Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
A man finds himself in the Void of Time and Space after a heart attack ends life as he knows it on Earth. He is visited by three beings – the Observer, the Explorer, and the Messenger. These three beings explain to him that, since he will spend the rest of his existence in the Void, he has the option to collect anything he would like to make his time in the Void more enjoyable. The man, now known as the Collector, finds he’s easily bored in the Void and asks the three for interactive love stories. “Good love stories are as rare as flawless high carat gemstones.” The Observer, the Explorer, and the Messenger set out to find a collection of love stories that meet all of the Collector’s requirements.
Zachary Williams grew up with abusive adoptive parents after his after his parents were killed in a car accident. At fifteen, Zachary ran away from the only home he had left carrying only a small backpack with essentials, identification, and a garnet ring given to him by his parents. Four years later Zachary finds himself completely alone, homeless, and broke. He thinks his only option is to sell the garnet ring. It’s all he has left from his parents but he’s convinced it is the only way that he will be able to survive. Zachary is drawn to a small jewelry store in town where he finds a ring in the window exactly like his. For some strange reason he feels drawn to the ring and returns to the storefront window to study the ring day after day. Zachary also notices the man inside the store each day and feels a strange attraction to him, but he’s made it a rule not to trust anyone. So each day he runs from the store without going inside. Finally, he allows the man to approach and decides to finally discuss selling his ring.
Prince Zohar Zyngold has spent most of his life knowing that he will eventually have to find a bondmate to spend his life with as he rules the kingdom of Zelaria. Zelaria is a planet much like Earth, only in a parallel dimension. On his twenty-fifth birthday, Zohar was given a garnet ring by his parents. Traditionally, the garnet ring was used to lead it’s owner to his or her bondmate, but the paranormal powers connected to the ring died out decades ago in the Dark War. At his birthday ceremony Zohar was supposed to choose a bondmate. When he puts the ring on during the ceremony, the garnet ring begins to show signs that may indicate the return of paranormal powers to the Zelarians. With help from the Patriarch and the Oracle, Zohar finds out that his true-bondmate is on a planet called Earth in a parallel dimension. After a month of searching on Earth, Zohar notices a younger man outside his jewelry store window that he is drawn to.
When Zohar discovers that Zachary has a garnet ring matching his own, Zohar is determined to find out if Zachary is his true-bondmate. Confusion and fear of trusting Zohar lead Zachary to run away only to be attacked by three strange men. After Zohar rescues Zachary, their rings confirm that they are true-bondmates. Before Zohar can explain the reaction of the garnet rings and what exactly it means to be a bondmate, the men who attacked Zachary the night before show up again. And even though it’s hard enough for Zachary to believe in parallel worlds, he trust Zohar enough to take him to Zelaria only to figure out that all their problems might not have been left behind on Earth.
Serena Yates’ Garnets of Destiny is the first of what seems to be at least twelve stories in a series called the Gemstone Chronicles. The world that the author has created is spectacular. First, the description of the Void of Space and Time as well as the physical embodiment of the Void was very creative. Second, Zelaria is a planet that relies on advanced technology as opposed to the paranormal psychic powers that ruled the planets decades before. The Oracle in the story is actually a computer that makes predictions based on the information entered into the database. Not only has the author created such a beautiful and detailed world, she created a very detailed and extensive history including a war that eradicated all paranormal psychic powers. The basis of the story is that the Collector will spend his existence in the Void and will need a collection of anything he wants to keep him from getting bored. He feels that love stories are the perfect way to keep his interest for all eternity. The Observer, the Explorer, and the Messenger are the beings who will travel throughout times and dimensions to find actual characters for the stories, even if they have to help characters find their happy ending. Those stories will then be added to the collection.
In this story, Zachary has lived a hard life. His parent’s died when he was young. He was adopted soon after by two people that found their own pleasure in physically and emotionally abusing him. Zachary then spends four years in a place he doesn’t particularly like but stays because he doesn’t thing his adoptive parents will look for him there. He’s made it a habit not to trust people so that they won’t hurt him. He is damaged and imperfect. Yet, he has an inner strength that comes from those imperfections. That’s what I love about his character. Zohar grew up loved and supported in every way. He has a stable relationship with his family. He’s always felt safe and secure in his daily life. He is mentally strong enough to wait patiently for Zachary. Because of his past, Zohar is able to be Zachary’s safety and security. Zohar also supports Zachary in building confidence and self-confidence. They make for a well-matched team. I should also tell readers that if you’re looking for a story with a lot of sex, this is probably not the story for you. The main characters spend their time getting to know each other. The storyline is written in a way that there wasn’t really any time for the characters to actually be intimate without taking away from the plot. I felt it was very well thought out and didn’t mind the lack of physical intimacy between the two.
The supporting characters are also well written. There are too many to mention in detail but I’m hoping that we may some of them in future tales of the Gemstone Chronicles series.
There were a couple timeline issues that I noticed, however. At one point, the king spoke of the garnet ring bringing him and the queen together. Then, when Zohar and Zachary are discussing how they both came to have the rings, Zohar tells that his parents were given the ring when he was born. And the next issue occurs when Zohar and Zachary return to Zelaria. The king states that he had been studying a book that showed up mysteriously hours before and stated that it must have been when Zachary and Zohar appeared from Earth. Only, when Zohar and Zachary arrived in Zelaria it was only a few moments before the guard retrieved them form Zohar’s room to take them to the king’s offices.
My only other quibble was with the conflict. The major conflict within the story was built up to a point when I expected it to be a major event. The solution to the conflict was very well planned and detailed, but the actual events of the solution were anticlimactic. I expected more action and detail after all of the planning. The plot and antagonist were also a little predictable, although I did find the story interesting and had a hard time putting the book down.
In the epilogue, the Collector has a few questions regarding the story, a few of the same questions I had at the end. With the questions addressed it leaves room for an additional story for these characters. The author even hints that there may be an addition to Zachary and Zohar’s story sometime in the future, as well as several new stories involving new characters and other gemstones.
Even with the few issues within the story, I would recommend this book to anyone who can look at the stars and believe there is something more out there. It’s a sweet love story including a happily ever after within a creative and imaginative world.
Cover: Another beautiful work by Reese Dante. Showing Zohar’s back and the red glow, supposedly of the garnet rings, it brings out the other-world feeling of the book.