Princess of the Sword
I’d read some good things about Kurland’s Nine Kingdoms trilogy, so I jumped on the opportunity to read and review the last book, Princess of the Sword. This trilogy deals with the same main characters, rather than a new couple every book, so I definitely came in during the final act. While I would strongly advise starting from the beginning, which is just what I’m going to do so that I can experience Miach’s and Morgan’s complete relationship, I still found this an enjoyable read.
The story clearly opens right where the previous book left off, with Miach and Morgan about to sneak into a wizard school. They intend to breach the office of the professor of Olc (a dark magic) in order to find anything that can help them close a well of evil that has been wreaking havoc in their world. Morgan is the daughter of the man who opened the well, an incredibly powerful mage who unfortunately turned to the dark side. Her mother was an elven princess who couldn’t stop her husband from destroying himself, her, and their children. Morgan grew up not knowing where she came from and was taught to abhor magic and rely solely on her sword. But she has now finally accepted that she comes from magical beings and is learning to use her power, which is important because she is the only one capable of closing the well her father opened.
As the powerful archmage of Neroche, Miach is highly qualified to teach Morgan magic, as well as protect her. While he will probably never best her with a sword, he is now much more proficient in that area since he entered a mercenary keep to win back Morgan’s trust. Before this book opens, the two became engaged with the reluctant blessing of Morgan’s elven grandfather, who remains with them through their quests. In fact, quite a few friends and family members are encountered throughout the book as the forces of good get ready to battle evil.
I found a lot of similarities between this world and The Lord of the Rings. There are horses that can communicate, magical swords forged by dwarves, elves with superiority complexes, and more. The writing is intelligent and descriptive, which made it very easy to settle into this fantasy world. The pace moves somewhat slowly, although not in a bad way. The story meanders quietly through the different problems encountered and conquered. The romance also has a quiet tone – I certainly wouldn’t describe it as fiery and passionate. The sensuality never goes beyond kisses, but you can feel the depth of Miach’s and Morgan’s love for each other through their actions and thoughts.
My greatest disappointment was the big showdown at the well. Everything leads to this moment; all the tension and anxiety build towards this great task. And when it was finally happening, I honestly thought it was a dream sequence. It moved so quickly that I kept waiting for Morgan to wake up and continue on their journey. The sense of unreality wasn’t helped by the fact that most of the magic and battles are described rather vaguely, so it’s hard to always know exactly what’s happening aside from the overall outcome. This particular battle is better described than others, but the tone was so different from the rest of the story that I found it jarring. Fortunately, some really interesting scenes followed and I was quickly pulled back into a great story, but I definitely wanted more of that pivotal moment.
Princess of the Sword is not a fast and furious read, but it’s an intelligent, involving tale full of love and adventure. The main characters are immensely likeable. Both are strong and capable, while being sensitive, and they make a great team. If you enjoy vast worlds, quiet love stories, and especially fantasy, I would suggest you give this trilogy a try. I’m going to get Star of the Morning and start over at the beginning.