July 2012, Fantasy Romance
Berkley, $15.00, 386 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425256014 Part of a series
It must be very hard to write a follow-up for an author when their debut novel is amazing. While Alliance Forged was not as good as Vengeance Born, it is still a great addition to the Light Blade series.
Varian is the leader of the half human, half demon group of outcasts known as the Na’Chi. Tasked with keeping his people safe from the Na’Reish, or demon bad guys, Varian has taken his people into the human territory where he is afraid they will never be accepted or tolerated. Varian believes that though life may be hard in the human realm, it will be longer if the Na’chi can find a way to protect themselves.
While a big part of Varian would like to separate his people from the demons and the humans, he is being gently led into an alliance by Kymora Tayn. She is the priestess of the human realm and the sister of the human leader, Kalan. Kymora knows that the Na’Chi and the humans can and should eventually live together in peace, but she has an ulterior motive for living among the Na’Chi and befriending them all. The growing attraction between her and Varian is something that she doesn’t want to ignore and that she is willing to explore – if only he will let her.
When the alliance seems to be in the greatest jeopardy from forces both outside and within, Varian and Kymora have to learn to trust one another whole heartedly. Though Varian’s lifetime has taught him to do anything but, Kymora, a blind woman who shows such strength and courage, is more powerful than he can resist.
I loved the love story between Kymora and Varian. Kymora was never afraid to share her feelings, no matter how vulnerable it made her. She pushed and prodded Varian along simply through her honesty. Never once did her prodding turn annoying. Just the opposite, in fact. She was refreshing and engaging and it was easy to see how Varian couldn’t resist her. Meanwhile, Varian was a Tortured male – with a capital “T”. He had a hard life of abuse and condemnation and yet he was a man worthy of love. Is there anything better than that?
The one thing that bothered me about this book was that it spent too much time on building the world and working toward focusing the story for the next book. Too often the events of the world took the spotlight from Varian and Kymora. Even more of a concern was when the next book’s hero, Arek, completely stole the spotlight. Though I can see that it was necessary to set up the events that will lead to his eventual tale, I thought that too much time was spent on it and that Arek’s perspective (his POV) didn’t differ enough from the other characters to make his insights necessary. His thoughts were reflected in either Kymora, Varian, or Kalan’s thoughts, so much of it became redundant.
Though I won’t say that this book is as strong as the first in the series, it was still a good book. The story starts off with a lot of action and doesn’t really stop for a few chapters. It is very hard not to get pulled in to the story. If you are looking for a unique tale and an interesting world to get lost in, you can’t go wrong with the Light Blade series.
-- Louise VanderVliet
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