The Time Weaver
Shana Abe is an author that I always look forward to reading. Her lyrical style blends perfectly with magical elements and always creates a fairy tale feel to her stories of the drakon, the disguised dragons of Georgian England.
In this, the fifth installment in her series, we meet Honor Carlisle, a young woman who lives among the glittering, deadly drakon with dread. Small and plain, she feels completely out of place among the lovely and lethal residents of Darkfrith, the seat of the majority of dragon kind. But then something incredible happens. She receives a letter from herself, telling her she is indeed someone very special, a Time Weaver – the only Time Weaver her people have ever known. The letter also tells her that she needs to be ready to be spirited away, for the drakon are not yet ready for her gifts and she must leave Darkfrith or die.
Honor is thrilled to leave, to join the legendary Zane and Amelia Langford who had earlier defied the ancient laws of her people and were now in hiding. Timid and sweet, she would seem to be the perfect daughter for this childless couple. But Zane seems to regard her only with coldness, while Lia seems lost to the dreams – or rather nightmares – that constantly alert her to her young charge’s dangerous future. Oblivious to all going on around her, Honor Weaves in and out of time, encountering a young drakon of unimaginable beauty. Drawn to his side over and over, in spite of warnings from both her future self and Lia, she learns he is Alexandru , young prince of the Carpathian drakon. Pulled hopelessly together, wherever and whenever they are, the flames of passion rise ever higher between them. Will their love be the salvation of their race – or the destruction of it?
I liked the setup of this story and the way the plot actually dealt with the drakon as a whole, not just the tale of Alexandru’s and Honor’s love. Ms. Abe has been wonderfully consistent in the creation of her dragons, contrasting their outward beauty and English gentility with the ferocious side of their animal nature. It can be a difficult balance in a love story, showing at once a gentle lover and deadly, vicious killer in one form, but I feel she pulls it off. I was anxious to turn each page, wondering just how the light and dark of each character would effect the outcome for their people as a whole.
And I was thrilled with a chance to visit with Zane again, even if the visits weren’t long enough! He was a character from the very beginning of the series, a human who has the heart if not form of the drakon. His and Amelia’s story was told in the The Dream Thief, but you don’t need to have read that to read this tale – or to fall under Zane’s spell. Fortunately, he’s one of those characters that doesn’t need a lot of page space to make an impression.
Alexandru is another familiar character, having appeared in both Queen of Dragons and The Treasure Keeper. He has matured into a man here, but shows all the same traits that had made him so mesmerizing as a boy. I loved his quiet strength, his integrity and his concern for both Honor and his people. I had always known he would make a memorable hero and I wasn’t at all disappointed.
My minor quibbles to the book lay with the heroines and the love story. For those that read The Treasure Keeper, Honor will be a somewhat familiar character. I didn’t like her there and I don’t like her here. Both she and Lia struck me as careless with their gifts, willing to sacrifice the safety of others in order to achieve their own selfish ends. Honor is especially annoying, defying the warnings of everyone to live by the adage that “the heart wants what the heart wants.” When her decisions turn out to have disastrous consequences for all she dumps everything on Lia to fix. It is wonderful that Lia is able to do it ( partially redeeming herself to me as a reader) but it left me with even less respect for Honor. This is one of those rare romances where I really wanted the heroine to get at least a good telling off, from the hero or someone else. Weirdly, in spite of this, the tale is still very romantic. In particular I love the picnic scene that occurs towards the middle/end of the book which really highlights them as a couple. And Zane and Amelia are a couple very much in love, adding a nice foil for Sandu and Honor.
I would have liked a few more scenes showing Honor and Alexandru fall in love. There was a bit too much dependency on the fact that her gift drew her to him for my taste. I just needed something more to show me what differentiated her from a particularly talented stalker and moved her into true love territory.
The fabulous heroes, great plotting and wonderful story telling overcame these flaws though and turned it into an overall really good read for me. For fans of the story, this volume will not disappoint. For those who have not picked up this series before, I would recommend starting at the beginning. While this volume stands alone, I think your reading experience would greatly benefit from being familiar with at least The Dream Thief but it would be best if you had read all the novels and knew the back story to all the players.