The King Commands
Brown Barn Books, Apr 12 2010, $8.95
The Northlands and the Southlings have an uneasy detente though there is little difference between the people who inhabit the two lands. In the Southlings where there is no monarch, they embrace the power of Healing while the Northlands call it witchcraft. Southling Ellin Fisher lives in self-imposed exile in the Northlands because she developed telepathic skills that caused the concerned Guardians to assassinate her father and try to kill her (see Northlander) in spite of her healing prowess.
Northlands King Alaric welcomes Southlings especially those with magic to stay in his kingdom; Ellin is one of his guests, but he exiles her back to her homeland for trying to heal his father’s killer. Alaric’s youngest brother Prince Garreth accompanies Ellin to her country. When she cross the border to Southlings, she realizes the Guardians have made life much worse for everyone as they grow stronger attacking those with forbidden magic and fostering conflict with their Borderland neighbor. She joins a cell of True Southlings with powers similar to hers and becomes an apprentice to a full fledged Healer. A crisis back in the Northlands sends Ellin and Garreth back there where they learn the Guardians are employing magic to cause civil war in the kingdom to the north. King Alaric declares war on the Guardians, but to win he will need the magic of the Southlings.
Although targeted for young adults, older readers will also enjoy the second Borderlands fantasy filled with plenty of intrigue, romance, and adventure. Readers will admire the lead couple as they act like ordinary people though one is a royal and the other a magic practitioner. Fans will root for them as they escape harrowing situations. With strong political spins throughout like a king needing magic to win a war but many of his subjects believe that is taboo, Meg Burden provides a deep thinking yet action-packed fantasy thriller.