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Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.

Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can't usurp her brother or negotiate a peace--but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.

But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara's conscience won't let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.

She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes...

The Warprize

336 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published June 13, 2005

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About the author

Elizabeth Vaughan

35 books793 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Elizabeth A. Vaughan is the author of the Chronicles of the Warlands, a fantasy romance trilogy from Tor Books: Warprize (her first novel), Warsworn, and Warlord..

She's always loved fantasy and science fiction, and has been a fantasy role-player since 1981. By day, Beth's secret identity is that of a lawyer, practicing in the area of bankruptcy and financial matters, a role she has maintained since 1985.

Beth is owned by three cats, and lives in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along Mad Anthony's Trail on the banks of the Maumee River.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,121 reviews
Profile Image for new_user.
238 reviews189 followers
March 19, 2009
Warprize disappointed me. I had my first clue a few pages in when I realized the prose I could expect would be basic at best, for a romantic fantasy.

While I liked the premise of Warprize and Vaughan's grasp of relationships and human dynamics, the plot was mild, with little conflict to speak of and thus, little suspense or action or even upset. It's all very ho-hum.

I liked the hero Keir -he was to all appearances strong and charming and everything nice, an admittedly refreshing change from the normal gamut of romance heroes- but we only know him superficially, through the heroine's eyes. For those who don't like first person narratives, Warprize embodies all that form's weaknesses. Readers are treated to a painstaking list of the heroine's every mundanity in a flood of monotony:
"I...went into the bathing area to remove the dress carefully. I tried to fold it, but the material slipped and slid, the dress ending up on the floor every time. Tired, frustrated and upset, I finally gave up and left it lay on one of the benches. A tunic and trous were set out for me, and I climbed into them for sleeping. After washing out my undergarments, I washed up quickly. My hair was windblown from the tower and the ride, so I gathered up a comb and returned to the other room to try to deal with the tangled mess."
Was her editor unavailable that day? I've heard my GoodReads friends describe first person narratives as journal writing. Warprize is journal writing if the writer were a drone. The heroine lists events, lifelessly recounts her reaction in brief (if that) and repeats indefinitely. There is next to no internal dialogue, so we never know the heroine. Since most of these events revolve around her work in the field as a healer, the account becomes excruciatingly repetitive and descends into unnecessary detail (as above). I can't count the number of times I read about Lara brewing fevers foe, but I'm sure a recipe would sum up the book nicely.

I can understand completely when readers question whether Warprize can be called a romance. Since the heroine, or more properly, the disinterested observer, has no feelings, there's no sexual tension or tension of any kind. Nine times out of ten, we see the hero from a distance. He's gone fishing most of the time. Else, we receive only a brief report of his dialogue with a woeful lack of body language, or any insight into Keir's character.

Warprize is certainly not like the passionate romances, explicit and non-explicit, to which I'm accustomed. It is more appropriately an account of a foreigner in an army camp or a remote ballad. I've seen romances with too much inner dialogue where the heroine stews and wrings her hand endlessly. This is the other end of the spectrum entirely. Two-thirds through the book I finally realized, nothing is happening. It's essentially about the heroine learning about her new people and caring for them. A travelogue, in short.

I would recommend this book for someone wanting a calm, mild, relaxed romance with no moral questions, darkness or turbulent emotion. Perhaps on a rainy day. Also, for those wondering, this is PG, maybe 13 for some "kissing" and a vague sex scene. I'm sure this is someone's cuppa. At least the ending was nice.

Just a note: there is no middle-eastern culture. Someone mentioned such a label on the book in another review. Just a clarification.
September 5, 2021

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WARPRIZE was a book that I put off reading for a while because I'd hyped it up in my mind so much that I was afraid it wouldn't meet my expectations. But I finally mustered up the courage to read it and much to my surprise and delight, it exceeded my expectations in all ways. This is a slow-burn romance with a light fantasy setting that makes up for the lack of magic with great world-building and a diverse and interesting cast of characters who are all worth getting to know. I had so much fun reading this fantasy romance.

The heroine is a healer. As fun as it can be to read about warrior or assassin heroines who take on their enemies by the sword, it's also sometimes nice to read about people whose strength lies in their intelligence and their kindness. The heroine, Lara, first attracts the attention of the hero because of her steadfast attention to healing the wounded of both camps, including the enemy's. Everyone loves her-- but there's ample reason for it here, which keeps her from coming across as a Mary Sue. Plus, we constantly see her at work and it's such a delightful part of the world-building.

The heroine is a compassionate warlord. Picture Khal Drogo, only without the cruel streak. That's Keir, the hero: warlord of a group of people who ride horses on the plains and have just come to an uneasy truce with Lara's people. I could say sooo many great things about Keir, not just that he's hot but also that he's noble and honorable and merciful and kind. Not a pushover by any means, but definitely a man who knows that blood is not always the answer, and that the best way to win the heart of a lady is to treat her with respect and patience. *heart eyes* I stan an honorable man!

