Ahoy me mateys. I am sad I actually spent me money on this book. This book betrayed my enjoyment so it must walk the plank . . . Arrrrgh!
It has been on me list forever and I wanted so badly to read the first novel. However, local libraries in port didn’t have the first novel (just the second! Grrrr!). It seemed to have all the elements of fantasy that I love: Awesome cover, magic swords, fantastic heroine, a bit of romance, epic battles, etc. So after hemming and hawing, I gave in and got me a copy.
To be fair, I loved the author’s characters. The main character was a noble lady named Alix. She is funny and resourceful and clever. The scout, Liam was funny and sweet. The king, Erik, commanding and charming. Even the side characters like General Green and Kerta were likeable and fun to read about. I loved how the various banner houses were set up. I loved how women were respected and held high positions in the kingdom. I even appreciated how one of the bad dudes was conflicted and yet a little more complicated than I expected. I didn’t abandon this book because I enjoyed the characters a lot individually.
The problem was in the plot. A spy that shows up and is just trusted for no reason. Alix making dumb choices that went against her seeming intelligence. Other bad dudes who have no real reason for being evil. Complicated situations that are just fixed with almost no effort. Magic that almost seems pointless. And the love triangle from hell.
I liked Alix. I liked Erik. I liked Liam. How this triangle was set up was fine. It being in the book didn’t even bother me at first. But as the triangle continued to drag on, the plot surrounding it grew more and more ridiculous. The resolution was just plain horrible. Personally, Alix could have ended up with either of them. That was unusual for me and was due to the author’s characterizations. The conflict of Alix’s choice seemed realistic enough at times. However, the major “reveal” in the middle of the novel to how Alix makes her choice is what ruined the book for me. That and the love story taking center stage.
I wanted more complex politics and battles, a story that didn’t get bogged down because the king broke his leg and was castle bound forever, for the magic to be better explained and used, and for problems not to be solved with a wave of the hand. I will not be reading the rest of the series but would be willing to give the author’s next one a try if the love stuff could be toned way down and her plots tightened.
Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean that it won’t float yer boat. To see another review of this book by a member of me crew, Lynn, who liked it, visit:
I thought I would go ahead and pass this one to another member of me crew. If you want to check out the author and see if perhaps ye have a different conclusion drop a comment on me log here. One lucky scalawag will get a chance to perhaps disagree with me. Sometime after sunset on the 7th, I will tally up the hopefuls and have the first mate draw a name from me hat.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…
A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.
Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.
But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…
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