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4.5 out of 5 stars26
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on 26 April 2006
When I ordered this book I wasn't expecting much story outside of the male-female stuff that's obligagory in a romance novel. Was I wrong!

Vaughan builds a totally believable world around a strong female character and the difficulties she faces as a healer in a siege situation. Her moral dilemmas are nicely handled and the description of the herbs and processes she heals with are entirely convincing. This is no 'filler' plot; Lara's dilemma is finely and beautifully drawn.

Characterisation is great here, and each person introduced--however minor--seems to sparkle with both a part and a future. Unfortunately, this rule seems to break only for Lara's brother the King, a character who could certainly do with being fleshed out a bit more believably. The Warlord too, it pains me to say, intrigues but never fully convinces.

The main complaint I would have, the one that prevented me from giving five stars, is that the major plot twist that changes Lara's situation is telegraphed from almost the first chapter. I like to figure out what's going to happen, not be hit up the face with it on every second page!

Complaints aside, though, I thoroughly recommend picking this book up. I guarantee you'll be ordering the second in the series before the spine is properly closed on the final page.
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Xylara "Lara" is daughter of the late Warrior King Xyron. As such, Lara always knew her fate was a political alliance marriage. Still, Lara's interest has always been healing. Therefore, she grew up and became a Master Healer. Lara treats her people, as well as the prisoners of war. To a Healer, it did not matter if the patient is friend or foe, only that he needs wounds treated. Her half-brother, Xymund, sits on the throne and rules the Kingdom of Xy, but does not do a good job of it. The warring "Firelanders" would soon conquer Xy.
Lara was shunned when she first went to aid the enemy warriors in the prison section. But after much persistence and then proving her healing abilities, the wounded warriors accepted her and looked forward to her visits. It is Lara's fighting spirit, good heart, and healing talent that changes her fate.
When King Xymund and Warlord Keir meet to discuss "true peace", the Warlord demands Lara as "Warprize". Xymund swears fealty to Keir and Lara goes with Keir, not knowing what to expect. But the peace is threatened as assassination attempts are made on Lara. If the Warprize should did, the lands will run red with the blood of thousands.
***** Absolutely fantastic! I lost half a night of sleep because I could not stop reading this novel. Lara and Keir will have three books. But do not worry, this book does not end and leave you hanging. (I hate it when a book does that.) This tale blends what seems to be historical romance (horses, swords, etc) with fantasy. It is obviously not something that could have ever happened on Earth; however, the book never mentions what planet it is set on. If not for the fantasy elements, you could very well believe this was set back in the days of Vikings or knights. Highly recommended reading! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 7 December 2005
Warprize is a fantasy romance, the beginning of a planned trilogy.
Xylara (Lara) is a healer first, but she is also a royal princess, and when war breaks out between her people an the Firelanders, she takes advantage of her brothers largess in stating that the enemy wounded will be treated as well as there own wounded. Unfortunately his decree was only for show and his intentions were no where near as noble. Lara, however, can not justify to herself lack of treatment to any wounded person, friend or enemy, and uses her own resources to care for the enemy wounded and in doing so discovers they bleed red just like anyone else and are indeed men of honour even if of different races than her own.
When the Warlord of the Firelanders calls off the siege and demands peace talks with the King, Lara's half brother, he also demands Lara as a Warprize. When the King tells Lara she is to be given as slave to the Warlord and gives her poison to either kill herself or the Warlord, she realizes that her brother does not intend to adhere to the intention of the treaty but rather to kill the prisoners prior to their release, as the treaty stated all living prisoners were to be released. She goes to the prisoners and offers herself as a hostage if needed. After all, the king won't kill her as she is the Warprize and the peace is contingent on getting her.
She is to be presented to the Warlord in nothing but a white shift and to take nothing that is not given her by his hand. Imagine her surprise when she realizes she has met the Warlord in the market when she was buying supplies for his men.
It is not until much later, after she has fallen in love with the honourable Warlord, she discovers the extent of her brothers' treachery, that being a Warprize is a highly honoured position much like wife, and not slave as she had been led to believe and that Kier loves her as deeply as she loves him.
The Kings treachery is further revealed in an assignation attempt which is almost successful on Lara's life to which the Warlord Kier reacts aggressively.
What will happen now that Lara's kingdom has no King? Will she be forced to take the crown she does not want and forfeit the man she does?
This is a wonderful, wonderful story of love, honour, justice, sacrifice and the stubbornness of a woman in love with an honorable man. This is a book that will leave you with eagerly awaiting the next in the trilogy.
although this doesnt show the feeling found in this book the only way to yunderstand the glow it leaves you with is to read it yourself
44 comments43 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 January 2007
I thought this book was utterly brilliant - what a delight to read a fantasy with some romance which was well-written, the characters well-drawn and which had an interesting message.

