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Publisher's Summary

Otec thought destiny forgot him....

The middle child of the clanchief, Otec is the overlooked son in an overflowing house. He dreams of escape and adventure, so when a mysterious stranger offers both, he doesn't need persuading. But when his faraway village comes under attack, Otec will do anything to save the people he loves. Cut off from his nation, he must trust a foreign woman with a dubious past as they race to save his clan. But nothing is what it seems, and Otec may have to trust his enemy if he is to become the leader he was never meant to be.

Destiny is not always kind.

©2015 Amber Lynn Smith (P)2015 Amber Lynn Smith

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  • Story

Short but fulfilling.

This is the prequel to Winter Queen and tells the story of Ilyenna's parents, Otec and Matka. Otec feels like he is overlooked by his family, and is simply a farmer, while all his brothers go to war to protect their home. When he comes back from the mountains with his flock, he meets Matka. She asks him to take her to the mountains in search for a rare flower. He agrees, but on their second day gone, Matka notices smoke coming from Otecs village. They see that his village has been attacked. Otec wants to run straight there to help, but Matka convinces him that he would be better off getting help from a nearby village. He knows she is right but what he finds on his way, rocks him to his core. Can he trust Matka, and just who is she?

Even though this is so short, it packs so much into it. Otec is such a quiet boy and I loved seeing him go from the quiet, insecure boy, into the clan chief we know him to be. It was nice to see Ilyennas parents and who they were before she came along. Ilyenna is more like her mother than I thought!

This was an intense, action packed, and fast paced read and a great addition to this series. This series is one of my favourites and I urge everyone to give it a go.

Melissa Reizian Frank was amazing. She has such a distinctive voice and has a lot of different tones and voices, that it brought the story to life. I really enjoyed her narration.

*I received a copy of this for review. This in no way affected my thoughts.*

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wars and family

This book was well written. I could see the battles in my mind as they were described. The author and narrator made it so easy to follow the action.

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I want the exception all the time!

The story had lots of twists and turns but I found myself tuning out at times. The narrator's performance lacked the passion and "sparkle" or vigor to hold my interest. Maybe the book would be better with another narrator?

There's a couple in danger, fighting warring clans but it's hard to fear for them because she reads the scenes between the couple with about as much passion as you'd expect from someone reading from the phone book. Yes, she's using different voices for the characters but there's little to no passion in her performance. Or, maybe I've just been spoiled by narrators that go above and beyond in their performances and they were the exception to the rule and this is the norm. If so, I want the exception all the time!

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Addicting read.

What a great little book! I was sucked in immediately by the characters, who were rich with personality and absolutely lovable. Amber Argyle had such a way of taking unusual characters, like Otec and his sisters, and making them distinct, lovable, and flawed yet able to find their inner strengths. This makes them jump right out of the bin and into my heart.

Otec meets Matka early in the story. He's a clanchief's son, but overshadowed by his older brothers. She's a foreigner, from a race that he doesn't trust due to raiding and slavery. In spite of these major differences, Otec and Matka quickly develop feelings for one another. The arc of their relationship moves along beautifully, as they race against their enemies, in an attempt to save as many clanswomen as possible from the fate of slavery.

They keep running up against new opposition, each thing more difficult than the last, finally culminating in a very intense fight, and also true and sweet declarations of love between Otec and Matka.

One thing I've always loved about Argyle's writing is that there doesn't always have to be a clear winner or loser. Nobody leaves battle like that unscathed, and she doesn't tie it up in a neat bow just to give us a happy ending. It's always satisfying, but also unflinchingly realistic.

Another favorite book by one of my all time favorite writers. Bravo.

This audio book was gifted to me in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

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