From the USA Today bestselling author comes the first in a magical romantic fantasy trilogy.Series: Nine Kingdoms #1
Darkness covers the north, since the black mage has begun his assault on the kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held by Neroche's king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades...
In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. And Morgan will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword-and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined.
Published by Berkley Trade on 5 December 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
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Have you ever started a book, couldn’t get into it, but still came back to it every couple of days just to see if just a few more pages would be all it took to finally grab your attention?
That was Star of the Morning for me. And I really wanted to like it. It’s the beginning of a fantasy series with what I assumed would be a heavy romance element, and if there’s anything I think the book world needs more of, it’s romances in fantasy settings.
But honestly, I felt like the first 200 pages of this book could have been trimmed down to about 75, and then I would have been more interested in the story and the relationship development between the protagonists, Morgan and Miach.
I liked Miach a lot; he’s the archmage of his kingdom, and his arrogant and rather jerky brother Adhemar is king. When Adhemar suddenly loses his magic (which is a Very Bad Thing), he has to go out to find the wielder of a magical sword that’s been in his kingdom’s trust for a long time. Miach goes out to help, and there he finds Morgan. She’s a mercenary who hates magic (of course), but she’s been tasked with taking a very special dagger to Adhemar’s castle. It honestly doesn’t have a whole lot of mystery going; it’s obvious from the second she’s given the dagger that she’s going to be the wielder of that magical sword, so it’s more a matter of waiting for Miach to figure it out (because Adhemar’s also kind of dim).
So the majority of the novel is a very, very, very slow burn of Morgan and Miach’s building friendship and attraction to each other. However, if you’re like me and expected romance out of this (I think I actually bought it in the romance section of the bookstore), you’re going to be disappointed. There’s no happily ever after (which makes sense, as this is the first book in a trilogy), and for me, the ending was such a groaning deus ex machina disappointment that I actually tossed the book to the floor and haven’t touched it since.
Man, I wanted to like this, but the pacing was glacial and far too much of the book is taken up with Morgan, Miach, and their merry band wandering through the countryside, camping and doing other things. Like I said, if this had been viciously edited down, it would have been a much more exciting and interesting story. As it is, though, it took me eight months to read this all the way through.
I think that’s the longest it’s ever taken me to finish a book. So. Yeah.
But I’m still determined to find a good, spicy fantasy romance, dammit. Any recommendations?