from publisher
The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.
An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.
When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers–but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?
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Rebecca Massee is in a bad place at the start of THE RELUCTANT AMAZON. She’s just been jilted at the altar and then a random Scottish man shows up, whisking her into a van and off to start her mysterious new life as one of four Amazon warriors. And she just goes. It blew my mind. She just gets in a van with a random man and his gruff female friend, Sparks, an older Amazon with the power of Fire. But she doesn’t know what the Amazons do or why she’s trotting off with these two strangers, getting in a van wearing her wedding dress. In this moment, I was a little concerned that Rebecca was going to be unlikeable for me but she recovers quite nicely (and has a moment where she questions getting into the van, thank goodness!) and I did truly enjoy her story.
Over the course of the novel, Rebecca has to transform herself from a meek kindergarten teacher into a fierce Amazon. The odds are stacked against her in many ways but she’s persistent and determined to do her best. It’s a stance we don’t see as frequently as the “heroine who instantly takes to her new life with skill and ease” trope seems to get used a lot more, which may be one of the reasons I found Rebecca refreshing. I would imagine being thrown into a world where you suddenly have superpowers and gifts and are fighting zombie0like creatures with varying levels of intelligence would be a jarring change for most people, and a learning curve is to be expected.
This brings me to another point: the world building in THE RELUCTANT AMAZON is great! I think it’s a creative spin on historical/mythological peoples and I love what Sandy James has put together. In every generation, there are four Amazons, one for each of the four goddesses who helped put this merry band together. Rebecca is this generation’s Earth, for example, and there are also Water, Fire, and Air Amazons. One Amazon from the previous generation is their Guardian (Sparks) and there’s also a trainer who helps get them into fighting form (Artair). The Amazons are only called when there’s grave danger afoot and they’ve had roles in major events like World Wars. (I love when authors tie actual historical events into their storylines/back story.)
In terms of plot, I really enjoyed the non-romantic elements. The story is solid if somewhat predictable at points, and the last third of the book is really intense, as Rebecca and the other Amazons search for answers to one of the central mysteries in the novel. (It’s not mentioned in the blurb above so I thought I’d be cryptic so you can be surprised by where the story goes.) The showdown is epic in many ways and I loved the pace and stakes involved. I was less fond of the romantic plot, though, because Rebecca throws herself into her attraction/relationship with Artair without really thinking about her previous relationship. We never see her get over the last guy, except for the fact that she’s drawn to Artair.
Overall, however, THE RELUCTANT AMAZON is a cute story. It has likeable characters, is set in a fantastic world, and sets up a series that looks to be quite enjoyable. It may not be my favourite paranormal romance of the year but I’m definitely interested in seeing where Sandy James takes her characters next.
This book was one of the many titles on my NetGalley Knockout list.
Thanks, as always, to Christen of Goldilox and the Three Weres for hosting this challenge.