Spellweaver Paperback – Jan 4 2011
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About the Author
Lynn Kurland is the USA Today bestselling author of Stardust of Yesterday, A Dance Through Time, This Is All I Ask, The Very Thought of You, Another Chance to Dream, The More I See You, and If I Had You. She is also a contributor to The Christmas Cat, Christmas Spirits, Veils of Time, Opposites Attract, and A Knight’s Vow anthologies. A full-time writer, she lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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Two Prelude short stories, found in anthologies with other authors:
- The Queen in Winter ("A Whisper of Spring" when Symon, the first king of Neroche, woos and wins Iolaire, princess of Ainneamh)
- To Weave a Web of Magic ("The Tale of Two Swords" where Mehar of Angesand and Gilraehen, --th king of Neroche, fall in love and the legendary sword of Angesand is forged.)
Miach and Morgan's story is told in:
1- Star of the Morning (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 1)
2- The Mage's Daughter (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 2)
3- Princess of the Sword (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 3)
Ruith and Sarah's story (which OVERLAPS Miach and Morgan's story in the timeline) is told in:
4- A Tapestry of Spells (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 4)
5- Spellweaver (this book)
6- Gift of Magic (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 6)
Runach and Aisling's story is being told in:
7- Dreamspinner (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 7)
8- River of Dreams (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 8)
9- Dreamer's Daughter (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 9)
So! Now that I've got all that hopefully stated clearly...
A Tapestry of Spells ended with Ruith and Sarah being separated, right after Sarah discovered who Ruith really was--namely, the youngest son of one of the most evil and powerful black mages history had ever known...and, what was almost worse to her mind, 3/4 elvin prince! Spellweaver begins only hours later, with Sarah, being just the daughter of a village witchwoman, realizing that she has absolutely no right to be feeling anything whatsoever for one of those high and mighty elves, even if he hadn't been a prince...which Ruith most certainly was. The fact that she has no magic whatsoever only cements the fact that her fond feelings for him really should be banished as quickly as she is able to manage the feat. He is clearly far, FAR out of her league, even if he won't admit it.
Sarah does, however, have the gift of seeing...a gift which puzzles Ruith and only adds to her fascination. To him, his heritage is more of a burden and curse than anything else...especially since he doesn't much like the thought that he'll have to keep living for centuries after Sarah's mortal life ends. And so he continues his attempts to avoid his magic and birthright. But reality presses in until he finally realizes that his magic is a tool, and he's got twenty years of lost experience to make up for. Events make it clear that if he doesn't learn fast, he'll most likely lose it to one of the many mages who would gladly claim his magic as their own.
The romance between Sarah and Ruith unfolds more in this book, though it is quieter and takes a back seat to the world-building and character growth. I missed the stronger romance that Miach and Morgan's story had. I still love this installment of Sarah and Ruith's story, though. Spellweaver focuses more on the unfolding of Sarah's gift and the discovery of who she really is. Her gift is one that made me grateful to see the world of the Nine Kingdoms through her eyes. So much beauty! ...running through words and souls and carvings of stone. ...dancing to the music played in the palace of the dwarves. And we get to marvel at it as Sarah learns to use what she sees.
Spellweaver also focuses on Ruith's struggle. Here he is, an elven prince with a library's worth of spells--including all of his father's--rattling around his poor brain. But it is precisely that knowledge that has caused him to bury his magic. It doesn't take Ruith too long, though, to realize that running from his past is childish. No one blames him for doing it when he was 10, but he can certainly do it no longer--especially since he'll need his magic to protect Sarah from those who seek her gift and to protect the world from those who seek his father's evil and powerful spells. But no sooner does he uncap his magic, then he realizes that twenty lost years of practice using it are not going to be made up easily, and his magic is about as unwieldy in his hands as a broadsword would be in the hands of a child. And all the signs are indicating that he's going to need not only all his magic and Sarah's sight, but also more skill than he currently has to best whomever is waiting for him in the far north.
That's what I love about this book. I love the challenge that Ruith is faced with. I love how the Nine Kingdoms world expands. I love the imagery and beauty and how visiting the Nine Kingdoms makes me look at our world a little differently. I love how Ruith is a curious (and humorous) mix of the hermit who lived on the mountain and a proud and glamorous elvin prince who can outfit a room in luxury with a few choice bits of Fadaire.
