This is my favorite of Andrea's so far.
Following the restoration of the Rathen throne, Gentian returns to Darest after spending more than a decade in self-imposed exile. She knows that breaking the oath she made never to return will have consequences. Just as she knows that every dawn she spends in Darest she will wake in utter terror, knowing herself to be on the brink of destruction. Gentian is willing to suffer to live in the homeland that she loves.
She is quickly bound up with a major character from the last book, Aristide Coeurveur, and the politics of Darest. The heirs of a few neighboring kingdoms have disappeared on Darest's borders, creating a political nightmare for Darest. Aspen, also from Champion of the Rose, rounds out the Darest delegation and brings a flirty POV that contrasts Gentian well.
Gentian's inner struggles and the external conflict, as well as her understated romance, all compliment and interweave well. Bones of the Fair also reveals a few of Darest's secrets and creates new questions about the kingdoms future. It will be interesting to see what the next book brings.
Prue Ashford has spent three years living alone after a disease and the resulting anarchy took away her family and her life. Most of that time she’s been living out bush, where the only humans she’s come across where thieves, murderer, rapists or literal human monsters. She made a choice, to live and kill rather than lie down and die.
Then she meets Shaw. In contrast to everything she knows about this new world, he saves her life and takes her to a town where there are decent people. The town’s people don’t know what it’s like to live on the outside alone. Protected by a wall they think they are safe; Prue knows differently.
This is a character driven story. Prue spends a lot of time trying to accept the person she’s had to become and find out how that person fits into this town. Early on, she considers leaving, but it really isn’t an option, she knows she won’t survive on her own for much longer. Despite a lack of social skills and what are obviously symptoms of PTSD, Prue makes the best of her situation and finds herself with a home and surrogate family. She eventually realises that the skills that have kept her alive are exactly what’s needed to keep her new home safe.
The early chapters of this book needed more work, but once I got past them, I couldn’t put this down. It’s a beautiful, very human tale.
A well written, medieval fantasy that focuses on Catwin, a young shadow (that is bodyguard, assassin and spy) in training. Catwin is a peasant who comes to the attention of her Duke after trying to steal the dagger of the Duke's shadow (not the smartest thing in the world). She is given a task, learn to be a shadow, protect the Duke's niece and heir, Mirel, from the Duke's enemies. Catwin and Mirel become the Duke's tools in his plans to keep power. Both Catwin and Mirel struggle to hold onto their ideals and their lives in the king's court, where everyone is their enemy, especially the Duke.
There is very little action. The strength of this book is characterization of Catwin and Mirel, and the relationship between the two. They never quite become friends, but progress from enemies to allies as the story unfolds. Also, the layers of intrigue at court are complex and interesting.
The bad - the cliff hanger ending. This book doesn't complete so much as it simply stops, which is annoying.