Born between two cultures,a young woman searches for acceptance. An ancient evil searches for her. A young girl lives as a social outcast due to her mixed human and elven blood. To escape an arranged marriage, Jelena flees into the unknown on a quest to find her elven father. Her journey takes her on an unexpected adventure of magic, danger, and most startling of all - true love.
I really wanted to like this book so much more than I did. While I wouldn't say I was eager as all get to read it, I was intrigued enough by the sample to buy the next two books in the trilogy so I wouldn't have to wait when I finally did find time to read all three.
I sort of kind of regret that impulsive decision (though I did get them on sale, so its not that big a regret) because this didn't live up to the promise of the sample. I was mildly entertained, but mostly my thoughts kept wandering to and fro about the fact I've read it before and better.
Also some of the characters were decidedly bi-polar in their behaviors (looking at you Jelena).
Jelena is special. I don't just mean because she's a half breed, the Duke's deceased only sister's bastard child no less, but because the narrative drives home this fact by telling you. Moore is very big on get straight to the point information dumps. For entire chapters if she can manage. Not about the world, nor very much about the overarching conflict that the first few chapters set up and go nowhere. Most of the info-dumps involved are character info-dumps.
An entire half chapter is devoted to Magnes opining about his doomed love with a commoner's daughter. And Jelena's duties as a servant. And Ashinji's unhappiness about his future. Great. Wonderful. I feel for you all, really I do, but where does this 'Key' fit into things? Why are there chapters upon chapters of 'getting to know one and other', but relatively nothing about the the so-called adventure and danger? Did I fall into a romance? Is three days on the road suddenly 'an adventure'? Being beset by bandits and trampled by one's
Character development wise I think Magnes goes through the most and that's even debatable since really he just falls into depression over his lousy luck of birth. There's almost no character growth at all. Everyone else is basically the same as the first time they are introduced. I honestly felt like the entire book was just a set up for the next book. Like an overly long prologue or 'prequel' novella.
The first few chapters have an exciting battle! Dark Dangerous Evil! Treachery! Urgent Magical Castings That May Not Work! Its All So Important Sounding! Then..the life of a half breed servant girl who is probably the biggest Mary Sue this side of Bella Swan and has the Luck of Ages in her ability to be in the right spot at the right moment for a plot point to drop in her lap so she can get a better step in life.
As far as good traits go...um...well...did I mention the exciting battle in the beginning that went nowhere? There's also some political unrest (that goes mostly nowhere), superficial natterings about race bias and not understanding one's enemy. The Elven folk, contrary to what Legolas' brood would have you believe are decidedly Asian influenced, which is nice but again rather superficial.
Any larger plot this book may have is overshadowed by How Can Ashinji and Jelena Be Together?!? romance which is basically insta-love with a side of Florence Nightingale and possibly some You're the First Boy to Ever See the Real Me thrown in. Hell the great evil the folks in the first few chapters are so worried about gets ONE CHAPTER and its basically him stewing about how much he hates everyone and will make them pay when he gets out. Somehow. When he's stronger.
I'm going to give this trilogy another shot with the next book, Griffin's Shadow, since the totally expected parentage reveal at the end of this book may pay off in an interesting way and Magnes may surprise me yet by pulling an Anakin Skywalker now that he's depressed and lonely. I hope. Seriously. (and if I could give this a 2.5 I would)