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Now, true, it has been a while since I've read Guardian's Key by Anne Logston, but I remember liking it very much. Fans of the author will note that this one is not like her Shadow series. No one in this book can be said to be elvish, but there are plenty of strange creatures: the Keep Guardian Vanian; a lusty satyr always after our main; a strange old woman who seems to love to talk about anything other than the information needed.
It is the story of Dara, a young mage wannabe who embarks on a journey in search of herself, and her magic. The only goal in her search is to become good enough to be allowed to marry her childhood love and to do it, she must claim her own magical abilities. She believes the best way to accomplish this end would be to traverse the mysterious halls of the fabled Crystal Keep.
Once inside, there is only one way out: She must search for an answer by going through every single door in the impossibly long hall that comprises the main bulk of the Crystal Keep. But Vanian is bored of his duties as Guardian, spoiled and sadistic and so it seems his only entertainment, for the time being, is tormenting Dar. He promises her success at every turn, yet stalls her progress with laborious and frustrating chores, hidden behind a veil of knowledge, dinner, and finery. Yet always Dara comes away with nothing, and on she continues. In the end, there is a question: What will she do? What can she do? Does she love Vanian, after all--or more correctly, does he love her?
The ending is very odd--not at all what I was expecting, though I read about half the novel in one sitting--and a bit unsettling, from my point of view. However, his was the only problem I had with the novel. Quite different from any of Anne Logston's earlier works, I still found it enjoyable. Bare in mind, Guardian's Key is more representative of Ms. Logston's current works (and she has written a sequel to this, entitled Exile, concerning Dara and Vanian's daughter Neve--which I am waiting to find), but it will give you a good taste of this wonderful, if underrated, author. One more note, it might be a little hard to find in the book shops, but if you can run across it, I recommend it. Enjoy!