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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sorceress of Faith

***** Sorceress of Faith by Robin D. Owens. Fantasy.

There's a reason why Robin D. Owens is on my must-buy list, and this is one of them.

It's the second book in the series about alternate dimension world Lladrana, following shortly after Guardian of Honor. I have to laugh at the reviews--so many of them say it's either better than or not as good as the first. Personally, I think it's just as good as Guardian of Honor, and kudos to Robin for expanding the series by making this one different from the first.

This time, it's the Sorcerers on Lladrana who are summoning an Exotique. Or rather, the Marshalls are summoning one for them. The Sorcerers do not work together well enough to summon on their own. On Lladrana, Sorcerers are the scholars, which makes the new Exotique perfect for them: graduate/perpetual student Marian Harasta.

Marian is also interested in magic and spells, and is doing a spell of her own when she's summoned. So the adjustment to the world of Lladrana is different for her than it was for Alexa.

When she arrives, she's claimed first by Jaquar, who she's drawn to, but something tells her he's a danger to her. He's challenged in rapid succession by two other sorcerers, who are finally overruled by the oldest and most powerful sorcerer, Bossgond, who announces he'll be her teacher, and whisks her off to his tower.

Marian's love of learning serves her well, but she's adamant that she not stay on Lladrana, needing to return to earth to be with her brother, who's seriously ill with MS. She agrees to help in exchange for their help in curing him.

Jaquar is one of the most powerful sorcerers on Lladrana, but his interest in the project is more personal: the monsters killed his family, and he wants revenge. His plan was to send the Exotique into the monsters' nest to destroy it. And if she's killed in the process, well, that's the price you have to pay.

That plan changes once he gets to know Marian--even if he hadn't found her personally appealing, it's much easier to plan the sacrifice of someone who's anonymous. Still, it's difficult for him when he takes over her weather training, realizing how powerful she is, and how well she'd accomplish his initial plan, and balancing a growing love and respect for her with his need for revenge.

The weather magic, at which both Jaquar and Marian excel (Bossgond's specialty lies elsewhere), is fun and exhilarating to read about, and Marian's hamster Tuck is just a delight.

The conflicts in Sorceress of Faith are more emotional than physical (which I believe accounts for the differences of opinions in the reviews as to which book is better), but they're no less suspenseful for that.

I loved Marian's eagerness to learn new things, and her easy acceptance of the existence of the different world--both well-explained by her personality and her past. Her love and worry for her brother were the driving force in her life, contrasting poignantly with her painful relationship with her cold, disapproving mother.

I was turning pages far too late at night, needing to find out how Marian resolved being torn between a whole world that needed her and one person who needed her (her brother). Ah, to be an end-reader.

I won't say how it turned out, but it was very satisfying. I loved this second visit to Lladrana, and seeing another side of it. I can't wait to read the next book.


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