Saturday, June 14, 2008
Warprize - Elizabeth Vaughan
I always hesitate when I am offered fantasy books, it might be a bit of a prejudice because I end up loving many of those recommended to me. This one was no exception.
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..The Warprize.
The story had a definite medieval feel to it and I think one of the good things was how well Vaughan makes me believe in that world. Right from the beginning I was sucked into it and in the problems Xylara was facing. To save her countrymen her brother tells her she must become a slave to the conqueror, she accepts ready to face an unknown future but in fear of what is to come. I really enjoyed discovering with her the very different society of the Firelanders and how things were not exactly how she had been told. At times I found her a bit too good to be true, healing friends or enemies equally and immediately starting to give orders and organise things as soon as she arrives to her master's encampment.
It soon becomes obvious that Xylara is not the slave she believes to be and that Keir, her master, treats her with much consideration and is ready to give her time before consummating their union. I found Keir to be a wonderful hero. Kind and interesting, determined and a natural leader his goal is to unite the Firelanders and the Xyans (Xylara's people) hoping the cultural differences will benefit both and make them stronger. For that he claimed Lara has his Warprize, the woman with whom he will share his life, after having seen her helping his friends prisoners of the Xyans.
Much of the book is about Xylara and Keir getting to know each other better and Xylara discovering a new culture and a new society but there's also a mystery subplot about who is trying to harm Lara and destroy the hard won peace with will be derterminant to their future.
This is the first book in a trilogy and in fact I think the 3 books read like just one book divided in 3. If you start this one be sure to have the other 2 around because you will definitely want to continue.