zondag 8 juli 2012

Robin D. Owens – Hearts and Swords

A collection of stories in the Celta series, published December 6 2011.
Genre: sci-fi romance / fantasy romance.

Hearts and Swords

Heart and Sword

This is the story of the last part of the journey of the Ship, Nuada’s Sword, on the 250 year long trip from Earth to Celta. The military hero Kelse Bountry is Awakened from his cryonic sleep, to take command over the ship when the current Captain is murdered by some unhappy mutineers. They were born on the ship, have no idea of the dangers of civilization, and want to risk a dangerous trip through a wormhole they believe will lead them back to civilization. But the people in the cryonics bay have bought the ship and funded the expedition to get away from earth, where they are hunted and murdered because of their psy skills. And in the Ship, those powers have only increased on their offspring. So there would be no guarantee at all they would be welcomed instead of enslaved for their powers or murdered at sight.
They want to start a new world, far away from Earth, where they can safely practice their religion: Wicca.
Kelse has known battle all his life, and the old Captain’s Aide, Chloe, feels it is the right time to Awaken him, so he can take command, and get the people in the ship behind their original mission once more. They are low on fuel, and won’t be able to reach the starsystem they are headed for. One of the other ships has the same problem, only the third ship would be able to reach it, and that Captain wants them to go for it. But it would be a bad decision.
So Kelse has to fight the wanna-be mutineers, convince the rest of the crew and people on board that is would be wrong to shut down the cryonics bay just to safe some energy, and he has to keep his wife safe. She was Awakened by the Ship, and does her best to help him bear this burden. But he just can’t share all his fears with her, making them drift apart, except at night in their bed in the Captain’s Quarters.
And when the mutineers kidnap his wife, the stakes are raised high. But Kelse has an ace in his sleeve, thanks to his wife …
Will they reach Celta in time, and will they all land safely?

A great short story, and a nice introduction to the series. The previous 10 books all take place on Celta (yes of course they land safely!) but this was a nice peak in the why and how of colonization. With the lovestory of Kelse and Fern to enjoy, a married couple, trying to find their way back together after being asleep for 250 years. I liked it, a lot.

Heart Story
406 years after colonization, Druida City.

In the 6th book of the series, Heart Dance, we meet the Willows. How the evil old D’Willow gets replaced by her grandson, T’Willow, who has found his HeartMate. His mother Arbusca Willow was her own mother’s housekeeper, kept under her thumb with threats all her life. She also has a HeartMate, and was forbidden to see him, marry him. Now her evil mother is death, and she has contacted her HeartMate, not knowing who he is. They hadn’t connected in twenty-five years. Even then, they’d never met, but linked during hot, sexual dreams when their psi magic had been freed during vision quests.

But meeting is not enough to fall in love for real, there is a lot of anger between them. Resentment, that he did not claim her for his own, that her mother could make him leave the continent. She did not know her mother threatened to destroy his family, and she would have. And enjoyed it as well.
And Dri is angry at her for not defending him, leaving her mother. But how could she, she was just a young girl, being kept short and insecure all her life.
Dri needs her help with his GreatUncle, he needs her housekeeping skills. His Uncle Boner is a hoarder, and his cottage is filled to the brim with goods. Only narrow pathways lead from one room to the next. And somewhere inside, there should be a family Heirloom his father wants back.
But for the Bond between them to fully mature, they will have to overcome their anger, and work together.

A very nice short story, with a FamDog as the light note between them. When Dri doesn’t want to tell Arbusca, or Blush as she was nicknamed as a young girl, the little dog Mel has no scruples at all to tell her. And Blush likes being needed, and if there is a future for them together, she needs to know it all. I liked both characters, even though Dri could have been less focused on getting over the anger with sex.

Heart and Soul

After her divorce of Tinne Holly (sea Heart Duel, Heart Choice, Heart Quest and Heart Dance), Genista Furze fled to Gael City to start a new life under a new name: Nista Gorse. She found a job at a clockmakers shop, as she has enjoyed timepieces ever since a young woman. Tinkering with them, making them work again. Of course she doesn’t need to work for the gilt, but she liked it, likes having a purpose, be good at something.
The months have slowly passed, giving her time to settle in her simple life, an ordinary woman instead of the unwanted third daughter of one of the First Families. She still grieves from the loss her unborn child, and has been celibate all this time. Something she did not think was in her nature.
She has made no friends, kept to herself, except the morning and evening exchanges with her neighbour, who somehow always is working in his frontyard when she leaves her home, and comes back home. She knows he is a fighter, she has been around man like him for years. And she really does not want that for herself again. But still, she is attracted to Cardus in a way she hasn’t felt in a long time. He seems to like her for herself, Nista Gorse, clockmakers apprentice.

