This week I’ve been in the mood to read something mindlessly entertaining. After finishing “Warprize” by Elizabeth Vaughan, I decided to pick up the sequel.
The story begins as our scantily clad heroine, Xylara, feels a bit homesick, despite being hopelessly head-over-heels in love with her Warlord. In order to be officially confirmed as his Warprize, the two must travel to the Heart of the Plains. However, Xylara’s penchant for providing medical care to everyone in need overshadows her usual common sense, and so the Firelanders must face an unknown enemy–the Plague. Meanwhile, tensions within the camp and a fear of the unknown threaten to upset the Warlord’s power.
This book isn’t quite as lighthearted as the last one, and some characters do die, but as a whole it still does convey a feel-good message of hope. I definitely think that of the two books, “Warprize” was better, but I was still caught up in the story, and I like the way that Xylara and her Warlord become closer as a couple throughout the book despite realizing each other’s weaknesses. It’s nice to take a story beyond the initial happily-ever-after and see how the couple progresses to face new challenges. I was also glad to be able to see more of the Fireland culture, especially their celebratory traditions. One of my favorite little details in the story was the way that Xylara taught the Firelanders to play chess, and the way that they changed the rules and adapted it to make it more suitable to their warrior culture.
If this were just a romance novel, I don’t think that I’d find this series as addicting as I have, but I’m a fan of the medieval setting and I love the way that Vaughan is able to build another culture that isn’t just a copy/paste version of an existing one. There’s enough action and conflict to keep the story interesting, and Xylara and her Warlord make a cute couple.
While the book is far from perfect, the story is entertaining and fun. I tend to have difficulty finding good escapist novels, but so far this series is working out well for me. I’ll be back to my usual types of reviews in a few days, but for now light reading is a nice break from the routine.