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Eliani is enjoying her last day before her confirmation of majority ceremony.  Tomorrow she turns 50 and not only reaches majority but also will be named nextkin to the governor of Alpinon.  As she relaxing in her favorite spot up in a tree, a single man walks by arousing her curiosity.  She decides to follow him learning that he is from Greenglen. 

Turisan is the nextkin and son of the Greenglen governor.  He’s been set to Alpinon to witness the governor’s daughter, Eliani’s majority, pass on a message and to attend a handfasting ceremony.  When he realizes that someone is following him, he confronts her.  Not knowing Eliani, he assumes that this woman is just a Guardian.  This assumption stays until he’s formally introduced to Eliani.
Turisan is drawn to Eliani but she is leery about anything concerning a relationship after a not so good cupfasting.  That relationship turned sour about half way through the year and a day of its duration.  Turisan is willing to accept that until unexpectantly they discover that they can communicate through mindspeech.  Turisan is letting Eliani decide how close they should get and how fast but circumstances change and they’re changing fast.  Eliani may not have any choices soon.
Across the Ebon mountains are former aelven that are now called alben.  Their clan was forced by war to relocate there.  Their crime was cruelty to creatures by drinking their blood.  Shalar is their leader and she wants to return to their rightful lands.  She’s willing to do anything to accomplish that including starting another war.  As she maneuvers her hunters into warriors, she also worries about the future of her clan.  Birth rates are down and instead of increasing their clan is decreasing. 
This was a wonderful story full on intrigue, romance, back stabbing, caring and everything in between. 
This world is well thought out.  Descriptions of the lands were so well done that even the different variety of trees and flowers were mentioned.  Winter is coming and as this is a large world, season changes are different in each region.  Natural wonders such as a waterfall are prevalent.  Gardens, orchards and tended lands are also incorporated into the story.  Mountains play a major role as territorial divides.  This world was so well presented that I could visualize where the characters were located.
The characters were just as well written.  Eliani is a strong woman with some insecurities.  She has a strong sense of right and wrong and truly believes in the Creed of the Aelven.  As she struggles to find her way, you can feel her pain and desires.  Shalar is selfish and wants her desires fulfilled regardless of whom she has to use.  She is positive she knows what is best for her clan. She is also obsessed with becoming pregnant and having more children born to her clan.  Turisan is strong and patient when he needs to be.  He’s willing to wait for Eliani to make up her mind.  He knows how to be a leader yet he knows how to follow just as well.  Even the secondary characters have their own unique personalities and roles in this well-done story.
The struggles are priceless.  They are also as varied, as there are struggles.  Eliani struggles with herself.  Shalar struggles to obtain land.  Turisan struggles to give Eliani time.  Others have their own struggles and they all come together to keep you glued to this book to find out what happens next as each piece is part of a puzzle and its placement changes the picture. 
I found myself enthralled with this story.  I didn’t want to put it down.  It kept my attention even when I was suppose to be doing other things.  I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again.  However, it left me with unfilled questions and at the brink of war.  Now, I have to wait until the next book comes out.  Still, I loved reading about Eliani and Turisan and can’t wait to read more.

Book Blurb for Betrayal

The noble and magical aelven were riven by war when a rogue clan embraced a forbidden source of magic: the drinking of blood. In the bitter fighting that ensued, the vampiric Clan Darkshore were cast out of the aelven and driven across the Ebon Mountains. Stripped of their various clan colors, they were thenceforth known only as “alben,” hated and shunned. An uneasy peace now holds over the land, but it is whispered that Shalár, the beautiful and bloodthirsty queen of the alben, is readying a surprise attack to win back all that was lost–and none can say where or when she will strike.

The fate of the clans will depend on two young aelven lovers, Eliani and Turisan, who are blessed with a legendary gift: the fabled power of mindspeech. But this ability comes with great risks. Time is running out as the alben mount their attack–and their ultimate betrayal.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2009 5.00