Guardians of the Light, book two
ebook, 272 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
She’s known nothing but pain—but love waits in the arms of one man.
Maleta is a true survivor. Attacked and left for dead at a young age, she has traded her heart and emotions to become the ultimate weapon of vengeance for the Grey Goddess, Hedda. She swears to depose Queen Sunniva and restore her ancestral home to her brother, no matter the cost.
Cianan is drawn to the mysterious land of Shamar on the power of a vision—the death of a beautiful swordswoman to an army of skeletons. When he meets Maleta, he recognizes two things. She is his true Life-Mate. And she is the woman fated to die this horrible death.
He vows to change her fate.
Cianan must unite the diverse people of a fragmented land to overthrow a vicious despot and convince their true queen to take the throne. Falling in love with a mortal woman who’s buried her heart and shies from his every touch—that’s the real challenge.
Maleta knows she can trust Cianan to save her country. Can she trust him to help her save herself?
Warning: Take one narcissistic queen bent on genocide, an assassin nun made of ice and a hero convinced he can change the course of Fate by his will alone. Add a true queen with an aversion to power and a mercenary with a secret that threatens to tear the land in two. Stir briskly. Season with a child-Seer who never shuts up and a tree sprite looking for an apprentice. What do you get? Either a rollicking rebellion or a recipe for disaster. Look for a few familiar faces from DUALITY. Be prepared for tears and laughter. Contains murder and mayhem, drugs and slavery, patricide and references to a memory of rape.
When Loren became king in the last book, it was Cianan whom the Lady chose to replace him as Her chosen champion. Since then, Ciannan has been haunted by dreams of a woman being killed by skeletons in a mighty war. Disguised as a mercenary, his quest to find and save the unknown female brings him to a land being overtaxed by a cruel, murderous queen.
Maleta, too, is the Chosen of her goddess. She is the judge, jury, and executioner of Hedda and works to keep balance between good and evil. When Ciannan learns of her plot to avenge her family and take back her stolen brother, he offers her the choice to fight at his side for the Light. For if she continues to fight for balance, then he fears she might one day fight for the darkness.
I didn't think it altogether possible that a story of an evil queen could be darker than the previous book, a battle against a demon- but it was. Given that Maleta is a survivor of rape, the romance between she and Ciannan is put off for a long while and slow to build when it does arrive. In fact, Ciannan spends most of the book just waiting for Maleta to want him. And when she does, those words of binding could not have left his lips fast enough.
The best part for me was the returning appearances of all the beloved characters from book one. This certainly isn't a series one would want to read out of order without spoiling all the fun and surprises. The structure is the same, however. The two protagonists meet almost instantly, spend some time apart, reunite for battle, wed, and end with a wedding night and an epilogue. And once again, the role of the Lady's Champion is in need of being filled. 3 out of 5 stars.