Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Night Bird-Catherine Asaro

The Night Bird
Catherine Asaro
Luna, Jul 2008, $14.95
ISBN 9780373802685

Student mage Allegra was on her way to receive training when she was abducted by desert raiders who plan on selling her as a sex slave; her golden hair they assume will make them quite of bit of money. In Jazid, ruthless General Yargazon and outlawed Prince Regent Markus Onyx bid on Allegra; the latter wins the slave.

However, Allegra is not a docile native female willing to sit idly by while men do whatever they want to her. She intends on escaping but understands the difficulty in a society in which women are by law cattle.. As she plots her freedom, Alegra is attracted to her owner and him to her. However, her hope for escape relies on her untrained mage skills while the General sets in motion a scheme that will gain him power by plunging the region into a large scale war.

What makes this romantic fantasy spellbinding for fans of Catherine Asaro’s Lost Continent saga (see THE FIRE OPAL AND THE MISTED CLIFFS) is the incredibly deep look at the male dominated Jazid culture. Thus being a female makes it that much more difficult for Alegra to escape as being a woman means legally you just don’t wander around. Although the general is a stereotypical Macbeth-like antagonist with ambitions to be the ruling despot and no scruples, readers will enjoy the delightful taboo romance in a fantasy realm in which allies are apt to back stab you rather than watch your back.

Harriet Klausner

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