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.
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.