What Genista does not know, is that Cardus has been hired by her former inlaws, the Holly’s to keep an eye on her, keep her safe. Cardus has been doing his job as a guard well, but he has also slowly been falling for her. And not because she is very beautiful, but for the woman she is inside.
And then there is the dog who has been fed by both of them for a while now, who decides he does want to be a FamDog to both of them. And together they celebrate Halloween, and Samhain, creating a bond between the three of them. But what will happen when Genista finds out the truth? Will she forgive Cardus for deceiving her?

I loved this story, I have been feeling sorry for Genista throughout the series. How harsh it is to know your husband married you not out of love, that he has a HeartMate he just cannot have. And when she lost their unborn child, she new their marriage could never be repaired. Tinne Holly is now happy married with his HeartMate after all, and she is rebuilding her own life to what she wants herself, not to the expectations of the First Families, not living in a sentient house with her own family. She has gilt and Flair enough to support herself. And I like her for that, the courage it must have taken to move on, begin a new.
I also liked Cardus. He is just an ordinary man, a wounded fighter who was glad to get another guardjob. He did not expect to fall in love, feels himself far beneath her, in station and in gilt. But they complete each other. And of course the dog is a great secondary character.

Noble Heart

This fourth story is about one of my favourite Celta families: the Clovers. Unlike most other families on Celta, they are very fertile, 6 children per couple is average. Walker Clover is one of them, 27 years old and the private tutor of young Nuin Ash. He likes his job and his quiet life, just one of the Clover boys. But to his own dismay, he discovers he is not just one of the boys, and not average at all.
At 27, he goes through all three fazes of Passage at ones, instead of one Passage at 7, 17 en 23. And in one week of feverish nightmares and hard chores, Walker’s world is turned upside down. He finds out that his birth mother is Latif Heliotrope, with whom his father had a brief affair before he met and fell in love with Fen, the woman Walker thought was his mother. The Heliotrope family did not want him, and Fen and Nath did. And now that he has the highest amount of Flair of the whole family, his uncle Pink wants him to take over as Head of the Family.
Walker never wanted any of that, but his family has already arranged for the testing of his new Flair by his former employer, T’Ash. And Walker sure has enough Flair to be a GrandLord, and the ability to work with people. He could even one day become the Captain of all the Councils. Something else Walker never wanted. He will need a tutor in the ways of the nobility, how to take care of his new Family and how to take charge of them. Because uncle Pink does not really want to give up power, and still wants to dictate to Walker what to do. And especially whom to marry, instead of marrying for love like all the other Clovers. So Walker will have to put his foot down and take charge, make his own decisions.
With the help of Sedwy Grove, a young woman who got caught up in a scandal some years ago, (see the book of cousin Tris) he will quicly grown into the role of a GrandLord. He will have to make alliances for his Family, and seek out matches for his many cousins.
His own brother Barton will be the new head of security for the Family, and Barton takes his job serious.

Of course Walker has to learn a lot, and Sedwy is always there to tutor and advise him. They can’t help falling for each other, and that is not to the liking of Walker’s family. They want him to marry up, and not a woman who is attached to scandal. But they will learn that Walker will follow his heart, and that they cannot force him to do anything he does not want, even if it is supposedly for the good of the Family, now his own heart has chosen.
Walker is also hurt by the fact that the family of his birthmother, the Heliotropes, show absolutely no interest in him, even now that he has joined the ranks of the nobility.

I really liked this fourth story, a bit longer than the others, and it offered some great looks into the workings of the nobility of Celta. You can lose your rank when the Flair in a Family diminishes. The nobles are obliged to use their Flair for the good of the community, and are paid for that work. So if they cannot use their Flair for that purpose, they lose their status. And of course, a commoner Family can rise like the Clovers now have done. W
Walker has never had the ambition to be Head of the Family, to lead them all, but he does shoulder his duty and does what is necessary to make his Family prosper. With Sedwy by his side, and their FamAnimals near them, they are such a great couple.

I really do hope Robin D. Owens will write many more books in this fascinating world of Celta, as I do love them all. The people with Flair, the HeartBond between them, and of course the telepathic animals. Not only cats and dogs but also foxes and housefluffs. The historical feel of the world, the fights with oldfashioned swords, but also with blazers. And of course there are bad guys and girls here as well.

9 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Gosh, reading this really makes me want to seek out more of Robin Owens' books. I have only read one HeartMate story quite some time ago, but I adored it. Can't quite figure out why I never bought any other books in the series... Great review, Aurian!

    1. Well, they first are very expensive, you have to wait for over a year for a cheaper version. But I discovered this series last year if you want to read the reviews, go back to August / September.

  2. So it's sci-fi, fantasy, all mixed in one? Sounds cool D:

  3. Yes like Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, it starts with the space voyage, and ends on the planet sort of middle age feeling. But with magic, not dragons, and telepathic animals.