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WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend--and failed.
Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that--a dream. She’d better be.
Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t enable him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know--or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.
Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.
The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.
I read the ebook when it came out and was thrilled to listen to it in audiobook. The narrator, Ian McEuen, did a great job adding accents to people from the various societies. I've read the whole series, and it was great to go back to the beginning again. I'd forgotten how resistant Vatar was to magic at first.
Mansfield's writing is solid, and she tells an imaginative and sometimes gripping story. Interesting cultures. I thought it was fascinating that the nomadic Dardani were actually more culturally sophisticated in some ways than the city people.
I found Vatar to be very likable, and I felt so bad for him. The terrible guilt at not being able to save his friend was bad enough, but to have his friend's father blame Vatar and seek to punish him was terrible.
Vatar's journey includes finding out that the father he's always known was not the one who had fathered him, if that makes sense. Vatar is appalled to find out that the "sperm donor" was a powerful wizard--or that Vatar has half siblings all over the place. The last thing Vatar wants is to have anything to do magic.
It was fun to watch Vatar really grow into a man--often in the school of hard knocks. To be so young and a "divorced" father only added to his challenges.
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