I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Elizabeth Vaughan changing the focus on this series from my beloved Keir and Lara to Heath and Atira. Thankfully, the shift did not leave the royal couple behind. In fact, the Warlord and his Warprize get almost as much page time as the new featured couple. To be fair, it does take away some from the main romance, but it also helps the book feel more like a continuation of the same story, rather than a spinoff.
This story picks up shortly after the events of Warlord. It follows our characters as they journey from the Heart of the Plains back to Xy. Lara is 9 months pregnant and is facing some staunch political opposition from some of her detractors. She must take her place as queen and ensure the future of her child as her heir. Heath is one of her strongest allies. He travels with her, both to help ease her transition back into power and to try to convince Atira to bond with him.
The relationship between Heath and Atira is exactly as I expected. She is hellbent on the freedom her people take for granted. And though she clearly has feelings for him, she refuses any kind of formal relationship. It seems more on principle than anything else, because it’s not like she pursues any other men. The fact that her issues were more conceptual than practical made them a bit difficult to take to heart. Meanwhile, Heath is mooning over her like a lovesick calf.
I would have liked some surprises in the relationship development, but there weren’t any. There were, however, some interesting developments in the other areas of the story. There is good intrigue on the political front, as the plot against Lara and Keir took shape. There is also some good tension, surrounding their race to get married before the baby is born. I really enjoyed the brief time catching up with the Marcus and Liam storyline, too. (I would like more of that, please.)
A couple of weird things, though. Like a strange pulse of light from the Plains that was never explained. And a random wyvern thrown in out of nowhere. (It was like jumping into an entirely different world in the last few pages.) But overall, I did enjoy the book. It matched the tone and feel of the previous installments –and returning to this world made me feel good. Though I complained some about the predictability of the Heath/ Atira pairing, it wasn’t a bad romance by any means. The climax on their story is actually quite good. They just didn’t captivate me the way Keir and Lara did.
If there are more stories from this world down the road, I would definitely be on board. But considering how this installment ended, I would be very curious to see where the author would go next.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Elizabeth Vaughan
Release Date: May 3, 2011