This book continues the series, picking up in a world where kingdoms are, with increasing frequency, ruled by a pair of rulers that includes a mage. Allegra, a young girl from Aronsdale, has been accepted in the mages' training center in the capital; she knows that she has some power, but also realizes that her power is quite limited. As she is traveling from her parents' farm, she is captured and kidnapped; her captures are rough bandits from Jazid who have crossed the border in order to capture a gird with specific physical features. During their flight into Jazid, she is treated badly and is only saved from rape by the leader of the band. When they arrive in their camp, she discovers the reason for her capture: she is to sold to a "general" from the remnants of the defeated Jazid army. She also learns that her new role is to be a "pleasure slave," with all the unsavory associations; In Jazid, she is not even a human being, and she will be expected to show absolute obedience to her owner, whatever he may require of her. At the auction, she is purchased by the Prince Regent, much to the dismay of the main general of their army, a man who takes pleasure from others' pain and humiliation. She knows that this general, Dusk, still desires her and keeps trying to escape.
This novel definitely had a dark side: many of the male characters in Jazid are unsettling and, in some instances, disgusting, evil folks. Readers who don't read about this should steer clear. If that is not a deal-breaker, the novel is, like Asaro's many other books, a compelling read. The plot is powerful and engaging; the central characters, especially Allegra, is a strong woman who refuses to settle into her new life as a slave (and wife); the writing is up to Asaro's usual high standards. Because of the caveat discussed above, I would not recommend it for younger readers. Otherwise, I would recommend it for more mature readers who like sword and sorcery novels.
- Paperback: 571 pages
- Publisher: Luna; 1 edition (1 July 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0373802684
- ISBN-13: 978-0373802685
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 454 g
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