The court intrigue. Even though the world-building is light, there's still enough tension to keep the pages turning. Lara's half-brother, Xymund, sells her into what he thinks is slavery when he gives her to Keir, and a lot of the book is her slowly coming to trust Keir and his people and realizing that so much of what she believed about them was wrong (and vice-versa). There's also political machinations and assassination attempts, threatening not just Lara's life but also that uneasy peace.

The romance. Look, it's slow-burn with some great relationship building with two likable characters who just want to find happiness while also not screwing over their respective people. If you've ever read Grace Draven's RADIANCE, you'll know what to expect: it's like a comedy of errors that makes light of the misunderstandings and cultural disconnects of two people from different worlds whose compassion and empathy end up uniting them over their differences.

Excellent secondary characters. Whether it was Anna, the temperamental cook; Atira, the female warrior who secretly loves fantasy epics; Simus, the brave and intimidating warrior with the outrageous sense of fashion; Joden, the bard (who reminded me a lot of Jaskier from The Witcher, only with better luck with the ladies), or Warren, Lara's noble guardsman, there were so many people in here who added spice to the story and some genuinely entertaining interactions.

Was it cheesy at times? Yes, but that's part of the fun of a fantasy romance, and honestly, this had more depth to it than some of those dudebro fantasy "classics," so even if you don't think you like romance, I'd still recommend it to fantasy readers who enjoy a good character-driven story.

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,758 followers
November 18, 2020
⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*I Do Like This One*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱

Second re-read: 18.11.2020
I adore the beginning of this series. It's a great way to start a book, and to introduce characters personalities. While the book is long and filled with information, it is quite enjoyable. Though I have to be honest and say that I did skim a lot, I still like the book overall. I do wish, however, that Keir showed more... power? He's a damned good leader, but I wanted him to show just how powerful he was, if you know what I mean?

Re-read: 02.04.2017
I have no idea why I even started rereading this book. Sure, it's a alright read, but it's not something I'd write home about. Keir, Warlord of the Plains and Xylara “Lara”, Daughter of Xy are cute, separately they are great, the second characters are awesome, the concept and the world is fascinating... however, it's long. And a bit slow.
“You tried. That was all you could do. All any of us can do....”

Also, there insta-love, though it is written so one doesn't feel that it is. And frankly, to be honest, I know, deep down, that I started rereading it because of the beginning. I really like the first.. 30% (+-) of the book. So I'm sure I had plans to stop after that, just to have something to do, but then I found myself reading the whole damn thing... damn, I need a life.
“Want to know the best part of being a warlord?” came a hoarse whisper.
I bit my lip, puzzled by the question.
Keir’s mouth curled up slowly into a smile. “I always get what I want.”

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (Adult) Historical Romance (M/F).
Series: - Series, Book One.
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - Warlord Keir.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Unsure.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Not really, .
Will I read this again in the future? - Already did, so who knows...
Rating - 3 stars

First read review:
Review posted: 26.04.2016 | edited: 10.05.2016

I... liked it. Even though it was very long dragged out. I got bored sometimes, but not much, and the characters were lovely. I liked Keir. Very much so. Hell, I liked Keir and Lara as a...couple of sorts, however, I'm not sure if I liked them enough to read even more book about them. Only the future can tell...
Profile Image for Lucie V..
982 reviews1,519 followers
January 13, 2023
✅ Characters
✅ Plot and pace
✅ Captive / Captor (kind of)
✅ Romance
✅ Funny moments
🆗 Predictable
🆗 World-building

I really liked this book, more than I expected. The writing is nice and easy to read, the characters are well developed, and the story is compelling enough to keep us hooked. I didn't want to put the book down.

Lara is a healer and the sister of the king, and Keir is the Warlord who conquered her kingdom. He asks for Lara to be given to him as a warprize and Lara's brother is all too happy to oblige since he's been jealous of her for many years now. He thinks he is giving her away to become Keir's slave, but the real purpose of a warprize is far from being horrible and humiliating as the king was hoping it would be. Of course, romance blooms, but the romance between Lara and Keir is slowly built and well developed.

Lara is clever and kind, she is a healer and is willing to do all that she can to help whoever needs her, regardless of if they are friends or enemies. I liked to read about her everyday work with the sick and wounded and I get why everyone loves her. Lara is also a strong-minded woman and she stands up for herself. She is full of passion and that created nice chemistry between Keir and her, once they got over all the misunderstandings between them.

Keir is very compassionate for a warlord, he is honorable and merciful, and he knows that violence and blood are not always the answer. He has been nothing but respectful and patient with Lara, so that's a big winner for me!

The plot is addictive, and the pace is just perfect. I liked how the world-building showed us two very different cultures and how Lara had to learn all about Keir's people in order to understand them, and because she would have to spend the rest of her life with them. This book is not just about Lara learning to live with Keir's people though, because even though the war is over, the danger is not all gone. Some would like nothing more than to see Lara and Keir dead, and they need to find out who is trying to kill them, on top of negotiating a peace treaty and trying to clear out all the misunderstandings between them.

