Saturday, February 2, 2008

Elizabeth Vaughan: Warsworn

Warsworn B+
The Chronicles of the Warlands #2

Xylara and Keir

In a fascinating sequel to Warprize (2005), Lara, the Queen of Xy, and Keir, warlord of the Firelanders, are on the way to his people's homeland. When scouts report that a walled village of the Xy has denied them entry, Keir and his troops are ready to annihilate the village. Lara intervenes, and discovers that a plague has killed nearly everyone inside. When she begins to sicken, Keir helps heal her. As the plague hits the entire army encampment, taking hundreds of lives, Keir’s second conspires to displace him. Readers will be delighted to learn more of the customs of this unique civilization, and they will enjoy the growing love between Lara and Keir. It is refreshing for the conflict in a romance to eschew petty misunderstandings and present, instead, life-and-death situations through which together the hero and heroine become stronger. The emphasis is on the emotional rather than the physical in Vaughan's unusual and thoroughly enjoyable tale. Diana Tixier Herald ( – booklist)

*SPOILERS about the first book, Warprize*

Warsworn continues in the journey of Lara and Keir as they make their trip back to the Plains, Keir’s home.

The readers now know that a warprize is not a sex slave, or even a slave for that matter. It is a treasure, something that is treated preciously because of its worth. A warprize usually offers the tribe a type of a special revolution – a gift that brings benefits and change. Lara, met with this information in the last book, was able to give herself freely to Keir, knowing that he prized her – and she was given special status because of her uniqueness.

They are traveling to the Plains when they pass by a village where a plague has overcome them. Keir, out of love and fear for Lara, is against entering this village to find out more about the illness, but Lara is determined to try and help find the cure to whatever illness has caused the destruction of an entire village.

She goes in and lo behold, falls sick. Not having discovered the cure, she knows she must kill herself so that the illness isn’t taken back to Keir and the soldiers.

However, Keir is unwilling to let her go and she is retrieved…bringing the illness to the entire tribe. And when Keir falls sick…

I felt that this was a good sequel to Warprize, but I don’t feel that it surpasses it. This book is a little gritty, with lots of death. There is also a loss of many beloved secondary characters, something that I felt brought about realness to the book but not necessarily happiness. (And I don’t really have a problem with people dying…) As with the first book, there were some scenes that melted my heart, like when Keir saves Lara (*sigh*).

When Lara insisted on going in and discovering the cure to the illness – or at least offering her help – I wanted to strangle her. Why?! She had everything going for her! Why would she jeopardize it? But the fact that she did go in, knowing that she might not survive, is a trait that is indicative of her character – compassionate and full of desire to heal. Keir’s anger with her was just and made him that much more drool-worthy. *sigh* (Seriously, he’s a hunk. I want him…)

It’s a good tale, captivating and exciting and I’m excited to read the last installment of the series.

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