Saturday, June 21, 2014
SUNNY - BOOK REVIEW "Master of Crows" by Grace Draven
What would you do to win your freedom? This is the question that sets bondwoman, Martise of Asher, on a dangerous path. In exchange for her freedom, she bargains with her masters, the mage-priests of Conclave, to spy on the renegade sorcerer, Silhara of Neith. The priests want Martise to expose the sorcerer's treachery and turn him over to Conclave justice. A risky endeavor, but one she accepts without hesitation--until she falls in love with her intended target.
Silhara of Neith, Master of Crows, is a desperate man. The god called Corruption invades his mind, seducing him with promises of limitless power if he will help it gain dominion over the world. Silhara struggles against Corruption's influence and searches for ways to destroy the god. When Conclave sends Martise as an apprentice to help him, he knows she's a spy. Now he fights a war on two fronts--against the god who would possess him and the apprentice who would betray him.
Mage and spy search together for a ritual that will annihilate Corruption, but in doing so, they discover secrets about each other that may damn them both. Silhara must decide if his fate, and the fate of nations, is worth the soul of the woman he has come to love, and Martise must choose continued enslavement or freedom at the cost of a man's life. And love.
Complicated and complex, this book features some unusual main characters. The setting, the world, the conflict, the gifts are all unexpected. Silhara is an anti-hero. He's a mage that dabbles in dark magic and he is being pursued by an evil god. He receives help from the Conclave specifically from his mortal enemy, Cumbria, a bishop of the Conclave. Cumbria sets to spy on Silhara by offering Martise to help him translate ancient texts that may hold the clue to destroying this god. Martise is a surprise, a plain Jane with a voice of silk, a heart of gold, and a will of iron. Their clashes and subsequent relationship develops slowly, incrementally through daily interactions and struggles. Nice, very nice.
The setting is fairly isolated. Much of it takes place at Neith manor. Silhara resides there with his friend/servant Gurn and his mage-finding dog, Cael. Being fairly settled in this one location, the story unfolds. The daily toil of harvesting the famously flavorful Neith Oranges from the grove to maintenance of the manor is shared between the few characters.
The story tilts towards the dark side, but the writing is vivid and rich. I could almost smell the orange blossom and the sweet taste of the fruit. It is a book to be savored, not rushed.
IN A NUTSHELL:
When you want something that original, well-written, and provides loads of satisfaction.
Posted by Wkonsunshine at 1:00 AM