Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only 100 Warlord Princes stand - without a leader and without hope.
Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who remembers the Blood's code of honor and lives by the Old Ways. The woman chosen to rule Dena Nehele, Lady Cassidy, is not beautiful and believes she is not strong. But she may be the only one able to convince bitter men to serve once again.
©2009 Bertrice Small; (P)2009 Penguin
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I really enjoyed this story. Theran is an ass. Cassidy is the ugly duckling. The story is one of hope and growth and bullying and finding oneself as they mature.
There is a bit too much about Daemon and his Sadist urges though - I thought it was more like an add-on to bring back old characters and had little to add to the actual story of Cassidy and her Court. There is also a little substory about Saetan which was also sort of odd in the context of Cassidy's story, but I guess Bishop wanted to keep us up-to-date on the goings on with the "family".
It's not as dark or heavy as the trilogy, but is quite similar in tone to the Invisible Ring - although it was more about internal angst and in-fighting and stereotypes than fighting versus an external enemy. I'm starting the next in the series right now - it didn't really end in a cliffhanger, but you know there's more to Cassidy's story so you'll want to read the next book in the series to find out what happens.
This is the only book in the series I've listened to in audio and, for the most part, the narration was good - he mispronounces a few words and Jaenelle is read with an "Eastern Canadian?" accent in this book which didn't really fit what I expected. But otherwise, you can tell who's talking from tone/accent and whether or not they are speaking or using psychic communications.
The narrator's wry tone and inflection really brought the story to life.
Gray is my favorite character because of his growth as a person and as a prince.
The planting of the honey pear trees.
Adventure, Comedy and a little Romance
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