Thursday, October 2, 2008

“The Night Bird” by Catherine Asaro

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
For centuries the women of Aronsdale have lived freely among the green and misted valleys. Creatures of exotic beauty and sensuality, they possess powerful skills of enchantment…and young Allegro is no different. But her life—and Aronsdale''s independence—is threatened when Jazid nomads invade, carrying Allegro into the desert as a prized trophy…or worse.

Until an unexpected ally falls under her spell. From the moment feared Jazid warrior Markus Onyx sees the alluring beauty, he knows he has found his queen.

But even the promise of love cannot quell Allegro's determination to save her homeland. Summoning her powers, she casts herself north—out of passion''s grip—and into the dark heart of conflict.…
The Night Bird is the most recent tale in Catherine Asaro’s Lost Continent series of fantasy romance novels. When I picked this up I was unaware it was part of a series and found it to be self-contained. Apparently some of the recurring characters have their stories told in other volumes of the series. Don’t pay too much attention to the book blurb above as it is a bit bombastic and not entirely accurate.

You have to like a book that begins with a good kidnapping. Allegra is a Song Weaver, a young mage with minor spellcasting abilities. She is on a journey to the Guild to begin her formal training. On the road Allegro is captured and spirited away into Jazid, a neighbouring nation where she is sold as a slave. And thus begins her tale of romance and high adventure.

Of course there is a fairy tale nature to the story. Allegra is bought not just by anyone, but by Markus the leader of the resistance fighting the Emperor who has usurped his homeland. Markus is the Regent and brother to the king in exile who is a nine year old boy. Despite an immense gap in their cultures Allegra and Marcus fall in love. But it is not enough. Allegra escapes and in turn kidnaps the young king returning with him to Arondale. She needs to share her discoveries from her time among the rebels with her own king in order to save the empire from a massive war.

Armies converge and alliances shift. Allegro’s mage strength and abilities grow and she finds herself at the heart of action among kings, emperors and mages. Not bad for a girl that left home a dairy maid.

Always entertaining, The Night Bird, is a well-paced story with a nice balance of romance, adventure and solid world building. Readers of Elizabeth Vaughan’s Warlord trilogy should also enjoy this.

Read an excerpt.

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great fantasy read, and it's so nice when they can be read as a stand-alone. I enjoyed that great review, it gave a whole new look at what the story was about in comparison to the blurb. :)

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  2. Sounds really interesting! I'm crazy about reading things in order whether they can stand alone or not (I made an exception for L'Engle's A Ring of Endless Light though)

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  3. Kimberley they even misspelled the characters name in the blurb calling her Allegro when she is Allegra. I certainly plan on catching up on others in the series.

    Ladytink_534 it's been years since I read any L'Engle, not sure I have even read that one.

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  4. Yes, well you misspelled her name, too.

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