End of Times

End of Times - Windstar and Zee In a time of magic, mages, spells and witches, Jennie, an under-performing apprentice to an old Magi, witnesses one disaster after another. But not of the natural kind. Her floating home falls back to earth, killing her Magi master. A magnificent marble bridge held up by magic crumbles to dust. The countryside is in an uproar. Jennie, who has never ventured beyond the edges of her remote village, will have to journey to the faraway City, where the College of Magi is located, to request for a replacement master who can hopefully solve the mystery of the failing magic. Ella, the head of the village guard, accompanies Jennie as her self-appointed bodyguard.

Along the way they witness more ominous signs, pick up more companions--who may be friends or foes, and discover more about themselves and the dark, shadowy world of Darkmen.

I think I have not read a more versatile pair of lesfic authors than [a:Windstar and Zee|7204698|Windstar and Zee|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/f_50x66-9e23bac89f169d02e43709e42b361705.png]. Their stories run the gamut from paranormal to sci-fi to fantasy and speculative fiction. All laced with lots of lesbian loving. Every plot is unique, imaginative, compelling and immensely enjoyable. The same can also be said of the fantastic worlds they create--worlds that I often find myself lost in for days on end. (Yep, most of their stories are multi-book length). Yet none of that matters without the rich, complex characters that populate their worlds--characters that you can root for and fall in love with despite or because of their flaws. These characters and their relationships form the cornerstone of Windstar & Zee's writing. I've noticed a pattern to their choice of characters to focus on: sinners, outcasts, renegades, failures, the runt of the litter. They like mixing opposites: assassins and victims, traitors and clueless innocents, dark and light and every shade in between. But there is one thing their characters have in common--they are always true to themselves.

Their plotting is tight, complicated, twisty but always, always just short of being contrived. It is a delicate balance, and the authors seem to have perfected the art of skirting close to the line but never going over. Their bad guys are experts at throwing monkey wrenches into the most carefully-hatched plans of their heroines. There are always these little or big complications, often making things so bleak for our heroines that it would take nothing short of a miracle to get them out of their particular bind. Last minute saves and heroics are de-rigueur in their plots, but there are no deus ex machinas. Logic is never sacrificed for convenience. They also don't go for the easy endings. The simple HEAs. They always make our heroines work for it.

Okay. Enough fan-girling. End of Times is a fantasy adventure. I won't delve too much into the plot as it's better to wade into it not knowing what to expect. The esoteric magicky stuff occasionally just flew over my head (not a big fan of fantasy, unfortunately), but once the adventure got going, I settled right in. That's one thing I notice about the author's writing. They never get too carried away with the descriptions and the genre-specific stuff, something that high fantasy fans will probably miss. But for me, there's just enough detail to set up the world believably, but not too much that it gets in the way of the story or bores the reader to quit. In other words, they understand their lesfic audience completely (well, me at least :). They know we love the stories, but we also gotta have our lady loving too. With lots of drama and just the right amount of angst. And sex. Never forget that. ;) There are some minor aspects that are a bit lacking--such as descriptions of attire--which don't go beyond generic mentions of shirts and pants. Some of the character names sound too 20th century (ex. Jennie, Paige). The dialog is informal, and some modern-day terms and concepts slip in once in a while. But remember these are unedited works, with minimal proof-reading.

4.4 stars

P.S. For me, this isn't even their best work. That would be [b:Gray Line|18281524|Gray Line|Windstar and Zee|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1402733658s/18281524.jpg|25754453] followed by the [b:Blood and Honor Series|18460314|Blood and Honor Series|Windstar and Zee|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1421525750s/18460314.jpg|26113300]. Rangers (soon to be posted online) is also excellent.

Note: I'm not sure about the page count but this story is 74,000 words long.