The Warlord's Daughter
I had such high hopes for The Warlord’s Daughter. Since Star Wars, I’ve had an affinity for futuristic, outer-space romances and, though this second installment in the Borderlands Series started well, it fizzled before the end.
As the daughter of the Supreme Warlord of the Drakken Horde, Wren knows her place – to be the bride of one of her father’s powerful battlelords. But once the Coalition defeats the Drakken and the Imperial Fleet, Wren grabs her chance at a new life and freedom. Her freedom brings her a glimpse of just how evil her father’s rule was and how much her guardians kept from her. She also discovers that she’s wanted by the Coalition and has a sizable bounty on her head.
Aral Mawndarr, the son of a powerful and ruthless Drakken battlelord who will stop at nothing to retain power, is determined to end the Drakken reign of terror and make Wren his bride. Working as a traitor to bring down the Drakken Empire, he finally succeeds with his father’s arrest. When it appears the Coalition has peace restored, he takes off to find Wren and rescue her from a life of oppression. Unfortunately, the bounty and other complications make his rescue attempt perilous.
While Aral races to rescue Wren, he’s uncertain if she’ll trust him since they haven’t seen each other in ten years and even then it was only from a distance. To complicate matters further, she only knows him as a fierce battlelord. Wren, on the other hand, flees with other refugees and tries to avoid being discovered. Once together and on the run, they have to get to know one another as well as deal with her heritage and his family.
Although the plot is interesting, the characters lacked depth. Wren is a sheltered innocent, isolated and hidden far away by a father disappointed with the birth of a daughter and used only to strengthen alliances. To further keep her under control, her father refuses to have her sight repaired even though she is basically blind. However, she goes from meek to practically fearless with little character development in between. Aral’s development is somewhat similar as he is a fierce battlelord, yet the portrayal of those characteristics is absent from the context of the story.
My biggest problem with this story was the lack of romance between the main characters. The hero and heroine meet at a very young age, never speak, but share a connection that lasts for ten years. While I believe in fate, I had a hard time buying the premise. Aral knows from the moment he sees Wren that he’ll save her and she’ll be his bride. Through political mechanizations he arranges the marriage, which Wren accepts. Both fall in love quickly though very little time is spent on the falling in love part. Also, two other secondary romances eat away at the attention given to the primary romance.
While The Warlord’s Daughter is only the second in this series and more installments are possible, it has the feel of a book written to tie up all the loose ends of a concluding series. It simply felt rushed. The lack of character development and romance between the main couple hampered the potential of an interesting story.