“Unquiet Land” by Sharon Shinn artfully returns the reader to the mystical world that is peopled by beings who sometimes have remarkable connections to nature that gives them powers and blessings. It’s been a while since I have read other stories set in this world, so I was a little daunted when I looked at all of the names and the elements at the beginning of the story. I shouldn’t have worried, because this author manages to evoke a vividly depicted world populated by charismatic folks engaged in the deadly dance of survival and diplomacy.
I love the way the story starts with a seemingly minor occurrence, a woman’s return to her home in Welce and her reunion with family after a five-year absence. The changes, both external and internal, make her vaguely uncomfortable as she tries to reintegrate, and it is easy to become caught in the currents along with her as she rebuilds her life. It is fascinating to see the powers that the Primes wield and to see how minor events can start a snowball effect that can change the fate of kingdoms. There are wonderful highs and lows in this story with excellent twists and turns that keep one on the edge of one’s seat, balanced by the deep emotions that are stirred as bonds of love and loyalty are strained to their utmost.
This author is an expert at building fantasy worlds with complex political maneuverings and impressive powers wielded by folks who still manage to be relatable. The love and loyalty, ebb and flow of life, commerce and simple pleasures like finding a ‘pet’ all are deftly described in a way that keeps one anxious to finish the story yet disappointed when all of the action comes to an end. The intriguing quirks such as a musical instrument that can only be heard by a select few, or a omnivorous fish with a bent toward carnivorism, or a malodorous black market item all give flavor and enrichment to the story and I am anxious to discover how things continue to progress in Welce and elsewhere.
Leah Frothen’s return to her home and family is welcome but complicated by the changes that are taking place and the responsibilities she left behind but wants to shoulder. Old ties and new ones add to her conflict plus a request by her friend and leader lands her in the middle of a delicate dance of diplomacy with foreigners. The more secrets she uncovers, the more complicated and dangerous her position becomes until it is difficult to distinguish friend from foe—and her life, and possibly the fate of the kingdom, depends on making the right choice.
FROM THE NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF JEWELED FIRE
In the latest novel in Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series, a woman is confronted with the past she left behind—and an uncertain future...
Leah Frothen has returned home to rebuild the life she’s avoided for years. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned to meet with the regent, Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in...
Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago. Leah is simultaneously thrilled, terrified, hopeful, moved, and almost undone as she slowly attempts to become part of her daughter’s life.
But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, she develops a dangerous friendship with a foreign woman and finds herself falling in love with a man from her past. Soon Leah learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.