These tales set in the Nine Kingdoms fascinate me. The stories are very reminiscent of the fairy tales that I enjoyed as a child, full of magic and beauty balanced by darkness and evil. Ms. Kurland delivers taking her readers far away from modern confines into a fantasy world of her imagination.
Acair of Ceanagil comes from dark stock and presents himself as a black mage. As the story proves, he has many redeeming features. In fact, Liersinn’s inner eye can clearly see his soul perfectly balanced between dark and light. Given his propensity to do good while on this quest and his history of black wizardry, readers wonder where he’ll end up on the light to dark spectrum. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait till the next chapter of the quest to find the answer to that question. This middle chapter of their story is really about Liersinn’s awakening as Acair and Liersinn advance their quest. It’s apparent that she’s more than the simple horse maid with no magic. Sollier’s strong interest in her definitely indicates that she has a background, that while still shrouded in mystery, is key to the fabric of the nine kingdoms. I love the scene where she’s walking as if in a dream picking up threads of magic and twirling them like curls in her hair as she’s moving along. And who is the beautiful lady who partners with Sollier to lend a hand where and when she can?
Even as so many questions still remain, we have answers too. We know why the pools of shadow are being created. Of course, the question of who is creating these and why is still shrouded in mystery. I enjoyed the portrayal of the pieces of Acair’s soul and his spells that he’s left behind in so many interesting dark places. Of course, the retrieval of such spells often ends up with the three companions fleeing in terror, along with their shape-changing horses.
If you are a fan of the series, one of the things you will find interesting is how perceptions are re-shaped of certain characters that we’ve met in other books along the way. The witchwoman of fas, who I viewed as evil, is painted in a much kinder light through her interactions with her son and Liersinn. She’s not above taking advantage of a prince of Neroche in her cottage and the benefit it might bring her, but even that is not in a truly evil way.
As always the ending leaves me agape and anxiously panting for the next chapter.
THE SPELLBINDING NINE KINGDOMS SAGA CONTINUES AS A MAGE WITHOUT MAGIC AND A STABLE MAID WITHOUT A HOME FACE THE APPROACHING SHADOWS OF DARKNESS—AND CHOICES THAT WILL CHANGE THEM BOTH FOREVER…
Acair of Ceangail, still dodging his reputation as a notorious black mage, has undertaken the ultimate quest: ridding the world of a mysterious, terrible dark magic while using no magic of his own. But he never bargained for three maddening complications: attempting to safeguard his beautiful but horse-obsessed companion, Léirsinn; trying not to slay a profoundly irritating prince of Neroche; and slipping in and out of places he knows will spell his doom if he’s caught.
Léirsinn of Sàraichte simply wants to do what needs to be done—find the makers of various spells and rescue her grandfather. But walking side by side with Acair brings a terrible revelation about the magic she needs, and what its price will exact from her soul.
Together, Acair and Léirsinn face danger they never could have imagined, culminating in choices that will alter them and the history of the Nine Kingdoms forever.
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