The secondary characters are also great, they are funny and they bring very funny interactions to the story. Whether it's Simus, Ana, Joden, or Atira (or many others), I liked them all!

Honestly, there are no surprises in this book, it is cheesy at times, and it is what you expect when you read the summary, but it is also really worth it. It is an easy, fast, and very enjoyable read.

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Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
263 reviews764 followers
June 16, 2016
Did anyone else notice that (in the paperback version at least) the spelling of the Warlord's name switched randomly in the middle of the book? For the first couple chapters it was "Kier" and then for the rest of the book it was "Keir". *frowns at editors*

Wow. This book was great. I read it in little bits because I was busy with buddy reads, but I'm glad I didn't give up on it. The writing was lovely, aside from editing oversights *frowns again*, and the world-building... Damn. Too interesting.

Like many mass market romance paperbacks, the conflicts in Warprize were driven by misunderstandings and irrationally evil, jealous assholes. Usually both get on my nerves. However, the misunderstandings were not painfully drawn out and served the plot well; they allowed Lara and Keir to fall in love slowly and against all odds. In this case I could forgive the misunderstandings and overlook Xymund's random and unrealistic evilness.
The book was not very fast-paced, but it did introduce a new plot point nearly every chapter to keep me interested.

Besides, Lara and Keir are so perfect together! Lara embodies all my goals in life and Keir just kicks ass. Read the book and you'll see what I mean.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,700 reviews779 followers
May 20, 2021
Warpize is the first book in the series, and books 1-3 could actually be one big book, since there are no breaks between books, it just starts off from where the previous book left off. Now for quite some time I kept putting these books off, but I finally decided I needed to try it. Now after reading this book I bought books 2 and 3!!! You go into this book, expecting it to be a average historical themed bodice ripper style of book...well nope it wasn't. Now there are some bodice rippers I love, but I have to say that I LOVE LOVED LOVEDDD this book and what a world that this author has created for us. In Warprize the heroine, Lara, is a healer, and she is a princess, and her step brother is the king. They are at war, with the firelanders. She will aid anyone in need, it doesn't matter if they are friend or foe. So she has been visiting the prisoners to help them in their injuries, one night she heals a man that she learns is a high ranking officer to the firelanders, and she protects him, knowing her brother will have him killed. Then in the marketplace she meets a stranger, a man that makes her burn and she feels a connection she has never felt before. This man, is the warlord, who is demanding that she become his warprize. In Lara's mind, that means she will become his slave. Its either she submits to him or her people will be slaughtered. So she does the right thing, and becomes the Warprize. From the first few days, she starts to realize that this Warlord isn't the typical one, he isn't violent or abusive or raping her. He treats her with respect, and lets her heal others, and roam the camp. Lara still fears him, but when she learns what the "Warprize" really means for him and his culture, Lara will be swept away in a world of magic, desire, and love. The Warprize was such a fantastic read, and I would put it up with my favorites list by far. I am so glad I bought this book, because I plan on reading it again in the near future, I just couldn't get enough of this couple. This story had me in tears and laughing the next moment, Lara is a heroine I came to adore, and what strength she had, and she learns to fight for what she wants most. I was really impressed with this author, what a storyteller she is!! A world that she creates that any fan of C.L. Wilson, MUST READ THIS ONE!!! You will have no regrets!! A story of a tender love, enriching characters, and a plot that thickens with each page!! A STORY TO CAPTIVE YOU FROM THE FIRST PAGE!!
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews200 followers
September 28, 2016

Absolutely fantastic!!!!

“It is said that the attraction between warlord and warprize is as the heat of the sun that shines in the height of summer.”

I love fantasy, but b/c I’m such a romance addict I tend to read more romance than fantasy. It’s rare to find a fantasy book with a sufficient amount of romance, and this book was an absolute treasure ;-)

Lara is the daughter of a Warrior King, but for her there’s nothing more important than being a healer. Whether it’s friend or foe, anyone who needs medical help she is determined to assist. Her half-brother who is the King is currently at war with the Warlord Keir, and doesn’t like that she is treating the wounded captives.

But then Keir wants Lara as the warprize in order to seize the war between him and her kingdom. And because her brother has always hated her, he relished the idea of giving Lara as a slave to Keir. Lara is such a selfless person and so strong willed, that she would do anything to keep her kingdom safe, and so agrees to become the warprize.

I utterly enjoyed the plot and world-building of this story. Keir and his warriors are from the Plains and has a different culture and way of speaking. During the time that Lara cared for the wounded warriors she learned their language, but their customs are still very foreign to her, so there were a few of misunderstanding because of this. I loved the fact that being a warprize meant two very different things in the 2 cultures, and I must say I loved Keir’s way more. I also very much enjoyed the character building, and there were many of Keir’s warriors that I just adored.

The warriors had no one to treat the wounded back at their camp, and Lara stepped right up to do what she was born to do. I really loved Gils, the little boy, who decided to become her apprentice.

Of course the danger is not over now that a truce has been reached, and there are those who would love nothing more than killing Keir and Lara. And it’s up to Keir and his warriors to protect their precious warprize.

