Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thea Harrison - Lionheart

King Oberon reigned over his Dark Court in Lyonesse for centuries, until an assassination attempt laid him low. Now he lies unconscious in his snow-bound palace, while his Power battles the enchantment that threatens to end his life.

A skilled trauma surgeon and magic-user, Dr. Kathryn Shaw reigns at the top of her profession in New York. Then comes a challenge she can’t resist—she is asked to cure the uncureable. Just getting close enough to try healing Oberon is a dangerous proposition. When she does reach him, he awakens too soon.
Roused from darkness by Kathryn’s presence, Oberon confronts the beautiful stranger who claims she wants to save his life. But the enchantment has frozen his emotions. How can he learn to trust her when he can’t feel anything?
Oberon’s desire is icy, devoid of all tenderness. Not only must Kathryn match wits with him, she must also fight her reaction to his touch, because there is so much more at stake than her own endangered heart.
For the Dark Court faces its most deadly peril yet. Its ancient enemy Isabeau, Queen of the Light Court, is obsessed with its annihilation, and Oberon must be brought to remember his loyalty and affection for his people.
Because if he won’t fight for them, Lyonesse itself may very well be destroyed…

Comment: This is the third and final installment in the Moonshadow trilogy, a spin off of the well liked PNR Elder Races series by Thea Harrison. I'm glad I've finished another series!

In this book, following the events of the previous ones, dr Katheryn Shaw is asked to go to Lyonesse to see if she can help Oberon, the Dark Court king, for he has been in a sleep caused by a curse. Even though the person who did it is now free of his own curse (part of the plot of book #2), no one wants him near Oberon. Despite the time slips between Earth and Lyonesse, Kathryn agrees to go mostly for the medical challenge but when things seem to go well, she is amazed Oberon wakes up and turns out to be quite different from what he imagined. As Oberon improves and Kathryn thinks about the best strategy to help him, they can't seem to want to stay away from each other. Will there be a future after Oberon recovers? Will he defeat Isabeau from the Light Court once and for all?

When this book was released, many commented on the cover. Truly, it's not the best model and I don't imagine Oberon that way... perhaps a different model or a different photo shop edition might have helped but thankfully, the content is a lot more appealing. I should also mention that the author does a wonderful job making this accessible to any reader, no matter if one hadn't read the other books, but it's a much cozier and rewarding experience indeed if not reads the other books first.

This book's plot reminded me of sleeping beauty but the other way around! Oberon was cursed and by doing so went to sleep but his Power remained and it affected Lyonesse, mostly by giving the place a perpetual winter feel. I won't go into obvious clichés but Kathryn manages to wake up everything and how she does so certainly must not be a big surprise...

The challenging part comes after Oberon wakes up, how they must become a team, not only to help him improve as best as he can, but also in making is possible for the people of Lyonesse, in exile and unable to return for so long, finally come back and can think about having a future in the place they love. This is also clear on Oberon's part, who did what he did to protect as much of the land as possible. He obviously wants revenge but even this was done in a very logical manner.

In fact, all the books by this author I've read seem to derive from a very logical scheme (as opposed to only character-drive) and sometimes this wasn't enough to make me enjoy the stories while in others I was marveled. I've given 2 stars to some books and 5 stars to others for instance. I think this book is the proof the author has matured her style and ideas and everything about this book made me think about good planning, logical steps and consensual and practical behavior from the protagonists.

They both acted as adults and this might sound silly to say but so many protagonists in romances don't.... I suppose there were some scenes where I would have enjoyed a bit more passionate demonstrations they were affected by their emotions and feelings but to be fair, this is rather obvious too, in their actions and responses to what is happening. I wouldn't say they were falling madly in love but where, instead, giving in to their attraction, maturity and mutual respect. It was romantic in their own way.

The plot is a little predictable, both in terms of romance and how the improvement of life in Lyonesse happens, but also regarding the revenge stuff. Of course there's closure on this subject but perhaps not as one might have idealized. I have the opinion things went pretty well the way the author chose. 
There are some boring moments, though, throughout the book and yes, once or twice I wish things had been a bit more magical, special, heartfelt... but it's personal impression and not the book's flaw.

In general, this was a good farewell to this series... I see the author has plenty of novellas in this series but I don't plan on reading them. If this is the end of the "big picture" in the series for me, I don't say goodbye in a sad state. I think this was a well chosen plot/romance to do it. 
Grade: 8/10


  1. "I'm glad I've finished another series!"

    This feeling! I'm sometimes sad to leave the world but usually, the author has overextended the number of books in the series because it was popular. There's also something satisfying about mentally checking it off the list.

    1. Totally agree!
      In fact, some authors should do this more often, some series loose interest or quality over time. Or worse: there's big gaps of time between releases and they simply loose momentum.