Warsworn, by Elizabeth Vaughan

>> Wednesday, October 07, 2009

TITLE: Warsworn
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Vaughan

PAGES: 306

SETTING: Another world
TYPE: Fantasy romance
SERIES: Second in the Chronicles of the Warlands.


Lara is the Warprize

A powerful healer, she has sworn an oath of loyalty to Keir the Warlord, and his people. Now the Warlord and his chosen mate face enemies within the tribe and danger lurks on every hand as they journey toward Keir's homeland.

When they reach a village marked with the warnings of the plague, Keir forbids Lara to heal the sick, commanding that she not risk her own life. But both Lara and Kier are strong of will and neither will bend easily, even for love; and when Lara disobeys, she pays the price: both she and Kier are plague-struck... and so is their entire encampment.

In the midst of the dying, Iften, a rival warrior, gathers his followers and challenges Keir for the right to rule their tribe. If Keir, weakened by the sickness, loses -- he dies.

And so does Lara.

To save her love, her life, and her adopted people, Lara must find a cure for the plague -- and fully embrace her sworn role as Warprize to her Warlord.
Warsworn picks up right after Warprize left off. I'm not sure how well it stands alone, but I suspect you'd probably appreciate it more if you've read Warprize. Anyway, Keir and Lara are together and in love, and though Lara still has a lot to learn and understand about Plains culture, she's well on her way.

They are travelling to the Plains people's base, and on the way, they come to a walled Xy city which seems closed. The Plains people are outraged that the Xy are denying them entry and violating the terms of their surrender, but Lara recognises the markings on the walls and realises the city has been affected by a plague.

Keir refuses to let Lara risk herself, but as a healer, she considers it her duty to do what she can to help her people. She goes in anyway, and finds an illness much worse than she could have imagined, one against which all she's learnt from her wise teachers seems useless.
Keir is angry at Lara's defiance, but things get even worse when the plague spreads to their camp. Keir's relationship with Lara and the way he has started to break with some Plains traditions don't sit well with some of his tribesmen, and now that the plague has made his position precarious, they take the chance to make their move.

I still liked much of this book, but less than I did Warprize. While the focus of the latter was on the differences between the two cultures, Xy and Plains, something I found fascinating, this one focuses more on internecine disputes and intrigue. The worst aspects of the Plains people came to light, like the way their pride in who they are can turn into xenophobia, and the action stressed me out (and I don't mean in a tense, "ohhh, I can't wait to see what happens next" kind of way).

I think what was best was seeing Lara grow and become stronger and more confident, being now able to understand the Plains people and to fight her enemies using what she's learnt. That I really enjoyed, and though there isn't that much development in the romance, I did feel that Lara's strengthening resulted in the relationship being even more among equals now.

By the end of the book, there are several things that are left hanging, and I should have been desperate to read the third one. However, even though my library has it, I've had no desire to find out what happens next. I should, since both books have been Bs, but I just don't. Make of that what you will.



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