Warprize is set in a quasi-Mediaeval world where Xylara is the half-sister of the king, Xymund. Unfortunately Xymund is a bad king and has been unsuccessful at keeping the Firelander warriors from his land - in fact, they are almost at the point of besieging his castle. Xylara works as a healer, a doctor, for the injured from both sides of the battle.

It's in going against her brother's wishes and tending to the sick of the Firelanders that she first begins to get involved in a situation which will change her life forever. She picks up the language of the Firelanders, once they learn to trust her ministrations, and is there when a new injured man is brought in. She discovers that he is actually a very important man within the warrior hierarchy of the Firelanders but chooses not to share this information with her half-brother as she knows it would mean this man's death.

Unfortunately for Xylara, her work with the Firelander men has brought her to the attention of the Warlord of the Firelanders and she discovers that in order to cement a peace treaty her half-brother has given her as tribute to the Warlord as a slave, called a Warprize. Because she is an honourable woman with a sense of duty to her people she submits to this slavery, being taken to the huge camp of the Firelanders and installed in the Warlord's tent.

And thus begins Xylara's discovery of a new culture. It's this that is written particularly well in these books - it is so easy to be confused by strange things from another person's culture and Xylara continually finds herself in unusual situations. As in real life there is good and bad in both cultures and she finds aspects of the Firelanders' culture to be good although others, particularly their treatment of the sick, to be bad. And the Warlord himself, Keir, seems surprisingly gentle with his slave. Perhaps these people aren't barbarians after all. Called only "The Warprize" amongst the people and fearful of her position within them she tries to learn about this different culture and to understand its differences, knowing all the time that the fragile peace between her peoples and the Firelanders may rely on her efforts. And yet peace is not there as she watches the Warlord kill people, she herself is under attack and there seems to be treason fomenting within the Firelanders' camp.

Warprize is definitely several notches above the other books in this genre I have read. It's very readable and the characters are all well-differentiated and different; there's a gentle romance, there are some questions and issues that aren't answered in this book but that only encouraged me to read the next and didn't annoy me. I particularly enjoyed the cultural misunderstandings portrayed and although they aren't ones that we in our world would have they rang true - it's easy to see how people can get the wrong end of the stick when meeting an entirely new culture. Xylara is a very likeable heroine, not whiny or stupid or continually throwing herself into danger but she is a loyal, trustworthy and pleasant young woman; Keir is a mixture of a warrior with a temper and a gentle man courting a maiden and although we don't see as much of him and his personality he's still a worthy hero. This is a book that I know I will enjoy reading again and again - it's going straight onto my "keeper" shelf.
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on 24 July 2008
First of all, the basics:

The heroine of WARPRIZE is Xylara, daughter of the deceased Warrier King Xyron, and half-sister to the incompetent Xymund, who now rules the land of Xy. (Don't worry, the stupid names end there).
Despite her royal blood, the pomp and circumstance of royal ceremonies and traditions have never interested her, instead her greatest wish was to become a Master Healer. Never one to deny her, her father allowed her to train under the castle Master Healer, and forgoe most of her more tedious royal duties.
Now, with their Kingdom under siege from the frightful Warlord and his warring Firelanders, she is healer to both her own people and the enemy, for she cannot deny any who need her help. Despite her brother's express wishes, she tends the wounded prisioners of war, overcoming their natural suspicions of her, and learning their language and customs in return.
When peace comes, however, it is at a price...the Firelander Warlord has claimed her as a Warprize in exchange for the cease-fire, and Xylara knows she must trade the life she has always known for the well-being and future safety of her people, and so submits.

WARPRIZE is the first of the trilogy, to be followed by WARSWORN and WARLORD. It is Elizabeth Vaughan's first novel, which came as a shock to me: it is very well written, with a plot that keeps you in suspense and entertained with ease. The characters are vivid and well-drawn, very believable in their actions and you come to love all of them in turn!
I found myself laughing outloud, cringing at moments, holding my breath in suspense at the action bits, and even teary-eyed a few times. It drew me into it's world completely, so much so that every time I glanced at the clock 2 hours had usual gone by...I was never bored, even at the 'slow' bits, and I couldn't put the book down. What more can you ask from a novel?!
Warprize is a fantasy romance (although it could just as easily be set in some medieval lands, so you could definitely read it just for the romance...if you like your romances' to have a good plot and other characters surrounding the Hero and Heroine as well...this isn't a trashy novel), so if you don't like that genre, then I can't guarantee you'll love this book as much as I did! All I can say is give it a go. I still wasn't convinced after reading all the reviews, so if your like me, then read the extracts on Vaughan's webpage: [...] If you like them, then you will love this book, I promise :)

The romance between Lara and Kier is very well written. Their emotions and reactions are believable and touching, and as a reader you really believe in their love for each other! It grows throughout the book, and stays with you after you've finished. The sex is not explicit, which was rather refreshing after reading the likes of Gena Showalter and J R Ward, but is still sensual and affects the reader. If you are looking for a trashy novel rather than a love story of two strong and equal individuals, then maybe this isn't the book for you (as one reviewer complained that the sex scene wasn't long enough..)

