I loved this book - but it's not a standalone. Points taken off for this not being made clear.
This book is standard Lynn Kurland in all the best ways: a heroine with an inner strength and tricks of her own, a hero who is gentle when it counts and chivalrous beyond his own imagining, and an evil bigger than a person's own petty fears of what they could be if they only reached.
I like Kurland's heroes in that they're not afraid of a few tears - they understand that when a man loves deeply, then that same thing that gives them the ability to be so devoted also means they feel other things just as strongly.
It was fun to see some characters that I had met before. Morgan and Miach, are as usual, my very favorites, but seriously, this reformed black mage and horse lass might just give them a rush for their money.
There's a lot of mystery going on in this book. What exactly are the shadows, what is that spell following Acair around and who cast it, and so forth, but Kurland manages to give just enough resolution in other things to keep this reader leashed.
I cannot wait for the next installment - hopefully one in which Acair and Leirsinn actually fesses up to their feelings.
The New York Times bestselling Nine Kingdoms Saga continues in a land where light and dark magic vie, and where a reluctant hero and seemingly defenseless stable maid must join forces against an encroaching evil.
Acair of Ceangail, youngest bastard son of the worst black mage in history, has followed in his father’s footsteps, wreaking havoc throughout the world and leaving powerful enemies in his wake. After a year of reparation, he owes a final bit of penance: twelve months spent working in a barn without using his magic.
Léirsinn of Sàraichte understands horses, stable work, and how to judge men’s hearts. When she starts seeing shadows where there should only be light, she knows there is evil afoot. Unfortunately, it's something she can’t fight on her own.
Acair’s attempts to aid Léirsinn only draw the notice of dangerous mages against whom he is currently defenseless. With only each other to rely on, Acair and Léirsinn find themselves suddenly in a race to save the world before it’s consumed by darkness...