Warrior’s Curse is the third book in the Imnada Brotherhood series. Considering that I’ve read about 90% of my favorite series out of order, I figured I could get by with this one. Normally, it seems to me, paranormal authors do a good job explaining the workings of their worlds in every book they write.
Not so with this book. From the very first page, I was confused. This isn’t to say that I didn’t piece together most of the important bits. I did, but they weren’t laid out as clearly as I would have liked or expected.
The book opens with Gray de Coursy being exiled from the five clans of Imnada shape changers, in spite of the fact that he is the heir to their throne. It seems that Grey has been cursed by a Fey-blood. Fey-bloods are the enemies of the Imnada, so having their magic running through his veins (although unwillingly) is enough to have Grey cast out.
Two years later Gray is in London, trying to figure out how to break the curse, when his childhood friend Meeryn Munro shows up. Meeryn is his grandfather’s ward, and she’s come to fetch him back to Scotland, so that he might speak to his grandfather one last time before he dies. Although Gray has his doubts about the wisdom of returning to Imnada lands, Meeryn manages to convince him. He’s also eager to see Jai Idrish, the mysterious crystal the Imnada hold sacred, which is housed at his grandfather’s residence. Gray believes it is the key to breaking the curse he and his friends Mac and David have been struggling under. Although Gray has been taking a potion to keep most of the effects of the curse at bay, he is slowly dying. If he doesn’t get to Jai Idrish soon, it’s very likely he never will.
Meeryn, naturally, is rather distressed by the news of Gray’s illness. She and Gray grew up together as best friends, and Meeryn has loved him for a long time. As the keeper of Jai Idrish, Meeryn is the only one who can access the crystal’s magic, which makes her the perfect person to help Gray. Although the more recent keepers of Jai Idrish have been unable to access its magic, the couple lives in hope that the pattern will change with Meeryn.
It’s difficult to explain what happens after this, because the story is so busy and full of concepts and traditions unique to the world Ms. Egan has created. It took me some time while reading it to understand what was happening between Gray, his grandfather, and Lord Dromon, who leads the Ossine. Gray’s grandfather, who is supposed to be the leader of the Imnada, is in truth simply manipulated skillfully by Lord Dromon. The Ossine are a formidable force almost like the police, as they are the further extension of the governing body generally used to uphold laws.
So Gray and Meeryn spend their time trying to outwit Lord Dromon and figure out how to use Jai Idrish to break the Fey-blood curse. Apparently at some point in the middle of all this craziness they fell in love. It’s difficult to say when it happened, really, because I felt that the time spent on their romance was insufficient.
I don’t mean that their relationship was unbelievable, or that the characters themselves seemed odd. Much to the contrary, I found their affair very realistic. As childhood friends, they already had a wealth of emotion and memories between them. It’s not so strange to think that any romance between them would go smoothly and quickly now that they’re adults.
No, my problem mostly had to do with the manner in which this change in their relationship was presented. I felt like it just appeared. They started acting like a couple at a time when I’d have thought there were still feelings to sort out. After all, it’s definitely a little weird to go from good friends to lovers. If we’d only spent a little more time in Gray and Meeryn’s heads—specifically when they were thinking about each other and not the curse—I would have been more satisfied with their romance.
In addition to that, I must say I also had some issues with the way the book ended. All the pieces were tied up—they dealt with the curse, Lord Dromon, and the fact that Gray and Merryn fell in love—yet I didn’t really understand how and why things had to happen as they did. For instance, why did they need a complex spell to undo the curse? Someone who read the previous two books might be able to answer this question, but as I’ve only read the one, I remain stumped.
Overall, although Warrior’s Curse was a good book, I have to give it a C+. I definitely liked it while I was in the middle of it, but a week later after putting it down I realized that enjoying it didn’t quite make up for the fact that it left me feeling rather confused. I think with an extra fifty pages or so, Ms. Egan could have explained things better and perhaps given Meeryn and Gray’s romance the extra time it deserved.