“Want to know the best part of being a warlord?' came a hoarse whisper.
I bit my lip, puzzled by the question.
Keir’s mouth curled up slowly into a smile. 'I always get what I want.”

Keir was fantastic. Fearsome and a true warrior, he was one very sexy Warlord. I wouldn’t mind being his warprize ;-) I loved that as soon as he found out that Lara’s people only got intimate after they were bonded, he respected this and went about seducing her and winning her trust.

I loved the romance in this book. The chemistry between Keir and Lara was intense, but it was slow building, and fit the story perfectly.

A really wonderful romantasy (fantasy + romance), and one I would highly recommend.

Profile Image for Samantha K.
141 reviews89 followers
March 16, 2017
I enjoyed this one but it lacked big-time in the sex department. Sex department? Yeah, I don't think the word sex should be used in conjunction with the book. No kidding there's almost nothing here and very little description of the sex that does (finally!) happen. I also thought there was very little heat between the H and the h. Oh - and the story isn't over. It ended abruptly with no epilogue.

So why 4 stars? I'm not sure - lol. I'm not a fan of this type of "clean" book but I read the entire thing! If an author can do that and I don't even like this style (I need the heat!) then she gets my vote!

Fans of Warlord/Barbarian style romance with a Golden Dynasty type of SETTING (not heat) would probably like this. Just realize it's more Romantic Epic Fantasy rather than Fantasy Romance.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books694 followers
April 20, 2015
I loved this book. If you enjoy fantasy romance –even a little– I would recommend it without hesitation.

This is a story about people. By that I mean, it’s not an epic fantasy. It’s not about complicated politics or really nuanced worldbuilding. It’s about Lara, a wonderfully drawn healer, and her journey of sacrifice, empathy, and evolution. It’s about her Warlord hero, her friends, and her new community –all created with depth and care; all rich with real personality and designed with an impact on her journey. And it’s about how she falls in love in a way that swept me off my feet and made me believe and cheer and swoon in equal measure.

If that doesn’t convince you to give it a try, I don’t know what will.

Let me tell you a little about the story. Lara is a healer of her people. She is also a royal princess, half sister to a jealous king who is at war. She takes her calling very seriously, even giving aid to her injured enemies. But when it’s time for peace, her life is turned upside down as she is given to the enroaching Warlord as his Warprize, a station her brother describes as a whore and a slave. She accepts her lot, however, putting her people first, hoping to assure their safety.

Lara is quickly immersed in the camp of her new Warlord and must adapt quickly. The romance between her and Keir is very slow in forming, both physically and emotionally, which is part of what makes it so good. Instead of mucking it all up with an insta-love, we see Lara learn her Warlord and his people. Not only do we get to know Keir, but Marcus, Joden, Simus, and so many others. They weave such a rich tapestry of the Plains people –and allow us to see Lara’s true character as she interacts with them all.

This book is all from the heroine’s POV, so we don’t get inside Keir’s head. But that was actually kind of pivotal to the way some of the reveals play out.

The entire book kept me interested, but when the romance finally came around, it really knocked it out of the park for me. There are some love scenes, which are a bit tamer than I am used to, but work in the context of the story. It all just worked for me. The romance as a whole really engaged me emotionally. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I actually cheered out loud at the ending. I couldn’t have been more satisfied. I loved it.

Rating: A
Profile Image for Gail Carriger.
Author 53 books14.8k followers
April 29, 2018
This is a culture conflict comfort read for me. I just love the juxtaposition of Keir's pastoral nomadic tribes and Xylara's settled quazi-medieval world. The romance is sweet and poignant but equally balanced against wonderful alt-history fantasy worldbuilding. Side characters are excellent two, and there's solid LBGTQ representation (especially as the series progresses).

I love that there are flaws in culture and knowledge in both cultures, as well as strengths. Xylara must balance the two. I also really enjoy a healer main character. This book never serves me wrong.
Profile Image for Mindy Lou's Book Review.
2,630 reviews604 followers
December 17, 2019
I found out about Warprize from a book group on Facebook. It was recommended in comparison to Golden Dynasty and Captive of the Horde. I loved both of those books so I had to try this. After reading it, it's defininetly a good comparison while still feeling like it's own book.

The heroine is a strong woman who doesn't frighten easily. She has royal blood but spends her time as a healer. I liked her. This is one of those rare moments where I can say that I have absolutely no complaints where the heroine is concerned. I think she handled every situation with spirit and grace.

The hero is the Warlord. He's a fierce fighter, leader and what you would consider an alpha male. The only thing that felt a bit out of character for him was that he was dominant in everything except the heroine. For being a warlord, you expect him to just take what he wants. He even says he does, but that never really held true when it came to the heroine.

Don't get me wrong, I still very much enjoyed this book and enjoyed Kier as the hero. I just wish he did a few things differently with the heroine and that would have pushed this into a favorite re-read for me.