And I love the setup that this book gives for the finale (coming next year). I love the way this book plays out alongside Princess of the Sword (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 3) in the timeline of the Nine Kingdoms. I love that we have only a tantalizing bit of a hint about who is waiting for Ruith, and I love that the hint both ups the stakes and opens new questions of how? and why? I love that neither Sarah nor Ruith could possibly succeed in their task alone, and I love how Ruith just might be the ONLY one who can do what lies ahead.
I'm giving this one 4-stars as well, since 4 1/2 stars is not possible. This trilogy is not quite as good as Miach and Morgan's trilogy. It moves slowly and gets repetitious in places. But again, the beauty of the writing, the world-building, and the magic moments laced with romance make up for it and still make this an enjoyable book worth re-reading.
Now I just have to be patient all year long until Gift of Magic comes out!
Edited (after Gift of Magic came out) to add:
When a book is part of a trilogy, do you rate each book on its own merits, or do you consider the entire trilogy in the rating? I honestly don't know.
I'm going to leave the above review intact as I originally wrote it. (At least for now.) However, I feel obligated to add this caveat: the final book doesn't fulfill what the first two (especially this one) led me to anticipate. I find myself reading this review and feeling disappointed because that the lead-up excitement I felt wasn't fulfilled.
Am I disappointed in this one now for getting my hopes up? Or am I disappointed in Gift of Magic for not fulfilling everything I hoped it would? Or should all the blame rest on Gift of Magic? I'm honestly not sure. I still love Lynn Kurland's writing, so I know I'll end up re-reading the entire trilogy again. I also admit that if I had picked up Gift of Magic from an unknown author, expecting to be disappointed (because I usually am--I'm very picky), I would have liked it quite a bit and been interested in reading more from the author.
But I wasn't. This is an author whose work I generally love, and this book led me to hope for a decent amount in the end of the story...and the end of the story didn't have it.
When I do re-read it (knowing how it'll end this time), I might very well come back and amend the reviews for all three. I don't know. But in the meantime, I feel compelled to at least add this note.
When A Tapestry of Spells ended we were left hanging with what was going to happen with both of heroes. (I will not give away that ending in case you have not read it yet.) The focus of Spellweaver is more on character development- we learn a lot of interesting tidbits about Sarah- some that I suspected were coming but others were an insightful twist. Spellweaver actually reminded me quite a bit of the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There is a lot of time spent wandering and searching (here for Gair's spells and Daniel, in HP for horcruxes). The momentum and pace of the story is a nice gradual build- like the Mage's Daughter (the 2nd story in Miach and Morgan's series) there is not as much action- the major "battles" are being saved for the last installment. The romance between Sarah and Ruith continues to develop and flourish, in quite an achingly sweet and touching manner. Move over Miach, Ruith is a new favorite LK hero!! ;-)
I am quite impressed by LK's ability to interweave her stories. There is some overlap happening with the first trilogy- not so much so that anyone who has not read the first couldn't jump in on A Tapestry of Spells and Spellweaver and then move on to Star of Morning, Mage's Daughter and Princess of the Sword. (A very smart move to allow new readers to jump in at any time- since the same is true with her time travel/historical romances.)
Overall Spellweaver is an intriguing continuation of the story presented in a Tapestry of Spells. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it much more than its predecessor. I was worried that this wouldn't be as enjoyable a series because it didn't start out that well... but I didn't need to worry. As I drew closer and closer to the end of the book, the thought of having to leave this world was depressing. I wanted to continue to live vicariously through the sweet interplay between Ruith and Sarah. I await most anxiously the finale... SIGH... next year. Once again Ms. Kurland has presented a lovely tale that is free from the smut that ruins/bogs down so many other romances. It is such a relief to be able to pick up a romance book and not have to worry about any unnecessarily graphic love scenes, profanity, or overly sensual language. I tend to veer to Christian romances for that very reason, just because I don't want to feel scandalized (or embarrassed- as I've gotten my mom hooked on these) by what I'm reading. I wish there were more authors like her...
The main objective in this trilogy is for Ruith and Sarah to locate and assemble the entirety of Gair's evil spells, then destroy them before any number of black mages can make use of them. The urgency of this task is all but lost in the much-described journey to self-discovery of both Ruith and Sarah. Hardly any details are spent on moving along the plot, and almost all spent on waiting to leave or taking that last good meal for a long, long time. There are some missed opportunities for action, even if the primary purpose for this novel is to prepare Ruith and Sarah for the action later to come. For instance, I wouldn't have minded reading more details about Ruith's rough practice sessions in the magic lists.
