A wonderful love story involving three powerful witches and a muggle who does not want to fall in love with anyone. Some of my favorite passages involA wonderful love story involving three powerful witches and a muggle who does not want to fall in love with anyone. Some of my favorite passages involved the witches coming to learn to work well with outsiders, while muggles learn how to contribute in a magical war.
I feel this would work fairly well as a stand-alone, even though it is the second book in the trilogy.
Though I checked this out of the public library, I'm going to search out a secondhand copy for my keeper shelf....more
Let me begin by saying this is one of the best works of fiction across which I have ever come. I have read thousands and critically examined hundreds,Let me begin by saying this is one of the best works of fiction across which I have ever come. I have read thousands and critically examined hundreds, yet I stand by this statement. Anyone who avoids this book because it is a "romance" or for any other reason is missing out.
One does not need to have read the series in order, to appreciate this story. It is a bit shy on world-building, so I'd recommend having read at least one of the earlier books before taking on this one. The need for that is the only flaw I see in this work.
The very nature and definition of evil is here addressed and examined in depth. As an older adult (nice euphemism, huh?) I have watched the growth of my adult children's friends, people we have known since kindergarten. Most have grown up to become solid citizens, but even those who did not were well-behaved, warm-hearted sweet kids at age 5. How did such a child become a 'detriment to society'? How could such a child become a monster? What would it take to intentionally create such a monster? Could one succeed?
(view spoiler)[As we know from earlier books in the series, Councilor Enrique was a serial killer. What we learn in this book is that he tried to create a protege. Who was it? What kept him from becoming evil himself? (hide spoiler)]
The tale begins immediately after the rescue of the heroine. The horrific conditions of her captivity have affected her belief in her own sanity. Part of the excellent writing is the ability of the author to show us her fractured thinking processes without interrupting the flow of the action.
Our heroine initially suspects the motives of her rescuer, therefore so do we as readers. The author is wise enough to not give us many insights into his motivations early in the book. His actions are left to speak for him. It makes for a very interesting story.
A lot of the book has to do with the heroine's returning memories, her PTSD, her returning strengths, and her ability to progress from a protected victim to a shining star who is active in helping strangers. Her contributions to the hero's character growth are a beautiful thing to witness. I like that the relationship between the two of them begins in secret, progresses at first after her rescue in isolation, later is enriched by interaction with her family, then grows to a public partnership by the end. She, and their relationship, are like frostbitten buds, first thawing, then gently unfurling, then bursting into full and glorious flower.
The war with Pure Psy is the backdrop to the story. It is a useful literary tool to show the changing public face of the interactions among the Psy, the Changelings, the Forgotten, and the full humans. (If you know not of what I speak, I highly recommend reading the entire series through from the beginning.)
The changes in the hero's self-esteem are a wonderful part of the story. In the beginning of Chapter 43, there is a great line: "...he crouched down to grip the other man's hand so he did not have to go into death as alone as he'd been in life. ... It was the only peace he could offer." Again and again, by action rather than through introspection or dialogue, the author shows us character growth.
(view spoiler)[The man who believes himself to be a soulless killer demonstrates that he can feel empathy, though he earlier had denied his ability to do so. (hide spoiler)]
The hero at the beginning of the book did not believe himself capable of any feeling stronger than loyalty. By the middle of the book, he was shown as being saddened (though unaware of it) by his inability to feel the love he believes is deserved by the heroine. By the end he had become able not only to declare his love to her, but to tell others that he had feelings in a world where they had been outlawed.
A great part of the story was the immense physicial, paranormal, political, and financial power held by the hero. Once he decided that the world needed to end the nefarious Silence Protocol, he was able to publicly dictate its end, and was strong enough to minimize the ensuing disruption. We are left with a feeling of optimism and hope not only for the protagonists, but for their entire world.
The feelings I have after reading this are a bit disturbing to me. I now feel more empathy towards those who, as a result of abuse by others, lash out in evil ways. Is it possible that under the scars is a being capable of love and good? Shall I have to revise my thinking on the nature of punishment and the impossibility of rehabilitation? Would it change how I vote? Great books such as this have a way of initiating the examination of our own beliefs and actions.
Some of the questions in my mind after reading this book might ignite a book club or philosophy class. Supposing Hitler or Stalin had a woman in his life capable of being his conscience? What if such power could be used for good? What do you think would be the result of living under a benign dictator? Would you think those millions raised under the Silence Protocol can change? How does such a dictatorship progress safely to democracy, or should it? The Silence Protocol began with democracy, so what would be the best form of government?
All in all, I regret waiting to buy this book....more
This is the only time I've spent $8.44 on a book and though I'd already read two of the four novellas, I thought I'd gotten my money's worth. Not muchThis is the only time I've spent $8.44 on a book and though I'd already read two of the four novellas, I thought I'd gotten my money's worth. Not much world-building, so not really for those who are not already into the series....more