by Alvania Scarborough
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Suspense
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
They hold dangerous secrets… only trust holds the key. The healer. Cheyna’s empathic, healing talent makes her the perfect person to return to her birth world and recover an ancient artifact for her adoptive people. It was meant to be a simple mission, only everything goes wrong when a dangerously imposing, battle-scarred warrior kidnaps her. The merchant master. Bastard-born Drakthe Fachion has an opportunity to found his own house and erase the stigma of his birth. All he has to do is reopen the Agora trade route. Unfortunately, he must enter a trade marriage with a healer to gain access. If that means kidnapping a complicated, stubborn woman and forcing her into an agreement, so be it. The Agora Stronghold. A strange place where nothing is as it seems. As they make the treacherous journey, wariness is no match for the passion that slips past their defenses. But an unseen presence stalks them. Drakthe and Cheyna have no idea a psychic trap has been laid or that a deadly, generations-old secret that threatens two worlds is about to be unleashed.
This is the second book I have read by Alvania Scarborough and I love her writing style. Merchant Master is the first book in the Lost Colony series and once again, I found myself drawn into the world, the banter filled romance and suspenseful plot. This paranormal suspense with its fantasy vibe reminded me of Jayne Anne Krentz’s Arcane Society novels and her Harmony series writing as Jayne Castle. I adore discovering new authors whose work pushes limits and heightens my experience.
Five Caffeinated Reasons to snuggle up and devour the Merchant Master
- The world: Alvania Scarborough creates a fascinating world with healers, psi energy, merchant traders, unusual wildlife and harsh environments. There are houses ruling this world as well as the social class. Which brings about arranged marriages, power plays, politics and more. Did you notice I said world? Yep this takes place on another world wrapping this paranormal romance in fantasy. We travel brutal deserts, visit villages and go deep into the unwelcoming jungle. It was brilliant.
- The characters: Cheyna is a healer, raised by her adoptive parents off planet. She is given a mission and tasked to return to her birth world to recover an ancient artifact. I love quests and the whole Indian Jones vibe. Cheyna is spunky and resourceful. Things end up a disaster on her first day but she quickly recovers and begins a journey to meet the man arranged to wed her in a trade-marriage (a temporary marriage to helps both houses). In route, she is kidnapped and then the fun begins. Drakthe Fachion our kidnapper is bastard born and determined. He is well known as a merchant master for more than just his trading skills. He desperately wants his own house and if he can reopen, the Agora trade route he will be granted one. To do so he needs a healer as a trade-wife and Cheyna will do. Ooo, this man has no idea what he is getting into! Cheyna is not some meek woman and the negations, banter and hilarious conversations between them have sparks flying. I love these types of arrangement tropes. We all know how the best-laid plans never really go as planned.
- The plot: Danger and a perilous journey begin as these two partner up. As they do they learn about the other and face down danger from the treacherous terrain and others. I loved watching their relationship develop, seeing them being to trust and discovering what they seek may not be exactly what they need. They find themselves unwittingly at the center of an old-secret and dispute for untapped power. Scarborough unraveled all of this for the reader in such a way that I was hooked. The story was tight and believable. I was able to slip completely into this world. We get a solid, satisfying ending to this first story and I am looking forward to going back.
- Genre blending: The paranormal elements were cool from Cheyna’s empathic, healing talent to rare stones that hold energy. Drakthe has an unusual talent but I will let you discover those secrets for yourself. The fantasy elements from the creative landscapes to other planets unfurled beautifully and the author gave us a panoramic view. If you like Jayne Anne Krentz’s Arcane Society novels and Harmony series you will thoroughly enjoy the elements in this novel. Scarborough weaves in twists, turns and revelations about these paranormal elements and characters.
- The romance was delicious and I connected to both characters. Darkthe could be extremely focused on his quest and goals and Cheyna while equally focused on hers gave him balance. She brings humor, makes him think beyond his beliefs and the two create this wicked chemistry that made me giddy. The author brings some heat but this falls safely in the mid to mild-heat range. Her emphases are more on their emotions and their growing attraction. The way she weaves in playful humor was delicious and had me giggling aloud.
If you haven’t already guessed I loved Merchant Master. I love this genre-bending world and cannot wait for more Lost Colony books.
*Disclosure: I am working as a virtual assistant for this author, but it in no way influenced my review. If you are interested in reviewing Merchant Master, please see my Bloggers Wanted located in the menu bar to fill out form or shoot me an email.
OOOHHH!! This one sounds right up my alley! I might have to check it and this author out.
I could have stopped at Indiana Jones because the comparison excited me. 🙂 I’ve not heard of this author before but I really like the sound of this book with all it’s ‘genre-bending’ elements. Thanks for putting it on my radar!
