I have to be perfectly honest—the fantasy/sci-fi genre isn’t at the top of my reading list. It’s on the list, yes, but it just doesn’t take first place. However, this book by Yvonne certainly made me question why I start each fantasy book with a little reservation, because this one very definitely confirmed how much I do enjoy the genre.
What did we have in this book? We had romance, war, spies, traitors, an epidemic, rape, politics, prediction, troubled souls, tragedy, patience and understanding, and greed. What’s not to like?
Marja survives the retaliative overthrow of Catania by Bargia. Gaelen is the surviving heir to the rule of Bargia and convinces Marja that marriage to him would be for the good of all. Reluctant and dubious of the merits, she nevertheless agrees. The possible controversy and disapproval of the union necessitates close scrutiny by Gaelen’s faithful counsellors and protection of Marja by his own right-hand man, Klast. But Gaelen has a ruthless traitor in his midst and aided by the loyal Klast and his committed seer, Liethis, Gaelen must out him and punish him accordingly without delay.
This is my first outing with Yvonne and won’t be the last. She has a very clear, expressive, thoughtful, and insightful style. I loved it. I was fascinated by Klast – he was my favourite character. He was multi-layered, an enigma, and Yvonne gave him strength of character, tenderness, decency, and loyalty. Marja and Gaelen were a well-matched young couple – both suffered personal losses, both were focussed, determined and commanded respect. Gaelen’s traitor was perfectly calculating, smug, avaricious, and ruthless.
A well-constituted cast of characters, a good mix of action and romance, and well written. Yvonne has certainly caused chaos in my preferential order of genres.