Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Gee, that’s great. I’m so proud…pompous ass”.
Jilian Stewart hasn’t seen or heard from her father in years so when he passes and leaves her his home, she and her mother decide to travel together to Scotland for an impromptu vacation. Jilian’s mother falls prey to a mysterious illness while there and Jilian is plagued by dreams of a gorgeous, mysterious man, commanding her to come with him. She’s sure it’s just being in a strange house and land until he appears in the flesh, grabs her, and drops her right into the middle of a war.
Prince Alvaar of Teganne needs to save his world. His people are being systemically destroyed by an evil mage named Buric. He kidnaps Jilian by mistake thinking she is her mother; a magical source who fled Terganne years ago. While it’s apparent that he has made a terrible mistake, he realizes that Jilian carries the same magic as her mother. A magic that he desperately needs and will do anything to keep.
When I received The Source Of Magic, I was thrilled to once again visit this lush exotic world Ms. Rowan has created. I absolutely adored Kismet’s Kiss and was looking forward to this prequel. A suspenseful storyline holds your attention as you are drawn to this magical place of wonder and intrigue. Ms. Rowan has a nice flowing writing style that draws you straight into the story. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect to the characters.
Prince Alvaar, our hero and I use that term loosely, has been the ruler of Terganne since his parents died when he was a child. A powerful mage; he needs a magical source to merge his power with in order to replenish and increase his own magic. All of the sources in his land were destroyed years ago by an evil mage. Alvaar kidnaps Jilian thinking she is her mother; a once powerful source from his world and dear family friend. He tells Jilian that she has no choice- she will help him and his world. I had a hard time liking Alvaar. While I understood his reasoning, his arrogance and lack of compassion towards Jilian were disconcerting. It doesn’t matter that he made a mistake bringing her over to his world. She has what he needs and somehow because being his “source” is a matter of honor in his world, she is just suppose to agree and be happy to do it. She tries to repeatedly tell him that she needs to go home. Her mother is dying but that doesn’t matter to him.
“I want to go home Alvaar.”
“Your duty is to me.”
“What duty? I don’t know you and I don’t belong here. I don’t owe you anything.”
He offers no apologies for what he did. Had he been a bit more compassionate and explained everything in the beginning and asked for her help, I would have enjoyed the story better. What he does is demand and bully her and it was a complete turn off. What she wants is of no consequence to him. In one scene he agrees to help her secure a flower that can perhaps help her mother but only if she pledges an unbreakable oath to him and his country. He blackmails her then gets mad that she doesn’t take it as seriously as he does. Why should she? It was made under duress. The other characters seem to share the same attitude and it puzzled me. Here is this poor woman who knows nothing of what’s going on yet she is just suppose to forget everything that happened because they need her. Everyone’s attitude is, “Oops, sorry, but hey, your stuck here now, we need your magic, and you’ll get used to living here in time. “
Alvaar’s anger and hostility towards Jilian also became tiring. Through out the book he makes assumptions about her (the oath for instance) and treats her badly because of them, right up to the very end.
While I enjoyed meeting Jilian more; she is better developed then Alvaar, I still felt like I only scratched her surface. Sassy, funny, and smart, she gives as good as she gets. She never lets anyone forget she is there not by choice and while she has sympathy for their plight, she has her own problems. Her attitude and reactions were spot on for the situation she was thrown into. I enjoyed watching her spar with Alvaar and her internal dialogue about his, umm, finer qualities. It’s only after she “falls in love” with him that her attitude changes and she becomes another love sick heroine who only wants her man’s love no matter the price to her own soul.
The chemistry between them never seems to morph beyond lust. Neither of them spend enough time together to even begin to fall in love. He’s bossy and distrustful and she spends a majority of her time plotting to get back to her mother. Both of them are firmly entrenched on opposites sides; their falling in love was unbelievable. Especially when a huge romantic “misunderstanding” is produced. Right up to the very end, Alvaar doesn’t trust Jilian. When Jilian starts to makes excuses for his behavior and blames herself for Alvaar’s hissy fits, I just threw up my hands. Neither of them grow beyond our initial meeting. They are written to fall in love and Ms. Rowan pushes them until they do.
The secondary characters try to ease the story beyond our protagonists and allowed us to learn more about this world and the main plot but it’s a battle of wills and our protagonists win. I did enjoyed seeing Varene again and meeting the others that live and help rule Terganne. I just wish they would have commanded a deeper presence.
The ending comes at you hard and fast with the inclusion of a textbook shocking situation. I admit, I saw it coming after Jilian was kidnapped and the villain introduced. The villain is alluded to through out the story but the main focus of the story never really deviates from our protagonists and their romance. So much time was spent on trying to bring Alvaar and Jilian together and convince us of their love that I felt the entire story suffered for it.
We get a small epilogue that further expands on the lack of development of the storyline. Jilian and Alvaar resolves their differences off scene (Alvaar makes a comment that all is forgiven now that he finally listened to Jilian’s explanation) and we meet Jilian’s mother, who didn’t seem to have a problem with her daughter being kidnapped and possibly killed. She’s just happy her daughter is in love with a prince. This one did not deliver as I hoped.