Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “I have been stabbed, poisoned, sliced and burned, but the agony of all those things combined didn’t come close to the torment of not being able to touch you.”
Aren is ruled by magic, a skill held by few and coveted by many. Magicians are powerless, however, without their Keepers – human conduits of power nearly hunted to extinction.
Amalia has managed to keep the truth of her rare Keeper ability a secret, despite serving one of the most power hungry, reviled lords of Aren. When a desperate bid for freedom is thwarted by none other than Lord Ilyas san Merin, the Right Hand to the Royal of Aren, Lia believes her luck has run out. The handsome yet deadly Lord Merin offers her a deal – help him track down a magical tome stolen from the Royal, and he will grant her asylum.
With no other choice, Lia accepts. Ilyas drags her across Aren in a frantic search to recover the ancient book, and in the process Lia learns she is not the only one harboring secrets. She is intrigued by the man and his mysterious methods, and before long Lia finds herself struggling to abide by the most important rule for Keepers who want to retain their freedom: remain untouched.
In uncovering a treacherous plot to launch Aren into civil war, Ilyas and Lia have little time to tread careful lines. Lia learns what it means to be a Keeper in a world rife with magic-hungry madness, and in the end she has to make a decision that not only will change her life, but also the entire world.
I get nervous when someone I know – whether it be from twitter, or a blogger – writes their first book and asks me to review it. I’ve never met Amanda Ryan in person, but we do talk on twitter occasionally about books. When she emailed me with this review request, I got a little sweaty. But I thought – what the heck – if I don’t like the book, I’ll tell her and the world won’t end.
But a crazy thing happened – I really liked it.
Our heroine is Lia and she is called a Keeper. In this world there are Magicians and Keepers – and the one needs the other:
Magic was not inherently bestowed to a magician, but instead channeled by a Keeper, a person trained in the art of runes and the history of magic. Keepers were the pool and Magicians were the siphon, and when a Keeper was bound to a Magician it was a partnership for life.
I will say, the weakest part of this book is this relationship. I needed a little more information or depth about both magicians and keepers. I got the concept, but I could have used more details. I understood the role of the keeper, but I didn’t understand magicians as well. What their power was and how that affected the people around them – made me scratch my head a little bit. The head of the land, aka the head of the Keepers and magicians, is called The Royal, and she is all-powerful and a little crazy. We’ll get back to her later.
Back to the set up, Lia was raised in a brothel and owned by a horrible man. She has been able to keep the secret that she is a powerful Keeper from this horrible man, but she knows that won’t last forever. Her friends and her decide to escape and make a run for it. During their escape, they are caught by our hero, Ilyas. He is the Royal’s Right Hand and assassin – and he tells Lia she has to turn around and go back to being a servant. Lia is stubborn and clever though and eventually bargains for her and two others to stay with Ilyas, and the rest are set free.
Ilyas isn’t going to send her back to the horrible man, though. He needs help finding a magical book that was stolen from the Royal, and he wants Lia to help him. Ilyas eventually learns her secret and together they go on the hunt for the book, both slowly trusting the other and eventually caring for one another too.
I love the dynamic between Ilyas and Lia. Ilyas is intense, severe and a mystery. Lia fears him at first, as he is an assassin but she is no wilting flower. Growing up on her own in a brothel, she knows how to handle herself. She speaks up for herself and isn’t afraid to challenge Ilyas. Told all in Lia’s point of view, you can tell Ilyas is enchanted with her even though he won’t admit it or show it. He comes off as controlling and assertive, to make sure she knows who is the boss. I love when authors do this. This author conveys so much meaning from Ilyas without ever hearing his thoughts. His aloofness yet secret lust came off so sexy.
I adored Lia too. She is a fighter and never gives up. Her slow journey to loving Ilyas is sweet. There is a lot of adventure and Ilyas and Lia go on the hunt for this missing book – I never felt the story slow down.
I do have a complaint – the very, very end of the book, Lia takes an action that disappointed me. There is 100% a HEA, but there was a bump at the end to get there and I didn’t like that bump. I was so happy and smiling and then this bump happens and it put a damper on it. I still enjoyed this book a lot, just didn’t like the bump! *kicks the bump*
This author has a really nice voice. If you are in the mood for a fantasy/paranormal romance, check this on out. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.