Author: Erin Hoffman
Buy Link: Buy Sword of Fire and Sea Here!
Rating: You Want to Read
Reviewed By: Janelle
Three generations ago Captain Vidarian Rulorat’s great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to commit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to generations of a rare genetic disease that follows families who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidarian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy, and finds himself chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement, a seventy-year-old alliance between his family and the High Temple of Kara’zul, domain of the fire priestesses.
The priestess Endera has called upon Vidarian to fulfill his family’s obligation by transporting a young fire priestess named Ariadel to a water temple far to the south, through dangerous pirate-controlled territory. A journey perilous in the best of conditions is made more so by their pursuers: rogue telepathic magic-users called the Vkortha who will stop at nothing to recover Ariadel, who has witnessed their forbidden rites.
Together, Vidarian and Ariadel will navigate more than treacherous waters: Imperial intrigue, a world that has been slowly losing its magic for generations, secrets that the priestesshoods have kept for longer, the indifference of their elemental goddesses, gryphons—once thought mythical—now returning to the world, and their own labyrinthine family legacies. Vidarian finds himself at the intersection not only of the world’s most volatile elements, but of colliding universes, and the ancient and alien powers that lurk between them.
I was pretty excited when I got this book. I had seen it on the self at Barns and Nobles, but simply could not justifying adding it to my already extensive reading list. So when I got it to review, I could not believe my luck.
Honestly, I am a bit disappointed. The plot is good and the characters fun, but the story is an emotional void. The characters follow no logical progression of events, and seem like that are being frog marched through the plot. Take for example when Vidarian and Ariadael are ‘summoned’ by the Alorean Greater Import Company for business talks. They had been shopping in the market for a sick friend, and were taken behind at least four check points manned by armed and mounted guards. When Vidarian rejects their deal, they are simply released and escorted back to their Inn…only to have troops sent out to collect them the next morning.
To add to this, we never actually see these troops. We are told they are coming, but for all the urgency shown by the characters, they might as well be out for a stroll. And this lack of urgency ir pervasive throughout. Many characters say how time is short, but Vidarian and Ariadel seem content to hang around in various locations with apparent interest to leave until the plot says so.
Overall, I do like the book, but it needs some polish.