Dead. All dead. Her father and mother. Their loyal servants. Her countrymen. Killed by her cousin, Lucius Mordarius, and his ilk, followers of the dark lord Ryadok. Though beaten down in the following years, hatred fuels Merewyn, keeping her alive. And then it comes: an opportunity to escape. Aided by four strangers she doesn't entirely trust, Merewyn directs her steps to Ha-Ran-Fel, land of the savage Horse Lords, where she hopes to gain the strength to come back for her cousin's head. But complications arise. The band of strangers hunt Lord Ryadok's beast, the Baugonril, a monster born of magic, created to be impervious to attack. If successfully bred, the Baugonril would mean the ruin of every nation still fighting Ryadok's yoke. Merewyn's quest must expand beyond revenge to the salvation of her world, but there is little room left in her heart for anything but hate; so she thinks. The longer she remains with the companions, the more her suspicions turn from them to her reactions to their care and protection. Could she weaken so easily? Dogged by the sorcerer's soldiers and her own inner demons, she survives maelstroms, near starvation, and the dangerous crossing of the raging Ashgard River only to arrive at her destination, what she believes to be the end of her quest, to be treated with suspicion and condescension. She must prove her worth and fight for the right to avenge her family and the honor of saving her world as the Warrior Queen of Ha-Ran-Fel.
I really got into this book. There is a bit of everything from war to romance to evil monsters to sorcery. There are a lot of characters to get to know but once you get into the book, that isn't really an issue. The point of view does switch fairly frequently but you won't want to miss the action. Merewyn is a beloved daughter and adores her parents, most especially her father. When her cousin murders them and makes her a prisoner, she knows she has to escape.
Four friends are traveling and scouting together and I must say, they are an interesting mix! I'm not certain which of the four was my favorite here but I liked them all. They each have their own strengths but are loyal to each other to the end. Merewyn is determined to have her revenge no matter what she has to do to achieve it. I loved that she was willing to set aside personal comfort to seek justice (revenge). The story flowed well, there were suspenseful moments, lighthearted moments, and everything in between. It is a book that once you start, you will be pulled in and not want to end.
It says book 1 in this series so I'm really excited to see what book 2 brings!
4/5 for me, and I have to say that I really enjoy this author's writing style!
Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.