In a desperate attempt to deliver word to the Elf King of Wyndwood and those of the old alliance for a call to arms, she is the last surviving messenger sent forth by her people. Now, trapped in a storm at the top of the world, she fights to survive the deadly elements in a strange land.
Despised by Elves and shunned by mortals, she must now find the courage to make a place in this world, and the compassion to save those who keep her at arm’s-length. This adventure recounts the defining moments in her life that had forged her into a deadly warrior, a great captain and a legend amongst the people of Imago."
From the Author's Website.
As you can see in the blurb above, this book is a prequel to the first two books in the series. However, it is the third book released in the Imago Series. I have yet to read the first two installments, but I am glad I got to read the prequel before I get to dig into the first two.
This book tells the journey of Nayla Treeborn from when she is a weakling child until she becomes a strong warrior maiden. Imago in an imaginary world where Humans (Mortals) and Elves live side by side in the land of Orien. Nayla is the daughter of a High Elf and a Mortal woman. She is one of a kind, being part of both worlds and not really belonging to either. Though she ages much slower than a mortal, it is not nearly as slow as the elves.
We meet Nayla in mid of the snow and when she is trying to find a warm place to hide from the enemy, during a long and hard mission. She finds some sleep and reminisces on the life she has led and all that has brought her up to that point. Then we "travel" to the past and see that her journey starts when she is 12 years old (she appears as 12 in mortal years) and her father's brutality has reached extremes. After her mother's passing, she was left in his hands and they were heavy hands to be dealt with. She is saved by an Elf close to her father and taken to live in the north with the Kagai Warriors, for they are honorable and would not tell Nayla's father of her whereabouts or who brought her there.
From then on we follow Nayla as she tries to overcome the prejudice of mortals and elves alike for being half-caste, and succeeds in becoming one the most feared and legendary warriors of all times. She goes through numerous battles against the Imperial Soldiers coming from the Land of Keso, that keep trying to invade Orien's lands throughout the centuries. The big villain of the book is the Sorcerer Eldred Firestaff, that hates mortals and elves alike and uses the King of Keso as an Ally against the People of Orien. The battle scenes were really well written and griping in my opinion. Suzuki didn't have any qualms in dealing with death and gore, things I find are essentially part of a battle and of a War in general.
I really enjoyed Nayla's story and journey throughout the times. I found her to be a very strong and lovable character. The difficulties she goes through life, being them emotional or physical are great and definitely pull on the heart strings. As a warrior, Nayla is known as Takaro and has become a legend among Mortals and Elves. Nayla felt bereft and undeserving of love ever since her mother's passing and has found comfort in having a purpose to life, even if that purpose is living in constant battle.
I love that even though Nayla is hardened by time and the hurts she's been through, she is still able to see the beauty in the world and her loyalty to her brother warriors is something I found amazing and beautiful. She is stubborn, annoying and even dense at times, but her qualities as a warrior and a woman surpass her misgivings, in my opinion.
I think my favorite character in the book is Joval Stonecroft, the elf that saves Nayla and later becomes a good friend to her. I was pretty upset with him for a while during the story, but he definitely made it up to me afterwards. Besides, he is such a hottie =))) There is some romance in the story and we go through a roller coaster in that aspect. Love is something very hard for Nayla and it just doesn't get any easier. There isn't much in the sex department, but what there is, I found to be very well presented and tastefully so.
I had a couple of problems with the book though. I could not really grasp very well what was the villain's motivation to hate these people so much in the beginning. Though after Nayla always averting his attempts, I could understand why he would continue on, I didn't get his initial motivation. My other, kind of, problem was with the narration. The book is narrated in the third person and it changes points of view between a lot of characters, from paragraph to paragraph at times. Though I did like having those POVs, it got a bit confusing sometimes.
All in all, I became a huge fan of this world Created by L.T. Suzuki and I have already ordered Books 1 and 2 @ Amazon. There are 8 books total in the series so far, including a couple prequels that take place in the Pre-Nayla Era.
I give this Book 4 out of 5 Loveys =))) (Sorry to my smut sisters, smut level is 0.5 =/ hehe)
Thank you L.T. Suzuki for sending me this book and you can definitely count me as big fan of your work from now on =)
Imago Book Two: Tales From the East @ Amazon
Imago Book Three: Warrior's Tale
Imago Book Four: The Tears of God
Imago Book Five: Destiny's End
Imago Book Six: The Spell Binder
and ALL the 9 Books can be found HERE.
Well, that is it for now...
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