Warprize Cover

In a nutshell

  • Genre: Saga, Adventure, Romance
  • Notes: I was surprised how much I liked this series. An unexpected fun read.
  • Recommended for: Fans of the Voyager series and Marillier fans

If this is a sacrifice, sign me up as the next warprize . . . I found this book as a recommendation on Goodreads, which I hesitated on but the reviews were positive and I was looking for something different but still romantic: Found it!

Synopsis:

SHE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN HER PEOPLE AND HER FREEDOM…Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can’t usurp her brother or negotiate a peace–but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.

But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara’s conscience won’t let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.

She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes . . . The Warprize

This book isn’t written in the stylized beauty of ancient myths reinvented, like Marillier’s own style, but the story itself reminded me of her same plot techniques. I found the writing to be done well but not brilliant, but above all the plot was exquisite.

Xylara as a character was dynamic, relatable, strong, but also disagreeable at times. Like a friend you really admire but don’t always see eye-to-eye with. She’s a girl born in the wrong time and society and finds herself thrust away from all she knows and given away to save her people. It all sounds very melodramatic, but it was extremely fun to read.

As for the “Warlord”, as the synopsis names him (it’s a spoiler to say the name so I won’t), I found his character to be difficult to understand at times, but I feel that has more to do with the fact that the story is told solely from Xylara’s perspective and she struggles to understand him at many points. That’s half the fun.

Aside from characters whom I loved: some of which are detestable villains and some loyal but honest friends, the other positives of the book are not hard to find. The old romance novel cliché of “Oh no! I’ve been given as a sacrifice to a barbaric warlord who’s extremely attractive” is answered and then made more respectable, at least in my eyes, by the lost-in-translation addition. In many of these similar themed novels, the heroine has no problem adjusting to the culture at least in the every-day life transition. Other novels usually invoke a rival woman to get in the way or something similar, but this book truly shows what it’s like to go from one culture to another.  Xylara is given to these people and while she has a good grasp of the language she sometimes misses some things, she also doesn’t understand their proper boundaries, she is introduced to foods she hates, and she makes many a faux pas. I found that so refreshing. As anyone who’s traveled anywhere knows: people have different expectations and traditions from state to state let alone from country to country. One of my favorite parts of this book was reading about how she acclimated to the Firelanders culture.

My only two criticisms would be, as I said before, that Vaughan’s writing sometimes felt stilted and awkward. Like this was the second to final draft and they decided “Well, we could change this or add this but I want to publish this so badly! Good enough.” The other would be that I felt she could have included more in the story. I felt some aspects or key interchanges could have made the character interactions more dynamic.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it, and I realized immediately upon finishing this that this was a series of three novels: Warprize, Warlord, & Warsworn. I will review the other two soon, but I wanted people to know if you have quite a few insensibly silly chick lit novels on your list and you’d like to temper it with a good romantic and adventurous book, this is a good one to try.

★★★★
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