Archive for September, 2011

Description From Goodreads:


Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.

Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can’t usurp her brother or negotiate a peace–but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.

But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara’s conscience won’t let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.

She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes…

The Warprize

Warprize, by Elizabeth Vaughan
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: **** 4 Stars
For me, WARPRIZE hit the spot, but it was not your typical epic fantasy or fantasy romance.  It reminded me a bit of the Daenerys Targaryen storyline in Game of Thrones (the sister who marries the warlord barbarian)…Xylara is given to Keir, the warlord barbarian, by her brother the king, and forced to live with him in his army camp.  But the similarity ends there.

Xylara believes she is a slave.  Keir demanded her as Warprize as part of a peace agreement with the Kingdom of Xy.  Despite her apparent captivity, Xylara begins to find a place in the army camp as a healer and even comes to appreciate the hard warlord that sleeps next to her and the ways of his people.  Meanwhile, Keir does everything he can to make Xylara feel welcome, while still maintaining his warrior pride.

Characters: *****5 Stars

I loved the characters in WARPRIZE.  Xylara is strong in her convictions, frequently standing up for what she believes in and facing down warriors twice her size and covered in weapons.  Yet she also maintains a certain vulnerability because of her lack of size and strength, and because her brother has emotionally wounded her by giving her away as a slave.  Similarly, Keir is a leader, strong and proud, but he seems to truly care for Xylara, who becomes his weakness.

The side characters were extremely well-drawn, rounding out a wonderful cast with Simus, the loud and humorous general; Gils, the wannabe apprentice healer; Joden, the Singer and storyteller who records the oral history of the clan; and Marcus, the always grumbling and grouchy manservant for Keir.

Plot: **** 4 Stars
The action was a little weak, the story mostly revolving around the relationships between the characters and the internal conflict.  However, that really didn’t bother me as the story was so strong in other areas, so I never really felt the lack.  If you like a character-driven novel, this would be a good pick.

Setting: ****4 Stars
The setting was beautifully developed.  I could almost taste the dust in the practice ring, or see the tents in the army camp, and there was a marked difference between the setting in the camp versus the setting in the city.  I became absorbed Xylara’s world, making the story flow around me as I read.

Romance: ***** 5 Stars
I really liked the level of romance in WARPRIZE.  The characters don’t just jump into bed right away…well, they sort of do since Keir installs Xylara in his tent and sleeps next to her, but they don’t do anything while they’re there for most of the story.  It gave them time to get to know each other and the author did a great job developing their relationship, including its flaws.

Genre – Fantasy: *** 3 Stars
This was not your typical modern fantasy novel.  There was no magic, no mystical creatures, no dwarves or elves or vampires.  In a way, it was more of an alternate world political intrigue and adventure story.  The focus of the plot was on the cultural conflict between these two very different peoples.  That being said, I think it’s a bit of a throwback to fantasy novels of the past.  The technology is medieval and life is a struggle for survival.  I thought it was refreshing to get away from the modern urban fantasy/paranormal romance for awhile.

Overall, I thought WARPRIZE was very well written and engaging.  I could hardly put it down and can’t wait to continue with the next installment.  I recommend this for people who are new to fantasy, enjoy strong characters and relationships, and/or don’t mind a slower-paced novel with a little less danger and physical excitement.


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