Feb 26, 12
Recommended to Estara by:
having been so happy with the Touchstone Trilogy I finally got around to starting this.
people who like competent, take-charge, caring female heroines who save the country
Read from February 24 to 25, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1
** spoiler alert **
Actually this book was 3.5 stars for me, probably because I read it so soon after The Touchstone Trilogy.
The two bits that were problematic for me were the, to my mind, huge amounts of necessary magic system info - the whole plot centers on the attempt of later descendants of a very powerful mage who has been casting a spell inside the magic dimension Eferum up till now to stop her from succeeding with the final end of the spell - and the role of Faille, the most capable Kellian captain.
The author really mostly manages to make it interesting, we have a young girl, Kendall, taken under the wing of the main heroine - who has a gift for magic herself and gets taken along to a school for magicians (not at all like Hogwarts, this isn't a adventures at magic boarding school thing) where the younger brother of the heroine Rennyn, Sebastian, tries to explain magic to her - everyone else doesn't have time because there's basically a magic war going on and the preliminary skirmishes are getting stronger and stronger in preparation for the final part of the spell.
Kendall is a pragmatic survivor of one of the earliest magic battles, first and foremost, so she's sceptic, rude and has to be convinced to give magic a chance - and as I said, it mostly works but sometimes it's too much in one go for me. Kendall and Rennyn are the two point-of-view characters.
These explanations of magic theory and the action parts with the heroine and her eventual helpers, the Kellian (probably another reason why the book seemed a bit like Touchstone - these came across as the magical country's Setari - in their powers and their closed-offness from outsiders), take up most of the book.
I really like the gift the author has of making even a very quiet group of beings originally created as Golems in service of Solace, the mage queen who is trying to return to her throne as something as powerful as a god by now, who were orphaned when she went into the Eferum and had to find a place in their world - and found out that they could interbreed with humans (there are about 60 now from the original ten, and it was a few hundred years ago - 9 of the original ten still live) become individuals when they relate to Rennyn.
Rennyn is sort of the lone gunslinger coming into town, highly competent, utterly competent you could say, used to working alone (except for her brother) - not sure whether the step to unveil herself to the current queen and her mages and helpers and Kellian guards might not damage/destroy the work she and her whole family since the time of the original casting have tried to accomplish.
The way Rennyn only lets go slowly of certain pertinent bits of information, in an attempt to make sure that all the probably necessary parts of the counterspell are working, makes her very isolated. Having been raised for this work, former family members having died for it, it is surprising to her and a lovely interlude when she draws closer to the Kellian (even before she has to show them an aspect of their relationship which would normally have them hate her) and finds an intense but heart-felt love with the most closed off and capable, Captain Faille (again, he reminded me of Kaoren Ruuel).
What Rennyn IS, what Cass wasn't, is totally in charge of her fate, for good and for possibly worst. She is the one, even though supported somewhat by her brother (he can't afford to be there at the finish, because he is the last one to stand in Solace's way), wheels and deels and adapts to a new unforeseen threat so far that Solace does get her comeuppance, even as that secondary threat gets away - we should hear about it in the second book, I believe, and about the fall-out of certain revelations made in this one.
Intense, capable, formidable and with a caring heart - I really liked Rennyn . And I loved the idea of the Kellian and their description as stained-glass monsters (as quite some of the Eferum monsters come across, when they cross to the human world).