Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Mage's Daughter by Lynn Kurland

The Mage's Daughter

The Mage's Daughter
by Lynn Kurland

Trade Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
First Released: 2008

Source: Bought from Amazon

Back Cover Blurb:
Darkness in the kingdom...
Neroche is under assault by a mysterious magic that has stripped its king of his powers and unleashed nightmarish creatures as weapons in a war of evil. Morgan of Melksham is fighting against that menace as well as for her life. Struggling to regain her strength after a near-fatal attack, Morgan realizes that she must decide between two fates: that of being a simple shieldmaiden or accepting her heritage as an elven princess. If only she could forget that she was the daughter of the perilous black mage of Ceangail...

Magic in the blood...
Duty bound to aid his king, Miach of Neroche is torn between what his responsibilities demand and what his heart desires. He is willing to risk his life to rescue Morgan from the darkness that haunts her, but he must do so at the peril of his realm. Forced to choose between love and the burden of his mantle, Miach sets out on his most deadly quest ever.

This book is a "fantasy romance" according to the back cover. However, it's focus is almost purely on the romance. Very little forward momentum happens on the action/fantasy side of things.

Morgan was poisoned at the end of the last book and spends most of this book recovering her strength. Scene after scene in this book is Morgan learning shocking things about her past or people she knows, then she bursts into tears and Miach comforts her (thus winning her love). By the end, Miach finally figures out what's been causing the damage to his spells (which would have been obvious to him sooner if he hadn't been so distracted with Morgan). The end is left as a cliff-hanger, with the big battles just ahead. Only the relationship between Morgan and Miach resolved.

The well-developed characters from the first book are almost completely abandoned (including the king and all of Morgan's fighting buddies). A lot of new characters are introduced, but little time was spent on developing those characters or the world they lived in. For example, the races of the world are humans, dwarves, and elves. Dwarves seem to be short humans, and elves seem to be extremely beautiful humans (they don't even have pointy ears). The new characters seem to have been added solely so that the main characters have someone to interact with, either to briefly aid them or stand in their way (though they're no serious threat). These new characters have so little depth they can be simply identified: noble rival; pitiful enemy; dangerous enemy; protective granddad; understanding grandma; cruel rival; and so on.

There was enough cursing in this book that I noticed it. As previously noted, the pacing was slow and some scenes felt very repetitive. There is kissing, but no sex. The magic is of the typical fantasy sort. I'd rate this as "fairly clean fun."

Excerpt: Chapter One

Tor Neroche was under siege.

Miach of Meroche stood at his window and stared down into the courtyard below, contemplating the truth of that. It had been a brutal, unrelenting assault on the front gates for the previous fortnight. Now, though, it was only the latecomers who were rushing into the courtyard, come in their finery to witness the nuptials of Adhemar, king of Neroche, to the lovely and very demanding Adaira of Penrhyn.

The inside of the palace showed just how thorough the onslaught had been. There was hardly a scrap of floor within that was not covered by some sort of servant, pile of luggage, or minor noble wishing he had either come sooner or with more money to bribe the Mistress of the Wardrobe into giving him a decent place to sleep. Miach had found himself grateful for a change that he was Adhemar's brother; at least he had a bed.

Unfortunately, even with his ties to the throne, he didn't completely escape Mistress Wardrobe's forbidding frowns or her charms of ward made against him when she thought he couldn't see her.

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