Jan's Reviews > Warrior

Warrior by Zoe Archer
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's review
Aug 12, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: wishlist-print, romance, steampunk, z-2010, stars5, z-2011, fantasy-romance, historical-romance
Recommended for: Fans of adventure, romance, and fantasy thrown together.
Read 3 times. Last read November 9, 2011.

Originally read Sept 6th 2010.

Thoughts after the third reread at the bottom.


I really looked forward to this book and series. The blurb looked so very promising, the reviews were quite raving, the excerpts looked promising. I was actually anxious for a book to come out, and I hadn't been anxious for a new book in a while. Honestly, I was quite frantic.

But I was also slightly worried that maybe I was too enthusiastic, a little too hyped, and that I would end up disappointed.

I'm glad that didn't happen, and yet it wasn't entirely what I expected. It's hard to explain really, I think it's because I wasn't entirely swept away, I didn't feel the rush of NEED TO FINISH THIS NOW. And yet I read it in one go, and only started at 2 in the night. So I did skip sleep for it. So for now, I'm blaming the exams, the weeks of sleep deprivation, and maybe just not being really awake for my sense of "less than expected passion".

On to the things I loved about it, and there's quite a lot of that. For starters the entire set-up is super cool. Historical road trip adventure in Mongolia, with some magic and fantastic elements thrown in, all cosily wrapped around a delicious romance. Or the other way around. I'm not sure what this story's primary genre is really. It's so well balanced, it's a little bit of everything, and entirely it's own thing.

Some people have compared it to Indiana Jones, and I agree uptil a certain point, but Zoe Archer's characters are so much better balanced with each other than Indy and his paramours. Thalia and Gabriel's relationship truly is a relationship of equals (as I haven't found in that many romance novels really). It's touching. And both are a delightful mix of endearing, stubborn, strong personalities.

I adored Gabriel. He's a tough soldier to his bones, but he doesn't have one vicious strike in him. He can be violent and crude, but he's good. Because he's been a soldier all his life, he's also not a ladies man. One of my favorite Gabriel scene's is in the epilogue, where he just starts his journey and meets a girl on a ship.

"This is my first international voyage," the girl continued brightly. She waited, smiling prettily, for his suitable charming response. A light sweat beaded on his back.

"Knew a fellow from Constantinople," Huntley finally said. "Excellent shot. I once saw him shoot a mosquito off a water buffalo's rump."

The girl gaped at him, flushed, then turned and walked away as quickly as she could toward the protective embrace of her mother.

Still makes me smile.

When he encounters Thalia for the first time he's slightly flustered, because he doesn't know how to act around proper ladies. Lucky for him, Thalia's not quite a lady, brought up as she is in the wild Mongolia by a widowed father. Thalia is an amazing heroïne, strongwilled, wanting to be her own person, very much aware of her strengths and flaws. She really has her act together, and though she knows it's not how a woman is supposed to live, she doesn't really care about that, because she's genuinly happy with who she is.

And Gabriel loves her for that.

“I can't instruct you on proper behavior when courting,” she said, “since I‟m not precisely the model of genteel manners.”
“I‟m glad you aren't,” he answered with a candor that surprised her.
“This mission wouldn't go too smoothly if I had to watch what I was saying, or if you needed to be coddled.”
“For the sake of the mission, then, it's a good thing I'm not a real lady.”
This time, he was the one who reached out, putting a hand on her thigh, which caused her to stop in the action of getting to her feet. “I didn't say you weren't a lady, just that you didn't
require cosseting or a bunch of other silly tripe. One doesn't have to entail the other.”

I love how he sees her femininity through her Mongolian manly outfit, her rifle abilities, and the dusty discomforts of travel. I also loved how they fell in love. Even though they don't find each other mind-blowing attractive at start, both their interest is spiked because they find the other different and interesting. The more they get to know each other, the more attractive they find each other, and then there is lustin' and lovin' and it all so nicely intermingles. It's a love both earned and freely given.

And it's truly a relationship of equals. As Gabriel refers to them, an army of two. In this setting, that's something very lovely and valuable.

I've read some of the more critical reviews here, and the drawbacks some of those mention, like the heavy setting up for the rest of the series, or the nobody objecting to their hooking up. I have to admit they are true, but I didn't notice it while reading. I was to enthralled I guess.
The only thing I did notice was the lack of dialogue. There's a lot of thinking going on, and I think there could've been a bit more talking. But the dialogue it had was quite awesome.

So I'm floating somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4.5 (and maybe even 5) stars review, and I'm going to let the print reread decide on that later. But for now I give Gabriel and Thalia a hug, 4 stars and a Hell Yeah.

Edit: So yeah, It moved to 4.5 stars after rereading, so since this is a new series by a fairly new author I'm rounding up instead of down :). Also, Gabriel is such a fine, fine hero.

After the 3d reread: I love this book. I found the second of this series second hand in paperback, and now I'm getting this one as well, because boy do I love it. Not a lot of books make me want to get it both digital and in paper.

I'm just a little bit in love with Gabriel and Thalia both. Mostly with Gabriel though. He's just so endearing and capable and simply delicious. By far my most favorite hero of this series. (Also by far my most favorite book in this series, which never quite lived up to the promise that was made here). Still, I really recommend this book. Because.

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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Your third re-read?

Dude, what.

message 2: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Ssssshhhh. Yeah. Spread over time though. Some books I simply like to reread and rejoice in. At least this one you liked. I've reread Beast Behaving Badly about 12 times I think.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Jan wrote: "I've reread Beast Behaving Badly about 12 times I think."

That's ..good...that you...like it...

message 4: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Hahahaha.

I knew from miles away you wouldn't like that one. It's one of those books you love while you know no one else does. I'm sure you've got a couple like that as well.

Anyway, for this one it kinda grew on me. It gets better after rereads. Not because of little details I missed or things like that, but just because Gabriel keeps getting more awesome!hero points. Thalia as well, but Gabriel swoons me off my feet.

I can forgive a whole lot if I really like the characters.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Yeah the character development was good enough, but the plot veered ever so slightly into crazysauce -- which, in of itself isn't a bad thing, just..I don't know...a bit tiring to wade through.

But the Laurenston, no, mate. Just...no.

message 6: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan I like the crazysauce once and a while :)

And I know that Laurenston is for peculiar tastes only. I actually know someone who's pretty much like Blayne, and I could totally see her end up with someone like Bo.

And I simply decided to stop questioning why I like it so much. It gives me comfort and joy :)

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

You have a friend you can see ending up with her big brother?


Comfort and joy I can understant. Terry Pratchett's earlier work does that for me, and it's not everyone who can read Equal Rites again and again and find solace.

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