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Sandstorm - Megan Derr Sahayl is known as the Sandstorm, son of the bloodthirsty shiek of the Ghost tribe of the Great Desert. The tribes have always fought amongst themselves, but now it looks as though there is an outside threat. The tribes must join together or perish, and Sahayl must reshape the Sands in the way that only a Sandstorm can.

Reading Sandstorm after The King's Harem was certainly an interesting experience. I already kind of knew how the book would turn out, after all. Oops. ^^; For anyone wondering, this is definitely the book to read first, though the stories of The King's Harem kind of weave in and around this one.

I wanted to give Sandstorm five stars, because I loved the story, but there was one big issue I had that makes me unable to do so in good conscience. For the beginning few chapters, it's quite confusing as it jumps around points of view and not much is explained. It can take a little while to work out who is who, who's doing what and what is going on. That's really the only problem I had with the story, though, and once you are past the opening chapters it makes a lot more sense.

As in my review of The King's Harem, I have nothing but praise for the culture and world building in the Tavamara novels. I find the cultures of both Tavamara and the Great Desert believable, intriguing and captivating. I enjoyed reading about the different marks of the tribes, and the tribal politics - as well as the politics outside of the Sands.

I love the characters, also. Sahayl in particular is a well-rounded, interesting character who grows throughout the novel. I think Megan Derr has a thing for bratty men and bickering, though. *coughShihabandIsraandBeynumandAikcough* Occasionally I found the bickering scenes a little trying (a minor niggle), but more often than not they were amusing (and must have been a hell of a lot of fun to write!) Sadly, Isra did not live up to my first impression of him, which was the impression of a cool (in many senses of the word), calm warrior... but you know, perhaps the chemistry between him and Sahayle would not have worked as well that way!

As in The King's Harem, there is no explicit sex in the novel itself. Intimate moments are implied, and faded to black. I found this sensual implied sex much more erotic and, well, intimate than graphic sex would have been.

I actually wish the book had been longer and the plot slowed down more, especially towards the end. I wish it had taken longer for Sahayl to amass the members of his harem (or at least, for them to become members) and that there had been more romance with both them, and his wife. You know, actually, if all the romances had been as detailed and lovingly crafted as the Isra/Sahayl one, it would have been WONDERFUL. I guess I like my seduction slower, instead of like insta-chemistry.

I do love the harem aspect of the two Megan Derr books I've read, and wish there were more books like this out there. I find the inter-connecting relationships and character development fascinating. And the cultural implications of such a thing. Probably why I enjoy other poly novels which are not harems, too. But harems are really quite fascinating, due to the added ownership layer. I'll stop rambling now. XD (But seriously - anyone know any more books that focus on harems?)

I enjoyed the epilogue, too, though was taken aback at first at how many years had passed. (At first, I thought it had been a month or so!) It was a nice little insight as to how long diplomacy and forming peace actually takes, and I liked that the political problems were not all wrapped up neatly in a tidy little package.

Overall, I really loved this book - and wish there were more Tavamara books out there. :c Despite some problems, Megan Derr manages to weave an exciting tale of the desert, harems and political intrigue. :)