3 out of 4
The Shadari lived peaceful lives between the desert and the sea until attacked and conquered by the Norlanders. The conquerors are called the Dead Ones by the Shadari as their pale skin and cold body temperatures cause them to be nocturnal. Forced to mine a special ore that is mixed with Norlander blood to create magical swords, the Shadari dream of freeing themselves. This novel follows various members of each group as both of their ways of life are threatened. The ruling Governor is ill and gives leadership to his second oldest, Frea, by passing his oldest son, Eofar. While the Shadari Daryan is forced to work as a slave in the palace that was once the sacred home of their religious leaders. Both men have important secrets that will change the delicate balance of their peoples. The Mongrel also has a secret and it’s release destroys Frea and Eofar’s family forever. Mixed in to all of this is the Shadari mysticism and the conflict of knowing bits and pieces of the future.
Not exactly sure what I think of this book. On one hand it is technically well written but on the other hand I never developed a connection with any of the characters. Other than Frea, who goes mad by the end, most of the characters are a bit wishy washy allowing events to carry them along without really stepping up and taking control. Daryan’s story line is supposed to show him growing into the role of a leader but he never quite makes the leap. The Mongrel is the most confusing character. She is a Norlander disfigured by contact with the sun, who should have been left to die but her mother attempted to raise her in secret. When discovered she is put out into the desert to die only to be found by the Nomas, a desert/seafaring clan. The Nomas accidently consecrate her to both their gods, one of the day and one of the night, creating a serious conflict within her that causes her to feel extreme pain at sunrise and sunset. This is also supposed to explain why she can see out of only one eye at night and the other during the day. It just becomes way to complicated. In the end I really didn’t care what happened to any of the characters and even the loss of major characters evoked no feeling.