This doesn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, however you do know there is more to the story. I didn't do my research and I thought this was a standalone book. That's ok for me because I am curious if Keir will be more to character with the heroine considering how this ended.
Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,681 reviews595 followers
September 23, 2015
A good book all around - not what I thought it would be but left me satisfied that I read it.

I thought this would have a "fantasy" aspect of it but instead we are given a story of a historical kingdom at war with a barbaric tribe.

There is a princess and a warlord....an angry brother/king and a group of barbarians who are more peaceful than the hooty-tooty society.
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,482 reviews3,489 followers
October 26, 2019
2.5 Stars

Overall Opinion: I'm super disappointed if I'm being completely honest. This started out and I was really into it, staying up way too late reading one more chapter, thinking "yes! another The Golden Dynasty type book"....but then it flopped. I don't have to have sex in books, but I do need a connection. I liked the tension leading up to Lara being with Kier and H's people, but then everying seemed to fizzle out. No connection to the characters and no connection between them. I felt as though the connections between Lara and some side characters were the exact same as with Kier. I didn't get any warm fuzzy feelings about how they felt about each other and when it was practically fade-to-black in the (should be) steamy scenes -- I was bummed. I won't even get started on that ending either...just to say, overall, I was disappointed 😔

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Lara and Kier's story. Lara is a master healer that takes care of the enemy soldiers even though her half-brother king doesn't fully agree with it. She is shocked to find that her half-brother has offered her up as a "warprize" to the enemy ruler in exchange for peace between the people, but Lara instantly agrees to help protect the people she loves. She has to learn to navigate her new reality and in the meantime falls for Kier. There are some suspenseful moments, some funny side characters, and some family drama....and they get a HFN ending.

Point Of View (POV): This focused mainly on Lara in 3rd person narrative.

Overall Pace of Story: Good up until the ending (see closure section below). I never skimmed though.

Instalove: Never expressed "ilys" but said each other had one another's hearts. Not much talk of love though...

H (Hero) rating: 3 stars. Kier. He was alright. I didn't feel like we truly got to know his character though.

h (heroine) rating: 3 stars. Lara. She was also alright. I appreciated her strong morals and wanting to help heal anyone, but it did get kind of annoying when she was constantly defending her half-brother.

Sadness level: Low, no tissues needed

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Low. They have some tension at the beginning -- but that's about it!

Descriptive sex: Not quite fade-to-black, but close.

OW (Other Woman)/OM (Other Man) drama: No

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: No

Separation: Yes

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This had an abrupt ending with not nearly enough closure! I would call it a HFN ending.

Safety: This one is probably Safe with exception for most safety gang readers depending on personal preferences.
Profile Image for TJ.
2,613 reviews149 followers
September 8, 2011
There are books we read for suspense, some we read for the beauty of the word, other's to pit our minds against the authors to solve a mystery. Then, there are some that encompass the very reason books exist... the story. That, that has existed since time began, one person imagining worlds and people and love and trials to rise above, then weaving them into a story to entertain and to teach, the kind people used to tell at bedtime to capture the attention then ponder while drifting off. "Warprize" is a consummate example. The beauty of the book is simply in the storytelling and Vaughan is it's most gifted sage.

Xylara is a princess who chose to become a healer rather than rule. Keir is a Warlord intent on conquest. He wants her for her abilities, she submits to him for her people. Thus the dance between the needs of many vs the desires of a few. Wonderful! Would have been a resounding 5 stars if not for the horrifically abrupt conclusion.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 28 books128k followers
September 19, 2009
Definitely one for the ladies. I enjoyed this book, it's very much a romance set in a fantasy world, if you like CL Wilson's trilogy you will like this. The main character can come off as a little unbelievable good at times, but I did feel the need to zip through in one night, so that's always a good sign :) I'll be reading the followups.
Profile Image for Minni Mouse.
595 reviews949 followers
December 30, 2018
I adore stories about falling in love after arranged marriages. This book had the sweet tenderness from Radiance (just with a stronger plot apart from the romance), an intelligent healer like Claire from Outlander, and similar action and story elements as The Golden Dynasty (but without the tastleless gore and explicit sex).

In short, Warprize was a darling and entertaining story about a brave young woman in the middle of two medieval feuding kingdoms. No prophecies, no magic, no fey folk, no bodice-rippers. Just like Goldilocks likes it: juuuusst right.

1) Xylara. She's not a warrior princess. She's not spunky or rebellious. She's not out-of-this-world beautiful. She's not a political statement and she doesn't have magical powers. Lara is just the daughter of the former king, half-sister to the current king, and an intelligently gifted healer. This means that much of why we like Lara is due to her level-headedness and her passion for healing others. After heroines with magic powers, preternatural assassin skills, or glowing vaginas, it's refreshing to meet a female main character who's noticed for her calm intelligence.

2) The set-up. We don't meet Keir until after 20% into the novel, which means for almost the first quarter of the book we are merely seeing her in her natural element. She defies Xymund's orders to leave the POWs alone not because she's making a political statement but rather because her duty to heal and care for others supersedes all of that other mumbo jumbo. We quickly see how her guards and even her enemy patients recognize and quickly respect that quality in her.

