Genre: fantasy romance
Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day – they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. Though no longer trapped in exile, their growing family faces new problems. For the fifthborn son, it is getting his Destined Bride to trust him…
Amara of the Shifterai has good reason to be wary of mages, because mages were responsible for chasing her and her sister out of their homeland. Being on the run for so long hasn’t put her in a trusting mood, yet there is something about Trevan of Nightfall – mage or not – that Amara finds difficult to resist. But can he be trusted with her most fiercely guarded secret?
Courting such a pretty yet prickly outlander won’t be easy, but Trevan is determined to try. She may be fierce, proud, and from a different culture, but he is the Cat, and none but the most fascinating and challenging of women could satisfy him. Of course, it would help if she stood still long enough for him to court her properly.
Trevan and his seventh brother Koranen are really feeling the lack of a woman of their own; especially now four of their brothers are happily living and loving their wives. Trevan was a real ladiesman before their exile, and he misses that. Trevan is a shapeshifter mage, and his speciality is crafting Artifacts. Objects than can be enchanted for a special purpose, and also look pretty. He is a real inventor, but his siblings don’t really appreciate his input all that much.
Of course Morganen knows his woman is coming, and sends Trevan off to go and look for her. His verse is telling him to find her in the woods, is it not? But Morganen also knows that there are two women coming at once, so he needs to do something about Rydan first, to make him more welcoming of his Destined Bride…
Amara has given up her birthright to become the next Queen of the Shifterai, to protect her twin sister Rora. Amara is a very powerful shapeshifter, a natural one, not a mage. And the woman who can hold the most shapes, is the Queen of the Shifterai. Rora has a powerful secret inside of her, and mages are willing to kill her to get control of all that power. And so they have fled their homeland, and have been shipwrecked. With Rora safe on a little float, and Amara shifted into some kind of sea creature, she is towing her sister to land, to hopefully a place where they can be safe.
Rora’s rare powers have indicated that they will be safe on this Island, and she truly beliefs that. Amara is not so trusting though, so when she is discovered, she denies the presence of someone else. And even though Trevan can read the tracks well enough to know she is lying, he wants to find out why, and not make her run off before he gets the chance to know her. Afteral, she is probably his destined Bride. And so Trevan takes her with him to the Castle, and gets her settled in. Unfortunately, she and Kelly totally rub each other the wrong way. Amara is proud, a real princess of her people, and she does not think Kelly, as a magicless outworlder, is worthy to be Queen. She has been training for it for years, and she had to give it all up to protect her sister. Of course she loves Rora, and would and will do anything to keep her safe, but it still hurts.
Amara makes everyone swear on a truth stone, that they will not harm her sister, or covet her secrets and power, without telling everyone about Rora of course. She needs to know if they will be safe her, after all, they are all mages! And her experiences with mages have only been bad so far.
But when Rora does not stay put as told by Amara, but manages to slip into Rydan’s lair, the sixth brother, Amara turns really defensive. He is not allowed to touch her sister! But Rora has had enough of her sister’s mannerless behaviour, it is her life to live after all, and she knows she will be safe here. Rora’s story is told in the sixth book, so this review will focus on Trevan and Amara.
It takes a few days for Amara to become more civil and trusting to the Nightfallers, and she does bump heads with Kelly more than once, but Trevan understands her. It is not easy to give up your birthright, and your culture and to know you can never go back home. Amara loved the management of the only City the Shifterai had, as they are a nomadic people, and so her skills are highly appreciated in planning the new city. And so finally Amara and Kelly get a little bit closer in their joined interest and appreciation of hard work.
It was fun to see how Trevan courts his lady, using her own courting practices, while Amara is finally ready for some more physical contact (which is forbidden to Shifterai Maidens). And how he sneaks into her bedroom and her arms in his disguise as a housecat. Of course all the others know about his Cat form, and conspire not to reveal it to Amara and Rora. Trevan is Kelly’s Vizier, or spymaster, after all, and they need to know about the secrets Amara is hiding.
I liked Amara, although she really is prickly and ungrateful to be welcomed to Nightfall Isle so easily. She is overprotective of her twinsister, but that is also understandable after having that job for over a decade, and having to flee their homeland together. Still, she slowly finds her own niche at Nightfall, and of course she falls for Trevan. He is interested in her as a woman, and not in her political power or status as a Shifterai Princess and future Queen. He wants to know her thoughts and feelings, and shares his own with her, which is really nice.
Of course their courtship is not easy, and she keeps running away from their problems, but Trevan always manages to find and catch her again.
I did not think Trevan could be so patient in courting his lady; after all he has a certain reputation amongst his brothers. He is happy that his Bride is also a shape shifter, as he enjoys flying, and his second brother Wolfer is afraid of heights, and prefers the Wolf shape, while Trevan is of course the Cat. But Trevan is strong and a capable mage and I liked how Amara defended him against his own brothers. They make a great couple together, I could believe in their courting and falling in love, even though it is of course Destined and Prophesied.
The world in this series keeps building upon itself, more cultures and countries are mentioned with every new bride, and Nightfall Island keeps developing and growing as well. I do love the interaction between all the brothers and their wives and how they work together, building a future. As always, hot love scenes, lots of magic and a very original story make this book one of my favourites.
The Fifth Son shall seek the sign:
Prowl the woods and through the trees
Before you in the woods she flees
Catch her quick and hold her fast
The Cat will find his Home at last.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian