All Sasha wants is a simple life, since she's spent the last fifteen years running - mostly across and around L.A. Because, although she might feel and look normal, Sasha is not. She wasn't even born on Earth. Her father is a prince from a far away world, who visited once, fell in love - with Sasha's mother, Sun - and took her back with him to become a princess.
But all was not well in Khanerenth, and when Sasha was ten she and her mother were thrust through the World Gate and ordered to hide until her father found them. Fifteen years later there is still no sign of Math, but others have discovered them instead.
After Sasha is tricked back through the World Gate, she soon learns that running around L.A was the least of her problems. And just what is that pirates agenda anyway?
Before picking up a Sherwood Smith book it's best to be aware that nearly all (with one or two other exceptions) take place on the same world - but not all at the same time. Occasionally not even in the same century. As such, there is a lot of history here - masses - and references that will only make sense if you've read some of her other stories (from Crown Duel
, it all ties in). Personally I don't mind that. I haven't read all of her books but I enjoy the complexity. If it's not your kind of thing, however, these books will frustrate you.
The sections told in first person - Sasha - work nicely, since she's more used to our world than the other, and makes a good guide. She's also a strong-willed, intelligent, capable heroine who has spent her life training in fencing and martial arts for days like these. True, at times she seems more 17 than 25, but that didn't bother me much. As a lead character she's interesting and far from feeble, which suits me fine.
The other sections, told in third, are much heavier on the inside information - particularly Prince Jehan's Norsunder discussion - but it all adds depth to this delightfully detailed world.
Yes, there are shades of Crown Duel's Vidanric in Zathdar, and a similar situation at the academy that comes up in Inda, but it all fits in with the ambitions and politics of this world.
If you like intelligent fantasy, scattered with politics, history and a hint of romance, Sherwood Smith is for you. Especially if you like heroines who have no trouble taking care of themselves, while the heroes aren't afraid to do what they must for the good of their country. Oh, and a hint of swash-buckling thrown in for good measure.
Then pick up Twice A Prince
, because the ending here just left me needing more.