3) Xylara the Warprize and Keir the Warlord. What a sweet, sweet couple. There are just enough flirty, mildly sensual moments to remind us this is an arranged marriage initiated by Keir, after all, but the rest of their interactions were about bridging each others' cultures and personalities. By the time they get together, it was the perfect moment in context and the most innocently sweet "sex" scene I've read. How refreshing is it when sex is explored from an emotional point of view versus merely physical!

4) Supporting characters. Simus and Joden and Marcus were fantastic. More Simus, please!

1) Once again, I find myself searching for that elusive story that has both the right romantic elements and a killer action plot. This book started off fabulously with a tone that remined me of Kestrel and Arin from The Winner's Curse. When I read about Xylara in the beginning doing her own thing and ushering out the POWs to safety and ducking Keir I thought, "All right, all right, I like where this is going!"

Well, we didn't quite get there with the political and action intrigue like I wanted...but oh, well. Not that kind of story.

2) The ending. Oh, come on. Would it really kill these fantasy authors to end their story with an epic climax filled with sword fights and castle raids and last-stand speeches?

Would I recommend this? Absolutely! If you're a fan of arranged marriage stories like I am -- especially with plot elements like a medieval setting, culture shock, and sweet romances -- then you should definitely give this a try.

We get drama, medium character development, angsty feels, assassination attempts, and people we distrust. Oh, and a PG-rated adult fantasy book. How often does that happen, eh?
Profile Image for Melanie A..
1,032 reviews376 followers
January 13, 2018
Wow! Can Elizabeth Vaughan ever write!

Generally, I like the books I read to have a few layers of smut in them. (Shocking, I know!) So imagine my surprise when I found myself COMPLETELY embroiled in a book where not a single salaciously untoward thing happens! Especially when it's about a woman who's given as tribute to an invading barbarian Warlord. Somehow the author kept it classy, and I should have been disappointed! I should have been outraged! I should have dumped this book back at the library with a scowl!

But NO! Warprize was awesome! Keir, our Warlord, was a serious bad-ass, but Lara held her own against him; they were wonderfully intense together. Plus, there were some great secondary characters that kept the plot moving along at a brisk pace. I wasn't bored for a single moment.

I thought the author did such a fantastic job of reconciling the dark possibilities inherent to a story like this with what actually happened. It was brilliantly done.

Best of all, this is a series!!!! If only I could afford to read the sequels..... Since my library only carries the first book, I may just return it with a scowl on my face after all. :)
Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews166 followers
March 9, 2020
I decided to write just one review for these three books in the series, cause they all tell a story of one couple, Lara and Keir :) originally, I rated the first two book 4 stars, but after a few weeks have passed, I decided to give all three of them 3 stars instead… mostly because the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that it was only a mediocre story for me… don’t get me wrong, I found the first book on sale and was in a mood for a fantasy-ish / historical story with some sort of arranged relationship in it, so I started reading the first installment straight away… and yes, I was invested enough in the story and curious when it will go that I picked up both sequels right after another… and I did enjoy my time while I was reading them, although I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the decisions the author made within the story, especially in that third book, but still… I finished them for a reason… but even after only a few weeks I have already forgotten most of the details about it… the main couple was interesting, but I still think their romance was underdeveloped… I can appreciate some topics the author tried to tackle when it comes to a relationship between two strong minded people, but it could have been all handled better… I liked quite a few secondary characters a lot, but even though I already know they have their own stories, if we’re being completely honest, I don’t think I will ever come back to this world… it was all too *meh* for me to spend my time reading even more stories set in it, especially since there are so many more that hit me in all my feels that much stronger… if you are interested in picking this series up then I highly encourage you to check out some other reviews of it before making up your mind :)


Profile Image for Kay.
197 reviews360 followers
October 21, 2015
Someone recommended this book on an "If you liked Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart..." forum.

That was probably an ill-advised recommendation.

Other than being nothing at all like Kushiel, this book has its fair share of problems. Cardboard characters, mundane plot, and romantic cliches all abound in this incredibly ho-hum, stagnant excuse for a story. Most of the book revolves around Lara's tedious daily activities, and it gets old pretty quickly: Healing the wounded, picking off willow bark from stools to make medicine, and exchanging meaningless banter with the warriors of the camp were interesting the first time around--not so much after 40 pages.

The only pseudo similarity to the Kushiel series is that the main character, Lara, becomes the sex slave tribute to an invading Warlord--and even that is a bit of a stretch. Given the premise, the romance was perplexingly vanilla and behind-doors. (Nothing against clean romance, but if it's going to be clean, why even bother making the main character a sex slave??)

At 44%, I've given this book a fair shot, but ugh, 1 star
January 13, 2018
3.5 stars, maybe 4. It was good, moved slowly, but didn't so slowly I wanted to harm people.

