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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

***** Master of Swords by Angela Knight. Contemporary paranormal romance.

Master of Swords is the 4th novel and 6th story (there are 2 novellas) in this Mageverse series, one of my absolute favorite paranormal series. It combines vampires, werewolves, witches, sorcerers, fairies, and dragons with the knights of the round table. It's a complex world that centers around the Magekind: female witches and male vampires who have a symbiotic relationship--the males need the females' blood, and the females need to donate it.

Lark is a young maja (witch), the great-granddaughter of Tristan (yes, that Tristan), but with the war against the evil vampires heating up, every Magekind is needed, so the young ones are paired with more experienced fighters, and Lark is paired with Gawain (yes, that Gawain).

Sparks fly, of course--this is a romance, after all--and Lark is wary of trusting someone who's broken the hearts of most of the majae at one time or another, including that of her friend and mentor. She's young and inexperienced at magic and combat, but she's also brave, loyal, and determined, and it was wonderful--and realistically done--to watch her grow and realize her own strength, particularly because it's not easy, not without setbacks.

I could have mentioned this book for yesterday's post on cover blurbs--in the very short blurb (only 2 sentences), Gawain is described as "a handsome vampire knight who means to seduce her every chance he gets." Which is untrue. He's very conscious of his position as teacher and mentor and tries very hard not to seduce her. Maybe they meant that was what Lark's initial impression was. *shrug*

Almost as important as Lark and Gawain's actions in the fight against the evil vampires is the story of Kel, Gawain's... sword. friend. dragon. Kel is a dragon, Gawain's friend, and ever since he was turned into a sword in a political fight, he's fought at Gawain's side. We learn some of his history, and he provides both comic relief and poignancy.

Any discussion of an Angela Knight book wouldn't be complete without mentioning the sex scenes. She's one of the very best in the genre at writing sex scenes that are not only steamy, but also character-specific, and they advance the plot.

The action is tense and exciting, and... merciless.

As I said before, the Mageverse is a complex place. I do remember having a bit of difficulty with the first story in the series, trying to understand how everything worked and fit together (I enjoyed it nonetheless), but whether Master of Swords is easier to get into because its universe is more clearly explained, or because I'm more familiar with it now, I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm thrilled to see that a new novella, "Moondance," will be out in January in the anthology Over the Moon, and that Master of Dragons, Kel's story, will be out in June.


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