Nevertheless, what I loved about the book was the characters from previous novels that were developed deeper. My favorite is Soilleir, and I truly hope Lynn Kurland writes his own trilogy so that I can see him "wallow" in his longing, as Ruith predicted.
Ultimately, Spellweaver is worth the read as a beautiful story of self-discovery. I expect Ruith and Sarah's third book will move at a faster pace as the threads of their tapestry are tied together. For a supporting novel in a fabulous series, this is definitely worth the read, though not always exactly page-turning.
Paranormal Romance- Jan. 4th, 2011
4 ½ stars
Spellweaver is a part of a spellbinding saga and the 5th in the fantasy series by Lynn Kurland. Spellweaver is the 2nd story concerning Sarah of Doire and Ruithneadh of Ceangail. The 1st three book concerned Ruith's sister Morgan.
Ruith is a powerful mage with elvish magic. Handsome and talented, he hides his magic because he is haunted by his father's evil use of magic and wants none to taint him. But there are dangerous people who want his father's dark spells. The most dangerous one of them steals magic from others. Ruith knows he can't let anyone use these spells but he needs Sarah's talent to see spells to find them. But Sarah's past with magic has burned her. And although she is attracted to Ruith, she wants to stay as far away from magic as possible. Can their budding attraction for each other have a chance to grow in this atmosphere of mistrust and secrets?
This is a gentle fantasy world that reminds me of Robin Owens's Heart series but on a grander, more epic scale. The 1st of 3 books concern the impetuous swordswoman Morgan. Because there is a lot of detail and rather involving cast of characters that interrelate, I would highly suggest reading them in order starting with Morgan's 1st book Star of the Morning which I felt was a joy to read. At the very least, read the beginning of Ruith's journey in A Tapestry of Spells.
This series has a gentle charm that almost seems poetic. Evil villains and tortured heroes and heroines are slowly and skillfully revealed by the author. This series is mesmerizing as I became invested in the main characters and wanted them to find peace and conquer evil. Ruith is not as charismatic as is his sister Morgan who lost her memory and had to search for her identity. Ruith is more of an enigma. He suffers because of his father's evil and how it destroyed his family. He has had many years to lick his wounds and try to come to terms with his family's destruction. Sarah also has many issues to resolve. Her troubled relationship with her magical and power hungry brother and the disappointment she was to her magical mother. Because Sarah does not have any real magic, she was tormented when she was younger and generally branded an outcast. Being around a mage, even one who chooses not to use his powers, is difficult for her.
This story is complex. Anyone who loves epic fantasies with emotion, rich history and deep characters will enjoy this slow moving story. I was particularly interested to know more about Ruith's evil father, Gair, and can't wait for Ruith to begin using his powerful magic. I would also like to know more about the powerful and wise mage Soilleir and his past. He seems very similar to Gandalf's character in Lord of the Rings. And I would love to hear about his history and how he came into his powers or what will happen in his future.
Magical swords, evil villains, dangerous spells, courageous heroes and an epic adventure create an addictive read.
Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
Lynn Kurland's series about the Nine Kingdoms is truly a gem. To jump in with this book (#5 in the series) would probably result in confusion, frustration and disappointment, and none of those words is appropriate for the imagination of this story. Kurland's series of nine books is divided into three trilogies, each of which could possibly stand alone because it focuses on two main characters. The second trilogy picks up in the middle of the first (Confused? See what I mean?). If you didn't want to start from the beginning (Star of the Morning), then at least go back and read A Tapestry of Spells, book #4, the first in this second trilogy. However, you would miss out on the overall concept of the Kingdoms and the many inspiring characters that inhabit them if you choose to go this route. I think a true understanding and appreciation of the series can only come from reading all the books.
I highly recommend Kurland's Nine Kingdom novels to anyone who enjoys a sweet romance story incorporated into one that is about good conquering evil. Kurland doesn't go the route of dark, disturbing or elicit. I'm thinking it might be a good series for young adults as it's along the lines of the Harry Potter books. These are stories about people who find out that they are more than they ever could have imagined, and they keep on trying to do the right thing in the midst of difficult circumstances, namely the end of the world as they know it. And just as with the HP books, Kurland is telling individual stories that are leading up to a grand finale. She always provides a happy ending. I know that life's not always like that, but hey, I like to think it could happen somewhere!