Title: Star of the Morning
Author: Lynn Kurland
Series: Nine Kingdoms, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Release Date: 5 December 2006
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.
It's so hard for me to review the books in this series, it's one of my favorites and has been since the first moment I started reading them. The year wait between books was, at times, truly awful...and always worth it. This is the first book, in the first trilogy set in the Nine Kingdoms and it really centers around Morgan, and Miach (MEE-ach).
Morgan's spent a good portion of her life learning to be the best of the best, at sword-play. She had no time for soft sentiments, or nearly anything but the next siege she can stage. But when the man that was the closest thing she's known to a father asks a favor, Morgan can't deny him anything. Morgan is such an incredibly competent, kick-ass woman. She is absolutely comfortable in who she is, calloused hands and all. She knows that it's unlikely for anyone to be her equal in battle and has no problem ensuring that she gets the respect she deserves. I just love her.
Miach. *sighs happily* What can I say about Miach? He's absolutely the best. I love him, dearly. Even with the deception against Morgan about who he truly is, I loved him from the very beginning. As Archmage of the realm, it's his duty to ensure its safety - no matter the cost, even to himself. Miach is honorable, sweet, smart, so incredibly kind, and so incredibly powerful - not that he lets it go to his head. He's also one of the most down to earth characters I've read.
The story here is pretty standard, Morgan sets out on a quest, with some companions - meets with some unexpected allies and foes and learns more about herself and the world in the process. This isn't your standard epic fantasy though. Don't take that to mean the world isn't well-developed, because it is. I can picture it clearly, feel the urgency of need to protect it, and understand easily how all the different groups work together (and against one another).
But the thing I love most while reading these is how much I end up smiling and laughing. The banter between the characters, their thoughts and actions...all of it combines to just simply make me happy. As I was reading this time I ended up highlighted passage upon passage of dialogue between different people, and more than once I had someone ask me what I was laughing at.
I highly, highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a fun fantasy-romance with great characters. I wish I could get more people to read them, because they're so special to me.
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