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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guardian of Honor

***** Guardian of Honor by Robin D. Owens. Fantasy.

Superb worldbuilding, realistic characters, imaginative stories, exciting action, satisfying romance--is it any wonder Robin D. Owens is one of my absolute favorites?

Lawyer Alexa Fitzwalter is all alone in the world after the death of her best friend. Now she's also having strange dreams and hearing chanting and music and a gong, and she feels compelled to follow the song in the mountains at night. Then the hallucinations become visual as well, and when she hears the plea "we need you," she steps through the arch into another world.

The world of Lladrana has been protected from the evil beyond its borders by a magical fence, but the fence posts are failing and more and more monsters are getting in, and soon they'll overwhelm the Marshalls' and Chevaliers' ability to fight them. The Marshalls know that only an Exotique (human from Earth) will be able to restore the fence posts, and so they're summoning one: Alexa.

Alexa's immediately confronted with a monster, then finds herself in a circle of what appears to be sorcerers, who apparently want something from her, but who also seem bent on tormenting her. She endures test after test, and finally learns some of what's going on when she's befriended by Sinafin, the little shapeshifting feycoocu.

Among the demands of the Marshalls is the demand that she take a mate, which will make it more likely that she'll stay in Lladrana when the time comes for her to choose.

I think I'd better stop there before I give away the entire story. I loved Guardian of Honor so much that I guess I just want to relive it while I'm writing this.

Alexa's character is one you can really root for, and identify with (at least with wishful thinking). She's strong and intelligent, and she needs to be needed. When she meets Bastien, the Chevalier who's an outcast because he's a black-and-white (meaning his hair is striped black and white, a sign that his magic is wild and uncontrolled), their mutual outsiderness (I was going to change this, but I discovered it is a real word after all) draws them believably together.

I thoroughly enjoyed the political machinations of the Marshalls--some of them genuinely trying to help, others trying only to further their own agendas, but all of them arrogant to one degree or another. And I loved how Alexa shook them up. They wanted a tool, and they ended up with something much, much different. I cheered (aloud, even, if nobody was around) several times, and just thinking about it is making me grin.

The world of Lladrana was wonderfully complex and unique. I loved how everything was tied together with song, and especially how the Lladranans' personalities were shaped by their world, just as Alexa's was by being human. It's something I've come to expect from Robin's work, but I appreciate it even though it's not surprising.

I can't be too sorry that I waited so long to read this, even though I bought it the month it was released, because I've already read the second book (I'm a few weeks behind in writing reviews), and don't have to wait for the third. I just have to dig around the TBR pile to make sure it's there.


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I really want to get this trilogy but it not in the regular paperback sizes...

Couldn't get it at the library, since t said we can't request for them to order anymore books until January....what?! *sigh*
Thank you. You made my day (which I spent cleaning the kitchen).
Well, thank you for writing a book that made my day. :)

Ah, the glamorous life of a famous author. Shouldn't there be minions or cabana boys or something to help you with mundane tasks like that?
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