WARNING: If, like me, you get so absorbed in Lara and Kiers world that you read the extracts for WARSWORN and WARLORD too...then be prepared for some general plot spoilers!!! You have been warned. Nothing groundbreaking but still slight spoilers.

PS: Warprize is written in first person, which I dont mind at all, but some readers might.
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on 23 January 2012
A wonderful example of what a romantic futuristic book can be (this is how it is being marketed). This book also has a very lovely historical romance feel to it. Yet never once does it feel like a bodice ripper. This is a sweet and almost innocent love story. The author will give you just enough narrative in the love scene and then leaves enough to our fertile imaginations to fill in the rest.

This is a book that is filled with misunderstanding, since the 'Warprize' really never gets any of her questions answered, nor does she feel it is appropriate to ask so many question since she is only a slave. Or so she was told by her brother; the defeated King who gave her up to the conquering hero, the ultra-blue eyed and very sexy hunk Kier.

Richly written characters, a fully formed world(and I find that unusual with first books in a min-series like this one is), adventurous enough for most people and each book coming after this one will be just as good if not even better, as they go off and deal with their enemies, plagues etc. (I have read the entire series)

This book withstands the test of time and will be a pleasure to re-read in future years as it was the first time you read it. And a big plus is that this is not a book where the hero or the heroine is filled with self-loathing or any angst at all. It was such a pleasure to read a book (series) in which the characters actually are content with themselves.
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on 21 March 2007
Xylara (Lara) is a healer as well as being the King of Xy's half-sister. The kingdom is currently at war with the barbarian Firelanders, but Lara refuses to take sides, treating the injured of both armies. Terms of surrender are agreed and they are fair, but for the peace to hold Lara must go to the Firelander's Warlord and be his Warprize.

I first read this story in 2005, when it was my joint favourite book of the year. (The other being Dark Lover by J.R.Ward). I think it is possibly the best fantasy romance I've read and it definitely ranks as one of the best first books in a trilogy. I'm not sure why it has been reissued as a paranormal - this makes me think there would be the possibility of werewolves or vampires appearing (something along those lines) and that just isn't the case.

The reason it works so well is because of the heroine - Lara. The story is told from her point of view and she makes us experience her world through her eyes - we know her hopes, confusions, fears and desires. She is not a perfect heroine; she is stubborn, opinionated and occasionally acts without thinking.

What raises Warprize above other similar books is the depth of the storytelling. Elizabeth Vaughn virtually paints a picture with words allowing the reader to fully experience the world she has created. There is a huge cultural difference between Lara, daughter of Xy and the Warlord of the plains who claims her which leads to misunderstandings. But these are not two-dimensional conveniences; there is a feeling of a vast Firelander culture that gives them substance and meaning.

There is an intense chemistry between the Warlord and his Warprize, apparent whenever they are together. Whilst the relationship between Lara and the Warlord is at the heart of the book, it is everything that surrounds it that makes this such a satisfying read. The secondary characters are well-written - each an individual with their own story to tell, the cultural differences between the two peoples, the vivid descriptions of the world and the machinations of various characters who oppose the tenuous peace.

Elizabeth Vaughn has written a book where you care what happens to the characters. Highly recommended.

Warsworn (Book 2)

Warlord (Book 3)
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on 3 April 2010
I was really looking forward to Warprize but I have to say I was a little disappointed by the story and how it developed. I'm not going to go over the synopsis as others have done this already. The start was promising, the characters were interesting and I enjoyed being introduced to this world (though some of it was a bit silly...a city built over a water fall called Water's Fall? Really?).

There was no real explanation as to WHY Xylara was chosen by the leader of the Firelanders - not even when we discover the 'misunderstanding', it still doesn't make any sense. Keir saw her once and then decided to make her the Warprize, which means he is happy to have her living in his tent - on ONE short meeting where they hardly even interacted? It's just too far-fetched for me.

