Publisher: Brown Barn Books
Date: October 24th 2007
Series: Tales of the Borderlands #1
Genre: YA- Fantasy
This little gem of a book was actually mentioned, and if I recall, only in passing, by Angie @ Angieville in a post about various goodies that she read last year. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm old and forgetful. Anyway, I found a copy and for some reason I stuck it away on the shelf and forgot about it. It wasn't until I was craving a bit of traditional fantasy fiction that I went looking for it again. I'm oh so glad that I did.
Ellin and her father find themselves in the precarious position of healers to the king of the Northlands. Normally, being in the employ of a king would be a position of some honor but not if you are from the Southlands. It is a crime for a Southlander to lay hands on the king, let alone use their much feared magic to heal him. When the deed is done and the king has recovered, Ellin and her father are arrested, for the king fears their magic more than he appreciates what they sacrificed to save him. With the help of the most unlikely accomplices, Ellin will have to learn to harness the magic that evokes such fear in Northlanders. Ellin is powerful, much more powerful than anyone imagines, powerful enough to be feared by her own people as well.
I fell instantly instantly in love with little Ellin. She's headstrong, stubborn and at times a bit reckless- just the traits I look for in a heroine. Rather than feel compassion for her plight, Ellin's strength did not allow for any pity. You want to cheer for her, not caution her. When the story began, Ellin had no idea about her powers, or that such a talent even existed. A nice, tidy set up for a good fantasy. I like to grow with my characters, especially the ones that encounter things that are in sharp contrast to reality. Rather than being thrown in the middle of a story where the fantastical was already underway, discovering the magic along with Ellin allowed for better understanding of her world and more importantly, how it viewed her powers.
This is a relatively short little novel, and a quick read but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been nicely detailed. Burden fully develops each and every character that comes on the page making the supporting cast just as alive as Ellin. I loved, loved, loved the king's sons. They were all so very unique and likeable. I caught of hint of Alaric maybe becoming troublesome in the future but I'm going to hold out hope that he pulls through. And though it might be a little premature- I'm Team Finn.
I have the sequel The King Commands sitting right here next to me, begging to be read. It has the most awful cover perhaps in existence but I'm already in love with the story so I'm not deterred.