Friday, May 17, 2024

Lynn Kurland - Star of the Morning

Darkness covers the north, since the black mage has begun his assault on the kingdom of Neroche.
Legend has it that only the two magical swords held by Neroche's king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades...
In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. And Morgan will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword-and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined.

Comment: I had this book in the pile since 2013, and I think I added it because it was a fantasy story and I tend to like the genre. If I remember correctly, I also saw some vague comments here and there which suggested there would be specific elements in it I would like too.

In this story we meet Morgan, a shied maiden, or warrior, who likes her easy life on the island of Melksam but her mentor and father figure sends her on a mission, to deliver a blade to the king of Neroche. On the way, she travels with a small group of friends and they get mixed up with all kinds of adventures but Morgan is wary of the blade she carries because it has magic and Morgan grew up to despise all types of magic.
At the same time, Adhemar, the king of Neroche is also traveling, dealing with some royal business but also trying to find someone who could carry a magical sword in his castle, since his own magical sword lost its power. His younger brother Maich, the arch-mage, decides to find his brother after he had gone for a while, and he finds him with Morgan's group. He can't help but be drawn to Morgan but decides to keep his identity of of his brother's a secret, because the more time he spends with Morgan, the more he realizes she is the person they are looking for... but what will she do when she finds out the truth?

It can be quite risky to start a book without reading enough information about it because while the idea of keeping things vague for better enjoyment and without possible spoilers is a great one, it can also mean when a less than positive surprise happens, then one can blame only oneself... 

I say this because I had this book in the pile for so long, I barely paid attention to it, and now while reading it felt the story dragged, and I saw myself as one of those readers we see in memes or cartoons who wonder how it will be possible the plot to end that well when there are only, like, twenty pages left... well, it cannot be, for there are more books after and, unlike the majority of series, which have stand alone stories as part of a sequential main arc, here this is truly the first part of an ongoing series, from what I could understand after investigating better.

This means that in this book we only have a part of Morgan and Miach' romance, as well as the overall plot. There is a second and third book with them as protagonists, so... I guess 'd have to read the three to have the full experience and it is true this doesn't have to be that bad, but since I thought I was saving myself from spoilers which might be included in the blurb of the following books, I wasn't aware of this and now I feel a little let down.

That aside, the story was interesting and fantastical enough to make reading it enjoyable, but since things were slow and dragged a little, I will admit there were times I felt I wasn't accomplishing that much. I liked the hints of romance and I liked that this was, at its base, a story about a quest and about love/courage triumphing and so on, but the writing style seemed to also be a little sparse. There were also times it felt as if nothing really was happening, or not quickly enough, considering the characters had some urgency in their goals.

I liked the magical details and I liked that Morgan was clearly someone who had magic bus she despised it. I've found her personality captivating enough and the reasons why she was so opposed magic seemed solid, which was made even more important the more we learned about her past. She is certainly easy to root for, and she is a practical person. Although humor is a subjective matter, I liked some of her comments and some things she did/said were funny in that context.

Miach is harder to read, but deep down he is a softie who wants to do his duty, which he learns later on that could affect his personal wishes. He falls in love with Morgan through actions and time shared, which I found great, and no intimacy happens between them, which highlights the depth of their emotions, but while this is being described, it still felt vague, slightly superficial... I suppose it has to do with the writing style and the fact things were not discussed between the two of them, and I surely miss this, it's something I would have liked seen oriented better at this point.

The whole magic stuff in this world isn't hard to grasp, there are evil guys who need to be stopped, but the sort of cliffhanger in the end, when Morgan finds out who Miach and Adhemar really are, and something about her own identity too, was annoying because I feel there was no real reason to finish the story that way, unless is shock factor. I'm still debating if I really want to read the next book, on one hand I'm curious to see what happens, on the other it seems it's not just one book, but two more I'd need to read to know what I want, so....
Grade: 6/10

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