Things I enjoyed:
- all the characters experienced growth.
- culture clash between city dwellers and tribal plainsman
- the ensuing miscommunication
- Lara, the princess, is a healer
- Keir, the Warlord, is sweet & hot.
- Political intrigue and drama

About the listed genre: not fantasy. No magic or fantastical beasts, it's a historical romance.

It's too hot to write a better review and I rather read book 2 than labor over this more + GR ate my original better review. Also, Helen 2.0's review says it all.
Profile Image for Christa.
850 reviews67 followers
August 18, 2018
8/18/18 - on sale for $1.99
This was a favorite book and it’s on sale today. If you like romantasy and excellent world building go buy it!

5 stars!!

It's like this book was written for me.
- detailed world building
- main character is a healer
- exploration of two different cultures
- the plot has romance but it's not front and center
- no instalove
- it's the first in a series!!! More books!!

This book reminded me of the Tainted Accords series by Kelly St Clare, so if you like one you'd probably like the other.

This might be my favorite book of 2017.
Profile Image for Holly.
304 reviews103 followers
December 20, 2008
With an incompetent king on the throne, the kingdom of Xyian is in danger of falling to the Firelanders who swarm outside the city's gates. Thrust into a war that she can do nothing to prevent, Master Healer Xylara, sister to the king, does what she can to prevent the suffering of the men on both sides of the war. Heedless to her brother's demands that she stop treating the enemy, Xylara continues visiting the prisoners, doing the best she can to ease their conditions, and in doing so, brings herself to the attention of the great Warlord himself. If Xyian wishes peace, he demands tribute in the form of Xylara. Proclaimed the Warprize and hailed by the Firelanders, she's told by her spineless brother that she will be nothing but a slave, brought to the Warlord for his pleasure. With a heavy heart, she allows herself to be carried off to the enemy camp, fearful of the future. With miscommunication heavy between them and an enemy intent on destroying the tenuous peace between their two lands, Lara and the Warlord hardly have time to explore the budding desire between them, but explore it they must. For the peace and prosperity of two nations rests on the off chance that the Warlord can claim Lara's heart.

This was such a fabulously interesting romantic fantasy done entirely in Lara's POV. I thought this was different and a nice change of pace from what I normally read. While there was a nice romantic element in this story, most of this book is about the cultural gaps between the Xyians and Firelanders and if they will ever be able to bridge them. The antagonist of this story was a little pathetic and it was obvious it was him, but I didn't care. I was mostly interested in the incredible worldbuilding. My absolute favorite part were the "pattern dances" that go on during the middle part of the book. They are intricately choreographed dances that were beautifully described. That part of the story just came to life for me and I enjoyed it immensely. There was alot of humorous little bits running throughout this story, least of which, everyone ignoring Lara's continued pleas that someone call her by her name, instead of constantly referring to her as the Warprize. My only drawback was that I wished this story had more romance in it, a few more one on one interactions between Keir and Lara, but there are two more books in this series so hopefully I can get more from those.

Keir, known as the Warlord, was a magnificent male specimen. Your typical rough, tough and brawny warrior who lays claim to his Warprize. He constantly tried to be thoughtful and respectful and was almost too good to be true with his understanding and courteous treatment of Lara. While he doubtlessly wished he could spend his days lounging in naked splendor with his Warprize, he did have a war camp to run and a country to reorganize so that unfortunately left Lara free to roam about the camp. She might be unsure of her place within the hierarchy of the camp but she knows she's a great Healer so she quickly finds her niche.

There was a great bunch of characters that Elizabeth Vaughan created and I can't wait to continue indulging in their stories. This wasn't an overly graphic war story, no descriptive battle scenes, nor was the sex overly explicit. The fantastical elements in this story aren't over the top either. There wasn't a huge need to suspend reality. A lot of times I forgot this was a fantasy and thought I was reading a medieval romance. I highly recommend this story and can't wait to read more.
Profile Image for Corina.
781 reviews2,090 followers
March 31, 2014
This series is one of my all time favorites.

It has a very strong and powerful warlord.

A very kind, but strong female lead.

The author introduces an incredibly fantastic world, where changes and believes are to be fought for. Where only the strong survive. And a warprize will be cherished above else.

I must have read the series a dozen times. And have high hopes that the author keeps on writing. The story about Keir and Lara is in my opinion far from finished.

Profile Image for Ari Reavis.
Author 16 books147 followers
March 7, 2017
First off to Logan Keys
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This book was fan-freaking-tastic. I am forever taking your book recommendations after this.

Ok now, in case you missed it from the beginning paragraph, this book blew my mind. It had everything I love. An arranged marriage, violence and fighting, treachery, great secondary characters. It just had it all. I was glued to each page. I walked around looking like a zombie for the past 2 days because I stayed up so late reading. Was it worth it?
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I loved Lara. She was strong and caring. She put her people and even the "enemy' before herself. When she was given to Keir, she decided to open her heart to him and his people instead of being a whimpering mess. I loved the decisions she made at the end. She's got my stamp of approval.
Now Keir.
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He was strong, didn't hesitant to make his authority known, but was gentle when it came to Lara. He wooed her and boy, did I enjoy their interactions. The romance was simply beautiful. Everytime they were together, I had the dumbest looking grin on my face.

