This installment is a typical, good ole Fantasy novel. According to my friend Jojo, it is a Young Adult novel, but it is by an author whose novels I have been curious about for a while. This was my first real taste of this author's work and I've definitely added her to the top of my To Be Read list. Read on, if you choose. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
In this, the first book of Tamora's third series, we are taken away from the land of Tortall to a new place, with new countries and new faces. We are introduced to four individuals with very different backgrounds: Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, a young noble woman from Zakdin, orphaned by a plague of smallpox; Daja, daughter of a Trader family, orphaned by a storm at sea and outcast from her people for being the sole survivor of that storm; Roach a.k.a Briar Moss, a thrice-caught thief in Sotat, slated to be shipped off to a life of hard labor as punishment; and Trisana Chandler, abandoned and unwanted by her Merchant family, she is tossed from cousin to cousin until Niklaren Goldeye sees in her something he sees in all of them: greatness.
Niko Goldeye travelled the lands, gathering the foursome together and taking them a Winding Circle ~ the Winding Circle of Emelan ~ a place where those gifted with magic ability go to learn. Circumstances warrent that these four be closer together than any of them would wish as they find themselves relying on each other for protection against those that would harm them for their differences. Slowly, they come to trust each other, which is good, since it could mean their lives otherwise...
This book had a very different feel than the Lioness Quartet and the Immortals Quartet. I attribute this to the different land, the different cultures and the different magic system. Though the system in the other books was elemental based, this one is more closely tied in with the elements, and that's something I always enjoy. It's part of a series and yet, like the other two, it's complete in and of itself. In the end there is a result... though I feel that, if you can go by the previous two series, unrelated though they are, this book, and the series, is going to lead up to something bigger and more intertwined.
A very good, very light read that I must recommend. Tamora is a very gifted story teller, I feel. Bearing in mind that this is YA fantasy, one should not expect a very complicated plot, or story. The YA age group should not be ignored just because its geared toward younger readers, as some readers tend to do. Give it a shot! You might be surprised!