This author of high fantasy writes with warmth and in a way that preteen and teens will find friendly. The descriptions in this book are beautifully written. They paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.
The story is that of a sixteen-year-old young woman by the name of Halith. She has grown up partially with her mother, then in a convent with a superior priestess that really cares for her and finally with her uncle, who wants to marry her to a fat merchant.
To the exasperation of her tutors, she grows up with an indomitable desire to become a warrior. No one knows how, in between the stitches of embroidery and other feminine instruction, she has arrived at that decision. Nonetheless, with the help of the goddesses, she is blessed to become their warrior.
Now in the land of Aessyra there is a high king and he happens to be Halith’s estranged father. He had to renounce to her and her mother in order to marry another woman to secure a more powerful alliance for his people. Both feel betrayed by him, yet they both love him.
All is well in the kingdom until a dark force starts to move in, un-noticed by the leaders of the different kingdoms. However, the smaller lands suffer the strong and insipid hand of the fowl being that is awakening. Halith, with the blessing of the superior priestess, unites herself to the militia. There she learns how to use a sword and to kill without squeamish. She also shows her great ability at strategy and the sword.
Her life progresses slowly until she goes on a quest to retrieve an artifact that will help her prove to her father that the dark forces are on the move and they need to prepare. To be able to do so, her father must look into the artifact and see what it shows him, but nothing happens. One of the legends says that a pure child will be able to obtain the artifact’s secrets or death … a life.
Halith meets many people during her assignments that cross her path off and on through this tale. The book is open ended to allow for a sequel.
I found the story compelling, though it needs more dialogue and action to make it fast paced. Kids in our days don’t stay focused long enough in a book to get to the action if they have to go through a page of narrative first.
Also, it is hard to believe that in medieval times, when a woman lived in the shadow of men, an unknown girl would be accepted as an equal warrior five minutes after she meets a dwarf warrior. In those times, women were used by men and considered many time less than their animals. Halith needs to prove herself in more ways than a man before she will be just looked upon as anything but a thing for pleasure. I feel the author didn’t do a good job at that.