Since my Dark Tower review was pretty well received, I thought I'd have a crack at another. It has nothing to do with any threats of physical violence from the author. No sirree, not at all.
(As with my other reviews, I shan't spoil anything, and harbour nasty thoughts for people who do.)
As I said in the title, the name of the book is Ilfayne's Bane, and the author is one Julia Knight.
The book is a romantic fantasy, or possibly a fantasy romance, set in a whole new world of Julia's devising. I've always been in awe of anyone who can create a whole new world, and that's what Julia does in this. Continents, countries, creatures, races of people, traditions, customs.. Veeeeery impressive. It also reminds me of what my trunked fantasy is missing...
That's not to say that the story is heavy on the world building, because it's not. It's just obvious that she's taken a great deal of time creating this world and the people within. Speaking of people, I should talk about the characters!
(I know, I know, my review technique is awesome!)
So, the main characters in the story are a half kyrbodan, half human woman named Hilde, and an immortal one handed wizard who goes by the name of Ilfayne.
Hilde is hated by both humans and kyrbodans, as she's neither one nor the other, but finds a friend in a certain badass wizard with a stump.
Like I said, I don't want to spoil the plot, so I shall quote the blurb here:
Condemned to four thousand years of loneliness and regret, Ilfayne finds a rare thing in Hilde: a friend. For that, he will do anything to keep her safe. Just as he gathers the courage to reveal the tender feelings he thought he’d lost, her kyrbodan blood forces her to bond with a man of her own race. To deny the bond means she could die. Either way, she is lost to him.
Now llfayne’s oldest enemy has resurfaced, a sorcerer who will stop at nothing to destroy him. Including targeting their greatest vulnerabilities—Ilfayne’s hidden love for Hilde, and Hilde’s guilt-wracked conscience.
When the sorcerer makes his move, Hilde holds the lives of two men in her hands—and faces a terrible and deadly choice. Loyalty…or love.
From start to finish, the story grabbed me by the unmentionables and pulled me along (I finished the book at 5am, as I didn't want to stop). The more you get into it, the greater the stakes become, and Julia does an excellent job of ramping up the tension. By the end, you truly care for the characters (I was practically in tears at one point), and don't want it to end.
So, to sum up: A well written, gripping story with 3 dimensional characters, a plot chocked full of tension, and some turnips.
What are you waiting for? GO BUY IT!
PS - I'm sure some are thinking "he's just pimping because he knows the author." That's not true. Granted, I know her, but if the book sucked, I wouldn't review it. :-)
PPS - Oh, and don't be put off by the romance element. I'd say it was 70% fantasy and 30% romance. Others may disagree, as I can be dense to romance elements.
PPPS - The sequel is out in January! Can't wait!