The Scythian Trials

Romance - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
372 Pages
Reviewed on 05/20/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite

The Scythian Trials by Elizabeth Isaacs is a fast-paced, action-packed fantasy sci-fi story with a romantic flair. The story begins with Anya (Nya) Thalestris tracking a wounded puma with her friend, doctor, and teacher Jax Nickius. Nya is the last descendant of the first Amazon Queen Oretta, people that are now called the Scythians. Time is fast approaching for their trials in choosing their mates. Nya is not thrilled with the idea. When she was young she had a friend in Ireland named Penn that her parents disapproved of right from the beginning, so they continued their friendship in a hidden fort. When they were finally found out, her parents took her far away back to their home. Once the trials begin, males are vying for Nya's hand by competing against each other to see who will be her equal. She learns of an unexpected suitor and runs away, only to be kidnapped.

Isaacs does an impeccable job of creating an ancient culture that predates the bronze age that is for the most part still thriving, although not as secret as in a modern day world. Isaacs's epic story is loaded with very real heroes, rivals, and sinister villains from both sides. In between the martial arts and combat scenes, there are moments of intimacy and genuine friendships among rivals. At the center of it all is the most sought-after mate; headstrong and rebellious Nya. I was really impressed with the author's writing style, her knowledge of technology, weapons, and martial arts. This story captures the reader from the get-go, and from then on the pages fly by. Especially when Nya is missing, and her royal bloodline is in jeopardy. I was entertained on all levels with Elizabeth Isaacs's magnificently crafted The Scythian Trials. Brava!

Ayrial King

The Scythians, descendants of the Amazons, live and thrive as a prominent yet hidden aspect of society in Elizabeth Isaacs’ novel The Scythian Trials. The pinnacle of future generations rests on the shoulders of young Anya Thalestris – last of the original Scythian bloodline, formidable warrior, and slated to win top honors in the time-honored mating ritual called the Trials. Every warrior awaits their chance to win the Trials – all except Anya, who goes ballistic at the thought of another male touching her after her abduction four years ago. With help and guidance from Dr. Jax Nickius, Anya pushes through her anxiety to win and be courted by five eligible men, including Dr. Nickius. As the Trials commence, her memories from her abduction resurface piece by piece, showing her who she can trust and who she cannot.

Strength through Equality. Power through Knowledge. This is the creed the Scythians live by in The Scythian Trials. Elizabeth Isaacs weaves a story as beautiful and deadly as the Scythians themselves – a young Scythian who is mentally damaged because of her abduction by The Society’s enemy, the Drahzden Empire, but is able to piece herself together through grit and reluctantly accepting help from an appointed psychiatrist. Her abduction and subsequent recovery unearth how an innocent person can pay the consequences of someone else’s devout loyalty. I could not put this book down; Anya’s story unfolded in front of me as if I were there by her side, seeing everything with and for her, sharing her pain and triumph. As the story progressed, I stayed on the edge of my seat, turning page after page to read what happened next.

I like that only the politics relevant to Anya’s situation were woven in, even though it was hidden for most of the story. Knowing how The Society functions as a whole, outside of giving context to how Anya’s situation is the exception and not the rule, would take away from the story’s natural flow. The end of the story was delightful as it was heartbreaking for all involved, and I can only hope everything works out for them as they (hopefully) move on.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

Anya Thelastris, Nya to her friends, is an Amazonian warrior who stands out among the secret Scythian society for being the last of the line of Ares and Otrera. All eyes are on her as she reaches the end of her training and approaches the Trials, a traditional Scythian mating ritual in which she will find a warrior to be her life partner. Finding her equal is the last thing Nya wants to do, burdened as she is with the symptoms of a childhood trauma she doesn’t remember that gives her screaming nightmares and an unwillingness to be touched by anyone. Her years of therapy with Jax, her instructor, are starting to yield results but Nya still wants nothing more than to run away from it all.

The Scythian culture Elizabeth Isaacs has created in The Scythian Trials is convincing and there are several rituals surrounding the Trials that I found interesting. Paranormal romance fans who like their male characters dominant will be in heaven over the Scythian warriors in this novel. It’s important to mention that certain situations and implications of gender-based violence in this novel may be triggering to readers. Jax and Nya have great chemistry and, as sizzling as their fleeting physical encounters are, their emotional connection is even better. Protective, attractive, and sensitive, Jax is a swoon-worthy potential book boyfriend while Anya’s fire, competency, and courage make her a great heroine. The Scythian Trials is a fun paranormal romance read with a fast-moving, clever plot.