Title: Shades of Green
Author: Rhonda Parrish
Publisher: Sam’s Dot Publishing available at The Genre Mall
Z’thandra, the last swamp elf in Aphanasia, lives with the Reptar, a fierce race of lizard-people, most of whom resent her presence and want her gone from their village. When she discovers a human in the swamp and falls in love with him she must face the most difficult decision of her life. Will she pursue a life of happiness with the man she loves and in doing so condemn the Reptar to extinction, or will she chose to sacrifice her future to offer them hope? In the end the choice she makes will affect the Reptar for generations.
I believe the cover does a good job matching up with the synopsis. It shows Z’thandra with the man she loves and a Reptar in the background. I’m not sure if the Reptar is angry or fierce-looking but I would think twice before purposely crossing paths with one.
Z’thandra has no choice though. Her adoptive parents are Reptars so she sees them every day. They do give her a little more attention than their birth daughter but Z’thandra does them kind favors in return. She doesn’t take them or their love for granted.
The Reptars were once a technologically advanced race. Z’thandra’slife would be a little bit better if they would fix the indoor plumbing. She bears all her hardship with more grace than the Reptars who barely tolerate her presence. The wounds caused by racial wars have not healed.
By the time Z’thandra meets Dorian, the human, and falls in love with him, it’s easy to see Z’thandra’s future with the Reptars is a bleak one. Without her adoptive parents’ protection Z’thandra may not even have a future with the Reptars. The reader really wants her to be selfish and run off with him. It doesn’t matter that she would be running from something instead of to something even though such romances usually don’t end well.
The ending is a bit of a surprise but it’s what sets the story apart from similar tales. It ties things up neatly in a way that isn’t obvious on a first reading. If you want to lose yourself in the story of the last Swamp Elf for an hour or two this is the novelette to pick up.
Come back tomorrow for my interview with Rhonda Parrish to learn more about Rhonda and Shades of Green.