Legendary Warrior begins promisingly enough with an interesting set-up, a dark, tortured soul of a hero, and a heroine with a fascinating talent. Unfortunately, though, the journey quickly takes the main road, eschewing interesting twists for the predictable. At times, its larger-than-life drama and writing style made it seem as if it had been written twenty years ago, only minus the non-PC elements of rape and other degradations. The two-dimensional characters behaved in predictable, two-dimensional ways and the plot was not enough to distract from the various clichés. These flaws, when added together result in a book that seems to go on forever.
Reena Cullen is a young Irish woman whose talent is mapmaking, a skill she learned from her father. She lives in a small village, but speaks French and Latin, a rarity (in fact, almost unheard of) for any woman of her class at that time. When her village comes under control of a vicious landlord, she sets out to find The Legend, a man of whose exploits her storytelling father has told her. She hopes he can do something to rescue the people from sure starvation, and worse – her best friend, a beautiful widow, has caught the eye of the landlord and her friend is considering bartering her body to save the villagers. Reena, painfully thin from lack of food, is not particularly beautiful, but she’s confident and courageous. She finds The Legend quickly, presents her case, and he returns with her to the village to assist.
Magnus, otherwise known as The Legend, is a dark (literally) force of nature, dressing in black, wreaking havoc on anyone who gets in his way. He is stunningly handsome, autocratic, and intelligent. He agrees to help Reena, but does so because it suits his own agenda. He admires her spirit and the two spend a lot of time verbally sparring. From their first meeting, Magnus is protective of Reena, treating her as more than just a mapmaking waif.
Magnus and Reena return to her village where he makes a surprising announcement about his true identity. He appoints Reena his official mapmaker, and she astonishes him with her skill, accuracy, and passion for her craft. He is intrigued by her in spite of himself and she with him, although she does not believe he would ever want a skinny woman like her when he could have anyone. She tries to throw him towards her beautiful friend, but he is simply not interested in anyone else. His interest surprises him, as well, but he begins to kiss her on occasion – usually when she has put herself in danger and he has had to rescue her – and the two fall in love.
Magnus and Reena have trothed eternal love to each other well before the book’s end, but there are still external impediments to their HEA: Magnus must discover even more truths about his family history, Reena must realize she is truly loved, Magnus must save her a few more times, and the secondary characters also must resolve their futures.
While there is nothing wrong with Legendary Warrior, there is nothing particularly memorable about it, either, and reading it was nearly an interminable affair. Magnus and Reena come out of Romance Central Casting. Magnus’s backstory is a familiar one, the spunky, small heroine with a remarkable talent is equally familiar, as is the dark, handsome warrior whose cruel deeds are easily justified.