Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Master of Crows by Grace Draven

Master of Crows by Grace Draven

What would you do to win your freedom? This is the question that sets bondwoman, Martise of Asher, on a dangerous path. In exchange for her freedom, she bargains with her masters, the mage-priests of Conclave, to spy on the renegade sorcerer, Silhara of Neith. The priests want Martise to expose the sorcerer's treachery and turn him over to Conclave justice. A risky endeavor, but one she accepts without hesitation.

Silhara of Neith, Master of Crows, is a desperate man. The god called Corruption invades his mind, seducing him with promises of limitless power if he will help it gain dominion over the world. Silhara struggles against Corruption's influence and searches for ways to destroy the god. When Conclave sends Martise as an apprentice to help him, he knows she's a spy. Now he fights a war on two fronts--against the god who would possess him and the apprentice who would betray him.

Mage and spy search together for a ritual that will annihilate Corruption, but in doing so, they discover secrets about each other that may damn them both. Silhara must decide if his fate, and the fate of nations, is worth the soul of a woman, and Martise must choose continued enslavement or freedom at the cost of a man's life.




Initially this cover make me feels that the story emphasize on the sorcerers, magic, politic, battle, war etc etc, with a little hint of romance. But after I finish it, I would say this is actually a fantasy romance with heavy emphasize on the interaction between H/h. 

The story started of with Silhara 'Master of Crows', a powerful sorcerer requested for an apprentice from the Conclave (imagine evil government)to help him with some deciphering. At this point, it was pointed out that Silhara was trying to battle the Corruption (imagine evil demon). 

Martise was of course the apprentice that was being sent. On the surface, she was suppose to help Silhara and in return he will help her to discover her Gift (magic). The Conclave wanted her there as a spy. She was bind to the Conclave by some magic as some sort of slave. So in order to gain her freedom, she needed to deliver 'information' on Silhara. From the beginning, Silhara knows that Martise will be a spy because she is from the Conclave. So there is not mystery there or any doubt. What I like about Martise is that she is not an innocent young lady. She knows hardship and knows what she want in her life. She falls for Silhara somewhere between learning he work manual labor in his farm without using magic or when he reveal some of his past to her. The past I like most is when he talk about his relationship with the oranges. 

When I started with this book, I found it was so beautifully written and I thought I was actually reading a literature instead of a romance book. We seldom came across such beautiful writing in bodice ripper or PNR romance. But fear not, this book is not all serious stuff, there is some funny moments as well. 

You know most of the time, we read about sorcerer and warrior doesn't have any actual job, beside battling and plotting. But Silhara actually own a farm of oranges and he actually work as a farmer. He had a mute servant, Gurn, who acted like his best buddy. And a smelly mutt name Cael. The interaction between Martise with his household was kinda fun to read. And not before long, Martise had already won over his household from Silhara.

The most WOW moment was during the smackdown between Silhara and Martise ex-lover boy. All I can say it, although I was shocked, it also melted my knee right there. 

Grace Draven can manage to make you feel down and then straight away uplift your mood in the same page itself. The most memorable part of the story szs when Silhara ordered Gurn to get him a prostitute because he wanted to stop himself from thinking about Martise too much. I feel in love with Gurn and his intervention. 

The climax was Silhara working with Conclave to battle the Corruption (did I mentioned that the Corruption keep haunting him and wanted to possess him?). Martise play a role here as well, not just sit at home and wait for her hero to return or may not return. 

“And will you love me for a day? A year? A lifetime?."
"Beyond that. Beyond the reign of false gods and meddlesome priests. Beyond al Zafira when her bright stars fade.”

Rating 5/5