The New York Times bestselling Nine Kingdoms Saga continues in a land where light and dark magic vie, and where a reluctant hero and seemingly defenseless stable maid must join forces against an encroaching evil.
Acair of Ceangail, youngest bastard son of the worst black mage in history, has followed in his father’s footsteps, wreaking havoc throughout the world and leaving powerful enemies in his wake. After a year of reparation, he owes a final bit of penance: twelve months spent working in a barn without using his magic.
Léirsinn of Sàraichte understands horses, stable work, and how to judge men’s hearts. When she starts seeing shadows where there should only be light, she knows there is evil afoot. Unfortunately, it’s something she can’t fight on her own.
Acair’s attempts to aid Léirsinn only draw the notice of dangerous mages against whom he is currently defenseless. With only each other to rely on, Acair and Léirsinn find themselves suddenly in a race to save the world before it’s consumed by darkness…
This series has continuously been something of a comfort read for me. There is darkness, but I always know that the good-guys will prevail. I like the fun and the interesting world that I can easily fall into. The romances are sweet, and the stories are interesting. I love these books for exactly what they are.
Each trilogy in this overall series focuses on a different story and couple. And though you can come into each trilogy separately – without reading the rest – I’d at least recommend reading the first trilogy. It starts with Star of the Morning and will really help orientate you in the world. All the other trilogies build off of this one, and the relationships begun there.
I absolutely adored Morgan and Miach’s story (trilogy 1). I’ve re-read it many times and still love it to this day. Trilogy 2 was still quite good. Trilogy 3, I liked it, and I’ll re-read it, but it couldn’t compare to Morgan and Miach. I was beginning to think that nothing ever would.
And then along came Acair. To really understand where he’s starting out, you need to know what happened at the end of the last trilogy. Fortunately Acair is quick to remind us all. It’s a little skewed, but I think you could safely jump in here and enjoy the story.
What I love most about Acair is that he’s unapologetically himself. He was the antagonist in the previous trilogy, and is a “dark mage” in the world. Though probably not as dark as some (like his father for example). You can expect there’s going to be something of a redemption story here, but I hope not too much. Because Acair is like a breath of fresh air that I’ve been looking for in this series.
He’s on a bit of a forced penance trip at the moment. Making up for all the wrong he’s done in the world. Or at least making a start at it. He grumbles about it quite a lot, but I actually like that.
Léirsinn fascinates me. I’m incredibly curious about her history and lineage – and I suspect we’ll find out more in the next book. I can’t wait to see how this world expands, yet again, to include more peoples and more magics.
I’m also more than a little concerned about the shadow-spots that keep appearing all over the Nine Kingdoms. And just who might be wreaking havoc. I have some suspicions, but I wonder how accurate they’ll actually turn out to be. I don’t expect a lot of plot twists in these books, because you can usually deduce what’s coming – the foreshadowing alone gives large hints. But I always like the build as we, and the characters, figure out what’s going on and what to do about it.
Now, disclaimers, though these are fantasy romance novels, there is NO SEX in them. I don’t miss it. The romances are sweet and it’s just not needed. The fantasy world is not complicated. It’s becoming more vast, but there’s little explanation about how magic is in the world except that it’s tied to bloodlines. Don’t expect complicated and epic proportions of fantasy here.
The Nine Kingdoms books are uncomplicated reads that bring me joy. I smile frequently while reading them, and even when bad things happen I know that the hero/ines will come out on top. I always finish with happiness in my heart. And for the first time since book 3, I’m really excited for the next in the series.