Elizabeth Vaughan is the author of one of my favorite fantasy trilogies – The Warlands Chronicles : Warprize, Warsworn and Warlord. I’ve been waitingElizabeth Vaughan is the author of one of my favorite fantasy trilogies – The Warlands Chronicles : Warprize, Warsworn and Warlord. I’ve been waiting for her new book eagerly!
She is a mercenary trained in the way of war and the blade – nothing more. A woman known only as Red Gloves has come to the land of the Palins in search of work. What she finds, however, is the torched fields and razed farms of a land defiled.
If you see her without the gloves, run… This is all Josiah knows about the mysterious woman – until he catches a glimpse of the dagger-star birthmark, a sign that she is destined to free his people from a ruthless usurper’s reign of terror.
But she is more dangerous when following her heart… Red doesn’t believe in gods. Nevertheless, she finds herself drawn into the rebellion – not by the prophecy of the chance to win the throne, but by the pain of and untold loss in Josiah’s eyes…
Cynical, practical, strong, sharp-minded but not without femininity, Red is not an easy-going person. Some might think her insensitive or sometimes too aggressive but how could she be a fighter and a leader thinking differently? She is a warrior above all. When I read a book about a warrior woman, I confess that I’m always kind of skeptic. It seems they are always very delicate ladies who once grabbed a sword or learned how to use it from a father or a brother and suddenly they are defending lands, family and honor. Others seemed to be highly trained but somehow, when the battle comes up, nothing is really shown. This always gave me the impression that some authors might be afraid of creating a heroine who would be, in their opinion, too masculine.
Josiah is a lonely and scarred men. After losing everything, he lives alone in his lands with his goats and doesn’t need much more… He is a very sweet hero with his patience and peacefulness but also his strength. Someone might think he would fade next Red, but they manage to built a perfect balance.
What strikes me the most in this book are the inverted roles. Normally, the hero goes to the war and the heroine stays at home waiting. Nothing of that here, Red leads an army and Josiah waits for her.
I enjoyed following Red, her friends and allies in their mission to regain the Palins throne and finally defeat the Regent. The end of the battle was wrapped up a little too fast and I wanted to see more, to know what happened and how. We do get some information about the Regent, but through rumors and after battle talk. Maybe I was waiting for a grand finale but Vaughn had other ideas.
The secret of the red gloves was somehow unsettling… I was expecting something terrifying and while the reasons behind this are still strong, I didn’t believe at all that excessive behavior each time someone mentioned the gloves.
The secondary characters are very appealing - Ezre, Bethral, Evie, young Gloriana and even Helen and Wolfe. I’m very curious about them and I truly hope to see more of them in Vaughan’s future books.
Those who read The Chronicles of the Warlands will certainly be a bit disappointed. We are in the same world (different kingdoms and different times) but it all seems different, the magic, the elves, the undead… We had nothing of this in the previous books and strangely, it was what appealed mostly to me.
Dagger-star is a good read, something that will certainly please fantasy readers who like strong heroines and fast-paced adventures with a little of romance thrown in.
Two new books are coming up: Red Gloves (Gloriana?) this year and White Robes (Evie?) in 2009.