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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

***** Heart Quest by Robin D. Owens. Paranormal romance.

Well, she's done it again. It's always a treat to visit Celta, and this is no exception.

Trif Clover, of the non-noble but prolific Clover family, discovered during her last Passage that she has a HeartMate. Young and impatient, she sets about trying to find him, using a charm key (the cover illustration--it's a gorgeous cover, btw).

Unfortunately for Trif, her HeartMate is avoiding her. He's Black Ilex Winterberry, a guardsman from a noble family but working for a living. Not only is he twice her age, and thinks she deserves someone younger, but he has a talent for prescience, and he's foreseen his own death--in the very near future. When HeartMates are bonded, and one dies, the other dies shortly after as well, and he's desperate to save Trif from that fate.

Unfortunately for Ilex, someone is going around killing young people with unstable Flair, and Trif fits the victims' profile, so he's compelled to stay close to her and keep her safe.

As with the other books in this series, the worldbuilding is superb. I'm not a very visual person, but I'm pretty sure if you plopped me down in the middle of Celta, I could find my way around. The way magic works is clear and consistent--and unusual.

Also as usual is the emotional depth. Ilex in particular has a very rough time of it. Knowing of his own death in advance is bad enough, but the more he's around Trif, the more painful and intense his feelings for her become. He's also been smacked with family difficulties that hurt him, and that I'm crossing my fingers will lead to future stories in this series.

Trif doesn't have it quite as rough, but her emotions are right there on the page--excitement, impatience, and frustration at first, and as time goes on, they become more complex as well.

I also enjoyed the mystery component of Heart Quest, particularly the details of how Flair is used in criminal investigations. My only teensy problem with it was that I'd hoped ****spoiler****D'Winterberry, Ilex's mother**** would be implicated, but that's mostly because that character made me so angry.

Again, all the intensity is balanced by humor, much of which is provided by the fams: sentient, telepathic pets. The cats' voices in particular will sound very familiar to anyone who's ever had a cat.

I'd say more, but everything's turning out fangirly-squeeing. Bottom line: great book. I loved it.


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