Three generations ago Captain Vidarian Rulorat's great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to commit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to generations of a rare genetic disease that follows families who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidarian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy, and finds himself chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement, a seventy-year-old alliance between his family and the High Temple of Kara'zul, domain of the fire priestesses.
The priestess Endera has called upon Vidarian to fulfill his family's obligation by transporting a young fire priestess named Ariadel to a water temple far to the south, through dangerous pirate-controlled territory. A journey perilous in the best of conditions is made more so by their pursuers: rogue telepathic magic-users called the Vkortha who will stop at nothing to recover Ariadel, who has witnessed their forbidden rites.
Together, Vidarian and Ariadel will navigate more than treacherous waters: Imperial intrigue, a world that has been slowly losing its magic for generations, secrets that the priestesshoods have kept for longer, the indifference of their elemental goddesses, gryphons—once thought mythical—now returning to the world, and their own labyrinthine family legacies. Vidarian finds himself at the intersection not only of the world's most volatile elements, but of colliding universes, and the ancient and alien powers that lurk between them.
Comment: I think I've decided to read this book because it hinted at a romance in the middle of an interesting fantasy world. I was convinced I should try it when I saw the suggestive cover. It's truly beautiful.
This book follows the adventures of Vidarian, a sea captain, and how he was asked by a fire priestess to take another priestess to another place where she's needed. During the voyage, the two of them have to fight enemies and deal with changes to not only their lives but to their beliefs. Vidarian also has to deal with the fact gryphons exist, something he didn't think was real.
I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the story. in terms of fantasy it was rich and intriguing and amazing. But I thought things moved along too soon for me to follow...I mean, I'd like to have some more time for the characters to talk and explain, a certain more balance so I could follow the story better. I think the book was easy to read but it wasn't very fluid, at least not enough for me.
The story itself was intriguing and I was actually amazed at the author's imagination in developing things, in making new things show up to increase the intensity of the story. I didn't put the book down except when I had to and I was reluctant to do so. I confess many things were interesting and innovative. I just think some things happened to fast for me, I need a bit more explanations about things or at least I'd have liked to see more dialogue, more empathy in the characters, perhaps a little more characterization of them, of what they thought, what they liked, their lives..I think the society part could be a bit more...romanticized. Not that it should have more romance (although it could have) but that it could have a bigger focus on the mundane things, the society tidbits and nuances. I think it would enrich the novel more.
In the end, I liked it but all the good things didn't make me forget the ones that could be better..I'm not going back to world so soon, but perhaps one day I'll get back to it just so I could know what happened to the characters, especially the gryphons, my favorites.