Thanks Brandee..I loved the vibe of this one
The Cosy Dragon
I haven’t heard of it before, but nice it sounds good. Great review. look forward to more of your reviews 🙂
Thanks, it is fun discovering new authors
I can’t begin to tell you how good this sounds! Although I am not usually that fond of jungle settings. I don’t read Krentz’s books, but you say this is similar to her style? I think I will download a sample and see(I do that a lot)Thanks for a great review 🙂
The jungle isn’t so bad..and only one part of the quest is there..
This sounds like a fun read to immerse yourself into. You kind of had me at Indiana Jones vibe!
I love when there is a quest and great peril.
Ohh eye candy – the cover looks easy on the eye 🙂 This does sound like a lovely romance, glad you could enjoy it overall.
Thanks Benish I lost myself in it and had fun
I love the idea of this book and from the cover I would have never thought this book would be how you described. Great Review! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂
A lot of folks are saying that Michelle. I am glad I got you to take a closer look
The cover didn’t catch my eye but I love the Indiana Jones vibe you mentioned and that definitely has me curious! I think this might be one I’d enjoy!
Thanks Candace I am glad I could give you a look at the inside
I haven’t heard of this author or this series before but it definitely sounds intriguing. I like the supernatural/fantasy mix and the blurb at least almost has a historical feel to it. I’ll have to look for Scarborough’s books.
I do too Katherine and have been enjoying her books
You had me at ‘recover the artifact’, but the rest of your review points are a win too.
:snort: I love those quest type reads too Sophia!
Sounds like an intriguing read! That’s cool it blends so many genres and it takes place on a world all its own!!
I loved that aspect, and found the world fascinating.
This sounds really cool! I hadn’t heard of it before, so thanks for putting it on my radar. I love genre bending stories – they’re hard to pull of and it sounds like this one does it nicely.
Agreed and I love them, so it was fun discovering an author who does it so well
Sounds like a unique story, I definitely wouldn’t have noticed the cover, but your review makes it sound like it’s worth a read!
Glad I could help you discover it
Oh sci.fi, that explains it
hmm I would say more fantasy/paranormal.
Braine Talk Supe
I like the genre blending however I might struggle with the world building part. Sounds great though
The world was fairly fleshed out, and we travel a very diverse landscape.
This is a new series to me. Sounds interesting. I always love the blending of genres as well so I am sure I would like this. Thanks for the recommendation.
Thanks Heidi, i do too. Between the banter, world and fantasy elements I was smiling
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
I’ve long been a fan of Jayne Krentz so that comparison is the best recommendation you could make to me:)
Oh me too and I hope you love it
Alas I’m put off any books that feature bare chested men on the cover so alas I’ll be giving this one a miss. Glad to hear you enjoyed it though, I know my sister-in-law is a big fan of this author.
Oh no, I could cover him with a tunic. hehe. It is a shame because this isn’t smutty and has such an amazing storyline.
This author is new to me, Kimba, and she sounds awesome, so thanks for this review. I like that she created a new world, which comes with its own mythology. The fact that you connected with both characters is another reason to add this to my list. Another brilliant review 🙂
Thanks Ramona it is fun discovering new authors.
When you compare it to Jayne, I have to read this one! Thanks for the review Kimba!
My pleasure and you know how much I adore Krentz
Just when I think I’ve read all the best of the best, here comes something to knock my socks off. I can’t wait to visit their world. 🙂
Anna from Elements of Writing
Enjoy Anna, this was a joy to read
I’m sold Kim. The first thing I thought was Jayne Ann Krentz and I LOVE her so thank you!!
Right, I read her first book and she blended genres and in this one I finally realized why I loved her writing so much.
Haven’t heard about this book before. I’m on a reading slump right now, so I need inspiration and this book seems like a great read. I may give it a try. Thanks for this lovely review!
Thanks Rosa..I hope the reading slump passes.
I really like the sound of the setting in this book, Kim and I’m fascinated by books that blend genres. That can either turn out to be epic, or it can become a failure. And it seems like with this book, it was the former. I love that the characters partner up too and the romance does sound delicious! You make a strong case for the book, so I’ll look it up! 🙂
It blended seamlessly Nick and the romance was such fun
Okay if you loved this so much (and the world building sounds fantastic!) then I know I must add it to my pile. It sound wonderful and I love that the author pushes the boundaries on things!
Great review Kim!
I love that about her writing Ali.
This is not a novel I would have noticed at the bookstore, but the storyline, the differnt things going on and interesting characters sound pretty good. Your review is definitely on point! Hugs…
Thanks Ro, I love when I stumble upon these type of books since it offers such a different read.
A good plot, combining different genres and good writing ? On my list ! 😉
Sweet, enjoy I really liked the world and quest..plus the banter between them
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I really like Jayne Krentz, Castle, whatever, so if this is anything like her Arcane Society or Harmony books, I’m SO in. It’s exactly the light entertainment I need right now.
Yeah I was excited as well. I love this genre blending.
It’s the first time I hear about this book but everything seems so well done from the plot, trhough the world, to the characters! That’s so great! Lovely review!
Thanks Melliane I love when it all comes together like this