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Warlord Unknown Binding – 2008
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Top customer reviews
Warlord has been marketed as a paranormal romance and I don't think this is the correct genre for this book. There are no werewolves or vampires, and readers expecting them because of the paranormal labelling may be disappointed.
After everything seemed to fall apart for Lara and Keir in Warsworn (the second book of the trilogy) things finally come together here. Lara realises in Warlord what a task it will be to try and unite the Xyian and Plains (Firelander) way of life; and that there will be no easy answers or solutions. Keir remains intractable as far as the Warrior Priests are concerned, though it becomes clear that they are not all bad - it's nice to have this stubborn (and loyal) side of his character highlighted. There are references back to things that happened in Warprize and Warsworn, so if you haven't read those books for a while you may want to refresh your memory before starting the third book. Although the Warprize story is concluded here, there are many questions left unanswered and my fingers are crossed that Elizabeth Vaughn will return to these in a future book. I'd rate the trilogy as a whole at 5 stars.
"Warlord" begins as the army of the People of the Plains is travelling to the Heart of the Plains (sort of like their capital city only made of tents) to have Xylara validated as Warprize. It seems throughout this story that people tend to keep Lara in the dark - they don't seem to spend a lot of time explaining cultural matters to her, and as they travel towards the Heart of the Plains she doesn't really know what her validation involves. Keir's time as they journey is spent in trying to keep his army together after the devastation of the plague and to counteract the machinations of Iften, Keir's second in command.
We meet some new characters such as Keekai, one of the Elders who will be making judgement on Lara's status as Warprize and we learn a lot more about the Warrior-Priests who have had a very bad reputation since book one and which Keir has vowed to destroy. When Lara arrives at the Heart of the Plains the descriptions of life there are excellent - the reality of a harsh nomadic life is tempered by joy of their dances and community spirit. However, by the time Lara arrives, news has arrived from other locations which paint her as an evil city dweller who has spread plague, who lies and who cannot be trusted and she has to fight her corner in a culture so different that it is hard for her to know what's right. She is separated from Keir who hasn't really told her what to expect, so Lara has to make her own decisions and choices to try and help things to turn out right.
There were some really excellent parts to this book - particularly the ehat hunt - and as in the other two stories the world building and the cultural differences between Lara's and Keir's people are very well written. We understand the confusion of each of them when dealing with strange aspects of the other's world and yet their bond of love is stronger than these differences. The lifestyles of the Plains people, including homosexuality, are very strange to Lara but she is able to accommodate within her limits (such as still bathing privately) in a way which is a good model of cultural merging.
Whilst reading this trilogy I wondered about Iften, the apparent baddie. Would he change? Would we understand and appreciate his opposition to Keir? Would he prove to be a worthy and stalwart supporter at the end? He has some chances to change in this book and we hear just a few hints about his life but I think a little more could have been done with his character.
What I particularly liked about this book was that it didn't take the easy option of everything working out fine in the end. It was a satisfying ending and one that felt possible but our characters are by no means now headed for a life of plain sailing and there were still a handful of loose ends for the reader to think about after finishing the book.
All in all this is an excellent series and very well written and enjoyable.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book [...] © 2007 Helen Hancox
I too would give this book four and a half, the missing star being due to the ending which for me didn't quite hit the dramatic climax that I had been expecting. As another reviewer has mentioned, the scene is certainly set for a follow on which would immediately go to the top of my 'must buy' list.
This book also provided me with an addition to my 'un-missable reading delights' list. To those who have read the book... Lara, Keir, council and lovebite... I am sure most will share the whoops of laughter that echoed in my house. If you have not read it... well, for me, this scene alone was worth the prize I paid for the book!
My star ratings are the result of the following breakdown:
How difficult was it to put the book down: difficult = four stars
Would I buy the hardcover of this one: probably = four stars
Am I likely to read it again: definitely = five stars
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