The one thing that I found really disappointing was the lazy editing and sloppy writing. There were parts where I had to read and then re-read the same passage because it wasn't clear what was happening or who was talking to whom. This really began to annoy me and I thought it was really poor. There were also a lot of very obvious spelling errors. In general, Elizabeth's Vaughn's writing style was good but I felt as if there were parts where she got lazy or someone didn't bother editing it properly - but this isn't really good enough for a published book, in my opinion.

Lara starts the book as quite a sensible, intelligent healer but once she is with the Firelanders, she is treated (and accepts being treated) like some brainless china doll (on the orders of Keir, everyone has to rush around making sure she's always safe and sound; despite this, she somehow manages to end up in quite a few scrapes and brushes with death, so that Keir can come back and be ohso angry with everyone that his little treasure has been harmed - please). I found myself constantly rolling my eyes at the mary sue aspect of the entire thing.

The love story between Xylara and Keir was silly. Keir is drawn as a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out who is totally devoted to Lara for no obvous reason, made even worse by the fact that the book is written in first person so you get no insight into anything about Keir at all. He is OBSESSED with keeping Lara safe though why he would care so much about this woman that he only met once is totally incomprehensible. There was no real 'journey' where he could have fallen in love with her; he brings her back to their camp and the reader is supposed to immediately accept that he would kill members of his tribe if they do anything negative to this woman who is onstensibly a total stranger to them and to him. It just didn't make any sense and the 'love' there is just too sugary sweet and unbelievable for my taste.

After this book, I read Maria Snyder's "Poison Study" and Emily Gee's "Thief with no Shadow" and I must say that both of those worked better than this book, in terms of both the fantasy and romance, so I suggest trying out one of those rather than this one.
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on 11 January 2009
'Warprize', 'Warsworn' and 'Warlord' are a wonderfully romantic series of fantasy books with plenty of adventure to keep the less romantic souls happy as well.

Enough readers have already very efficiently summarised the plot of which the review by Helen Hancox is my favourite (watch out for spoilers in one or two of the others). I just want to say how much I enjoyed the read. Having just finished the entire series, I would say that this is the best of the three. 'Warprize' doesn't end on a complete cliff-hanger so in the unlikely case you don't like it you aren't left with having to 'duty read' the next ones. In response to a point raised by someone who did not like the book... I don't think that the book is meant to be 'realistic'. It is a fantasy romance novel and I for one really appreciate it when things happen which in real life might be a bit far-fetched. At least, when the 'right' far-fetched things happen *g*

Update: I have re-read this book several times now. Just the type of feel-good story you want when the weather is foul and you need a bit of a tonic. A cup of hot chocolate in your hand, your feet up on the sofa and 'Warprize' will provide you with pure comfort reading and a truly romantic fantasy experience.

My star ratings are the result of the following breakdown:
How difficult was it to put the book down: extremely difficult = five stars
Would I buy the hardcover of this one: yes = five stars
Am I likely to read it again: ...and again and again = five stars
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on 13 March 2007
Xylara (Lara) is a healer as well as being the King of Xy's half-sister. The kingdom is currently at war with the barbarian Firelanders, but Lara refuses to take sides, treating the injured of both armies. Terms of surrender are agreed and they are fair, but for the peace to hold Lara must go to the Firelander's Warlord and be his Warprize.

I first read this story in 2005, when it was my joint favourite book of the year. (The other being Dark Lover by J.R.Ward). I think it is possibly the best fantasy romance I've read and it definitely ranks as one of the best first books in a trilogy.

The reason it works so well is because of the heroine - Lara. The story is told from her point of view and she makes us experience her world through her eyes - we know her hopes, confusions, fears and desires. She is not a perfect heroine; she is stubborn, opinionated and occasionally acts without thinking. For which I'm truly grateful, perfect heroes and heroines are boring.

What raises Warprize above other similar books is the depth of the storytelling. Elizabeth Vaughn virtually paints a picture with words, allowing the reader to fully experience the world she has created. There is a huge cultural difference between Lara, daughter of Xy and the Warlord of the plains who claims her, which leads to misunderstandings. But these misinterpretations are not two-dimensional conveniences; there is a feeling of a vast Firelander culture that gives them substance and meaning.

There is an intense chemistry between the Warlord and his Warprize, apparent whenever they are together and whilst the relationship between Lara and the Warlord is at the heart of the book, it is everything that surrounds it that makes this such a satisfying read. The secondary characters are well-written - each an individual with their own story to tell, the cultural differences between the two peoples, the vivid descriptions of the world and the machinations of various characters who oppose the tenuous peace.

Elizabeth Vaughn has written a book where you care what happens to the characters. Highly recommended.

Warsworn (Book 2)

Warlord (Book 3)
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