So many of the other characters wormed their way into my heart. Simus, Joden, Atira, Anna the Cook, Heath, too many to name. They were great in both humor and personality. Even the characters I hated were such interesting additions to the story. In particular, I loathed Xymund, Lara's half brother. He was a complete and utter a**hole. He wasn't fit to lead ants, let alone a kingdom, and it killed him that everyone knew it.
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In short, I loved every moment of this story, from Lara's time in the castle, to the times with Lara in the healing tent and mixing medicines. From the times when she and Keir finally got to be alone in his tent (wiggling eyebrows), to the times where everything was in chaos between the two nations. Absolutely great story.
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April 25, 2016
"Want to know the best part about being a warlord?" came a hoarse whisper. I bit my lip, puzzled by the question. Keir's mouth curled up slowly into a smile. "I always get what I want."

A bit of an anticlimactic quote since the war lord was in fact not a jerk! All jokes aside I did like this book, it wasn't amazing but there was something about it. I went in expecting a high fantasy romance with some magic and epic world building but aside from a little world building this was more of a romance set in a vague medieval world if that makes any sense.

Xylara the heroine, is a healer but most importantly a princess. Her brother Xymund who hates her is the King. When their small kingdom is invaded by barbarians Lara is chosen as the warprize at the war lord's request. Now somethings that annoyed me in this book were the blatant misunderstandings. I won't go into the specifics but basically the story's foundation is that Lara is given as warprize to the War lord to maintain peace between the kingdoms. In my opinion this was a very weak foundation, and the fact that she had the wrong idea about what her role was just plain stupid.

I did love Kier and how protective he was of Lara. Marcus's character was also quote entertaining, so was Anna. I loved how Lara managed to win Kier's army over. Like I said there wasn't much magic or adventure. This really was just a romance and the conflicts the couple needed to overcome.

I know I always want romance in the books I read but I expected a prophecy or maybe something more significant that just Kier and Lara trying to live happily ever after. I'm sure I'll read the rest of the series at some point but I'm not itching to read the next book right now
Profile Image for shi ❦.
177 reviews133 followers
July 30, 2020
2.5 stars

I'm not sure what to say about this. It was not inherently bad, but just not my cup of tea. The writing was bland and a lot of passages were redundant, namely those describing daily tasks and other actions that contributed neither to the plotline, nor to further insights into the characters. It got so boring to the point I wasn't sure whether I was going to finish it. There was just no depth.

The only thing I can say for certain about the protagonist, Xylara, is that she's so selfless it went from admirable to annoying. And trust me, I'm not always asking for a badass heroine who fights for herself and does what she wants, how she wants (these can be just as annoying), but here, a little self-assertion would've made this a little more realistic and bearable.

This book is shelved by over a thousand people as a fantasy, but after having read this, I can safely say it's not that. If you're looking for a great fantasy novel with amazing, mind-boggling world-building, this is not it. This is more a historical novel set in the early Middle Ages than anything else. The main theme concerns a clash of traditions and cultural misunderstandings between to peoples. Though the concept is certainly interesting, Warprize does not live up to its potential.
Profile Image for Sunny.
1,423 reviews
February 15, 2017
One of my favorite books as a kid was The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. This book has the same feel. I was completely engrossed in the story. It is a great balance between action and character development. I was thoroughly engaged with the characters. Two small things could have made this stronger for me: 1. I would like to know more about Keir and his perspective. I think this was limited because the story is told from a singular point of view, Lara's. 2. As an adult reader, I could have used a little more romance. I appreciated that this was not necessarily insta-love, but it is not quite clear to me Keir's motivations. Still, a very solid fantasy adventure.
Profile Image for Zeek.
849 reviews149 followers
October 14, 2013
Lara is a healer and, in her eyes, that takes precedence over her royal blood. By simply being who she is, she finds herself sold as war booty to appease a warlord about to overtake her weak brother's kingdom.

And yet still, she is who she is, and her healing ways make her just as beloved by the people in the warlord's camp as she ever was in the Kingdom of Xy. Because she will not compromise her beliefs as a healer, she's about to change two kingdoms, for the better.

Loved every minute of this chick-fantasy. (And guys? This book is so "girls only". You just wont get it. ((two words. War. Lord... but a non threatening one.)) :P) I thought for sure the hero was gonna end up being a shape shifter, I've read so much PNR, but I was wrong, and yet still it was so good.

Since it's first person we're not in the heroes head at all but I love that his actions are enough. Same actually could have been said about the heroine even though it was told in her voice. I'll give, She is a bit naive for believing in the bad guy for so long, but I'll forgive her that for her wonderful selflessness and standing up for what she believes in. Plus, her favorite things are her books and helping others. I was so in.

The romance is tame but still kept me interested. Personally the "big reveal", as some other reviewer's have called it, really wasnt much of one. What really makes this book work is the Warlord's culture and his desire to merge with the Warprize's very different culture.

Loved. It.
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