SHE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN HER PEOPLE AND HER FREEDOM...
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...
Having already read the first book in Elizabeth Vaughan's Star series, it's safe to say that I am a huge fan! This is the first in the Warlord series, which happens to be Vaughan's debut novel.
For a first book, it's really impressive. Solid writing, the world has a history and the politics are well thought out. The cast of characters come from standard fantasy worlds, but of course Vaughan makes them her own and the characters end up being quite lovable. This book is more of a getting to know the world setup. Getting to know basic characters, the land and nations. The evil villain is Xylara's brother, it was a nice setup the way Vaughan did it. But it felt rushed, like the evil king needed to be dead by the end of the book. Of course I'm not saying there isn't some potential evil villains left to plague the series later on.
Xylara defied everyone, including her late father, and became a healer. She stands up to her brother and fights for what she believes in. Clearly she is a character to admire. My only complaint, is that as smart as Xylara is it takes her a while to stick her head out there. Certain situations could have been solved if she would have been as brave as everyone said she was. Then again, when you think you're a slave and are in a new culture, one can never tip-toe too carefully.
The love interest, is more of an idea at this point. Kier is a respectable and fair Warlord, who has dreams of uniting his people with Xylara. He wishes to court her as a Warprize, which will herald change to the people. Sadly enough that's all the reader is really given on him. I'll admit I'm shallow enough that I was cheering the couple on.
It's fun watching Xylara realize what her people need (especially a little womans rights!), and how she is willing to sacrifice things to make her country better. My only compliant is exactly what Keir voices. That he expects her and her people to change, but he and his people are not making any efforts. This is another thing I hope will move along.
This may not be mind blowing, but it's well worth it for the fantasy lover to invest in. New readers of fantasy will probably think this is the cat's meow. If you're looking for steamy love scenes, look else where. If you're looking for a sweet (very high school like) romance, you've found it. I can't wait to read the next books in this series. If her Star series is any indication, Vaughn is going to grow into a great storyteller in her later books.
References to sex, and some mild love scenes.
3/5- Good, I liked it.
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