A girl falls in love with a warrior from a rival clan.
Lira of clan Stone is the granddaughter of the ruler of Glasnith and god-gifted with the ability to read souls. Soon she must choose between marrying a highborn man from another clan or entering Aillira’s Temple to study under the priestesses. Neither appeals to her—she yearns instead to travel. Sneaking out to wander the shore, she’s confronted with a shipwreck; men torn to bits by the Brine Beast dot the harbor, all dead save one. Lira recognizes him, recalling that he saved her once, long ago, from being kidnapped by his people. Now she returns the favor. Reyker, the warrior, is a Westlander—what Lira’s people call a beast of the Frozen Sun—and his people came to take her island. They were thwarted this time, but he warns her they’ll keep trying. As romance blooms between Lira and Reyker, in-fighting broils between Lira’s father and uncle, the god of death gains new power, and the powerful warlord who once controlled Reyker inches closer. Though tightly plotted, clichés abound, there is too much telling rather than showing, and the romance feels too prophetically forced to hold any tension. A hinted-at sequel will hopefully focus on the gods and magic, the strongest elements of the story. Characters seem to default to white.
A sprawling epic too reliant on clichés and stilted romance. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)