Fifteen years ago, the crown prince of Tasora was kidnapped and made the hostage of Tasora’s long-time enemy. The king never stopped looking for his son, Liseny, but as he has done so, Tasora has fallen into ruin. On the brink of collapse, there is not much that might save them aside from the return of the prince. Devoted knight, Tanash, is determined to bring Liseny home. Without the king’s knowledge, he sneaks into enemy territory and spirits Liseny to safety.
But such great damage is not so easily mended and as Liseny struggles to adjust to his new-found freedoms and to become the leader his people need, Tanash is forced to confront his growing feelings for Liseny.
Against a Wounded Landscape had the essence of an erotic fairy tale, replete with a knight in shining armor and a captured prince. But the plot falls apart rather quickly and readers never get much sense of who Liseny and Tanash actually are.
The book starts off strong and the action during the first third of the book does a lot to advance both character development and to further the rest of the plot. Liseny and Tanash are portrayed as capable men, neither of them crippled by the weights of their traumas or responsibilities, which makes them relatable almost from the start. Additionally, there is an almost lyrical quality to the writing that I found very enjoyable. It doesn’t happen on every page, but it’s enough to catch the eye and be pleasing.
Unfortunately, Tanash and Liseny never develop much beyond their initial characterizations. Their motivations are often unclear or feel flimsily constructed once we reach the last two thirds of Against a Wounded Landscape. The passion between Tanash and Liseny is certainly intense, but it never fully moves past lust and as a result it’s hard to ultimately summon much interest as they fight for one another. The plot starts to slide towards unwieldy during the middle of the book and completely crumbles at the end. The resolution is rushed and leans towards the absurd. The antagonist is evil for the sake of evil and is never given any further development or purpose, which, as you may have noticed in previous reviews, is a real gripe of mine. When characters are nothing more than placeholders, the entire book suffers.
Against a Wounded Landscape started out strong and was written in such an easy, flowing style that I was quite excited to see where the story went. But the characters failed to fully materialize and the plot foundered badly as it moved forward. For some Against a Wounded Landscape might be an enjoyable piece of erotic, fantasy escapism, but it just didn’t hold up for me.