Genre: epic fantasy
Length: 514 pages
Setting: mostly Arbonne and Gorhaut, a Medieval setting with a French and German feel
Interest: I wanted a “K” author for my Alphabet Soup author challenge. I like Kay’s work, so it was an easy choice. I’m just sad my local library system doesn’t have much of his work.
Summary: Arbonne is a country devoted to music, love, worship of the goddess Rian, and women have power. Compare that to their northern neighbor, Gorhaut, where the god Corannos rules in a cold, harsh climate and women are subservient to the men. Galbert de Garsenc, the High Elder of Corannos, is working on the weak King of Gorhaut to invade Arbonne and burn the followers of Rian. Opposing him is his son, Blaise, who has renounced Gorhaut after a treaty he disagreed with. Blaise has been travelling as a coran for hire. He ends up in Arbonne and is goaded into declaring himself the true King of Gorhaut by his father’s actions. Gorhaut and Arbonne go to war.
Final thoughts: It took a while for me to get into the book, mainly because of all the difficult names. I had a hard time keeping everyone straight and even remembering who people were when they reappeared in the story (I’m not good with names, in books or real life). Once I got the names straight, I was hooked and didn’t want to sop reading. By the end, when all the machinations bore fruit, I had a hard time putting the book down.
I liked all the singers and their importance in the story. There was even a bit of unrequited love, with a cheeky singer catching the eye of Blaise. At least Kay was realistic and didn’t let the interest bear fruit since the two weren’t on the same level of society.
Title comes from: Arbonne was the setting for much of the story and the bards are a major part of society in that country.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 93/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and a K in my Alphabet Soup Author challenge
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