H&H’s bloggers are all avid readers, of course, and each has their favorite genre.
So, of course, we challenged them to read outside of their favorite genre—to read a book, in fact, in a genre they never read in. And we asked another H&H blogger who does read in that genre to choose the best book for the neophyte to read.
We’ll be posting the results of the Genre Experiment as each blogger finishes—or does not finish (DNFs)—their book. Today, Myretta Robens reads Zoë Archer’s Warrior, recommended by Rachel Hyland.
I expected to read a gritty Urban Paranormal with a couple of vampires, maybe a werewolf, definitely demons. Instead, Rachel Hyland, my Paranormal Procurer, kindly took my reading preferences in to consideration and recommended Warrior by Zoë Archer.
Well, Warrior was definitely a departure for me. It was paranormal and it was set mostly in Mongolia, both out of my tidy little English Regency comfort zone. But it was historical, taking place during the reign of Queen Victoria (and, yes, I will call it Victorian as, despite the setting, the main characters are mostly English). So, there was some comfort there.
The paranormal elements in this book surround a battle between two factions to find and either save or use magical artifacts, the ownership of which might change the course of history. That’s a little outside the comfort zone. I have read some Historical Romances with magic. I loved Mary Jo Putney’s Guardian series (starting with A Kiss of Fate) and I’m currently enjoying Liz Carlyle’s series about members of the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis (starting with One Touch of Scandal). In all of these books, the magic is part of the characters. Each has a special gift. In the case of Liz Carlyle’s F.A.C, an uppercase Gift. In Mary Jo Putney’s series, the characters are Mages (Magi?).
Warrior differs from these in that the magic is external to the characters, dwells in objects. It seems that some of the characters are able to make objects that do magical things but there also exist extremely powerful magical objects whose origins are either lost in time or have become the stuff of legend. One of these is the object the hero and heroine of Warrior seek to protect from those bent on misusing it. It turns out that one of the good guys’ earlier failures resulted in Napoleon’s escape from Elba using “Nephthys’s Cloak, which shielded him from the British patrols of the island.” Who knew?
The heroine is the daughter of a member of The Blades of the Rose (the good guys) and seeks to become a member herself. The hero is a former soldier who, driven by boredom, takes it upon himself to deliver a message from a Blade dying in a London alley to Thalia’s father in Mongolia. Then Thalia and Gabriel head out to find and protect a “Source”, the powerful magical artifact.
So, here’s the kind of thing that happens when Blades fight with Heirs (the bad guys):
Huntley saw beasts, demonic combinations of animals with gaping maws and pointed talons, made of water. As they hurtled down the river, the beasts tore at the land with their claws and teeth, destroying and consuming everything in their path. Already frozen from the rain, Huntley was chilled further when he saw that these water creatures were headed straight toward them.
And here’s the kind of thing that happens when Gabriel and Thalia aren’t fighting the bad guys:
“What?” she asked, as Gabriel grinned at her. Stepping in close, so that no more than an inch separated them, he said warmly, “I love it when you talk flinty.” “Skirmish,” Thalia whispered, husky. “Trounce the bastards.” Under his lowered lids, his pupils dilated, and he slowly liked his lips.
It’s a good tale with interesting characters, a romance you can get behind, and a temporary happily ever after that seems destined to eventually involve more conflict between the Blades of the Rose and the Heirs. No vampires, no werewolves, no demons. Yay!
Thanks, Rachel. I really enjoyed Warrior. So much that I have downloaded Scoundrel. And so much that I was instrumental in inviting Zoë Archer to give the keynote address at my RWA Chapter’s 2013 conference.
Myretta is the co-founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a pretty big Jane Austen web site. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, www.myrettarobens.com and on Twitter @Myretta.