Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He'd never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.
But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.
Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.
Comment: The first installment in this fantasy series was something I enjoyed reading a lot. I was naturally curious about this second story and if it would be as interesting as the first one. Thankfully, it proved to be entertaining and very well done in my opinion. Too bad my time for reading has been a bit complicated due to busy touristic season...
In this second novel, the situation in the city of Jeru is now being fixed and most Gifted people are being recognized and defended by the king and queen. Outside Jeru city things are still tricky and besides, the Volgar race, the natural enemy of everyone else, is still a threat. Kjell of Jeru, the bastard brother of the king is a captain with the task of fighting the Volgar and helping people but he recently found out he is Gifted and he is a Healer, something not easy to accept along his killing the enemy side.
In a distant region Kjell saves a woman from dying and from then one, she seems to want to follow him as she thinks she owns him. But a twist and the hunt for an old enemy can change Kjell's life completely, even after his feelings towards the saved woman change as well.
This story is very sweet. I do like how the author has created such a world and how things were being developed.
Maybe, because I did read it rather recently, I found many points in common with a certain book by Naomi Novik and it wasn't easy to ignore that. But, of course, this novel lives on its own merit and I did enjoy spending time in this world a lot more. The fantasy aspects, along with the incredible characters make for a very emotional and poignant story without making it just another already seen plot or clichéd end.
I really liked this novel and all the twists that we were given. I just think that, from a certain moment on, after one of the biggest twists happens, one character no longer behaved as expected and while I understand that from a plot POV, it was still quite a change and the story didn't seem to flow at the same pace.
This aside, it was quite thew treasure to read the story and to wait to see what would happen next, especially considering the emotional journey some characters also had to make.
The focus is clearly Kjell and I confess I really liked him and his thoughts, his way of behaving, his honor and why he struggled to accept certain things or act a certain way. It was very emotional to see some situations through his eyes but in the end of course every action is worth the HEA he gets and truly deserves. He is quite the layered character and often his choices makes us think but I think he is the type of hero anyone could defend, even more so after being not such an obvious hero type in the previous book.
The relationship between Kjell and Sasha, the woman he rescues, is complex. I was quite surprised by some situations after they admitted some fo their feelings and there is a moment where things go to a path I was not getting fond of. But thankfully, things never stopped making sense and the author didn't use clichés to make things more obvious or dramatic instead.
The interesting aspect is how the characters relate to their Gifts, to those around them and to the opinions and/or expectations others have too. It was very, very interesting to have some focus on the Gifts and how that could impact people'«s choices and so on. When it came to Sasha and Kjell, their Gifts were a bit like them: they can be a team, they can help each other but that doesn't make them indispensable to one another, just an easy completion of two souls.
In the end, this was a very good read, it was exciting, imaginative, we still had scenes with the previous couple, we have two new protagonists who interact with each other and others quite often and that makes the plot move along and feel full and vibrant. It's a good story for me.