Mystics, Dragonriders and Compromised Ladies

>> Thursday, August 20, 2009

TITLE: When Winter Comes (from The Queen in Winter anthology)
AUTHOR: Sharon Shinn

I normally love Shinn's stories, but this was very blah. It's set in the world of the Twelve Houses series, with the hero and heroine being two characters we know from there. The heroine is Sosie, a village girl whose sister got pregnant by a mystic and ended up being saved from her own father by Senneths' intervention. The hero, meanwhile, is aristocrat Darryn Rappengrass, son of the ruler of one of the houses and a friend to the mystics.

Sosie and her sister have set out to find a safer place after the child is born. The journey is not without danger, and they are rescued again by Darryn and his party. They keep meeting over Sosie and her sister's journey, and at one point Sosie even returns the favour and saves Darryn right back. Unfortunately, however nice these characters are (and they are very, very nice), there's no chemistry whatsoever between them and the story ends up being quite boring.

MY GRADE: A C.



TITLE: Dragonflight
AUTHOR: Anne McCaffrey

Speaking of Sharon Shinn, I started Dragonflight because I've seen Shinn's Archangel (one of my favourite books ever) described as being similar to it.

Dragonflight is set in a world where dragonriders are the only defense against a threat that comes periodically from outer space. Unfortunately, these periods are so long that people tend to get sceptical about the reality of the threat after decades of everything being fine, and they start resenting having to fund the dragonriders and take the precautions they prescribe.

The heroine is a newly recruited dragonrider, and I got to the point after she's been selected as some sort of chosen one and some years of her training have passed. It's not a bad book, but I just lost interest, mainly because I couldn't really connect with any of the characters. I might actually go back to it at some point.

MY GRADE: A DNF.


TITLE: A Compromised Lady
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Rolls

The title of A compromised Lady is pretty accurate. Thea Winslow retired from society at the age of 16, after the death of her fiance, and has been living quietly in the countryside ever since. She has absolutely no desire to go back to London and society. However, her father has other plans, and orders her to town, intending to force her into marriage with one of his old, lecherous cronies.

Thea has no intention to marry at all, but staying with her godmother is no refuge. Godmother's nephew Richard is staying there as well, and he and Thea were friendly as children. He decides he still likes her very much, and since he's looking for a wife, anyway, he decides to pursue Thea (the fact that she's a heiress doesn't hurt).

This was a sweet book. Richard's lovely, a studious, quiet man, who gives Thea the kindness she needs, and quickly comes to realise that he doesn't just want her for rational reasons, but because he's fallen in love with her. Thea has clearly been badly hurt in the past, and what exactly happens is gradually revealed, both to us and to Richard. I found her a bit too ready to sacrifice (and make Richard's decisions about what he needs for him), but given the horror of her past, and the way it's still affecting her now, it's understandable.

MY GRADE: A B.

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