Recently, I did a bit of review surfing and picked up Elizabeth Vaughn’s Warprize. Although I dearly love YA, I’ve really been needing a break. I could not have picked a better book to escape with than this one.
Book Review: Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughn
Title & Author: Warprize (The Chronicles of the Warlands, Book 1) by Elizabeth Vaughn
Genre: Fantasy – Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2005
Series: Chronicles of the Warlords #1
How I Got the Book: Bought
Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.
Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can’t usurp her brother or negotiate a peace–but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.
But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara’s conscience won’t let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.
She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes…
There is so much to love about Warprize. Gushing-ness #1: Making the ultimate sacrifice. I love it when books force characters to make a huge decision. One that usually means the fate of thousands of people are riding on their choice to be selfish or to be sacrificing.
In the very beginning of Warprize, Lara (a royal daughter of the kingdom) must make one such decision. She is bold and frightened, and I felt her struggle and loved how well Vaughn painted both Lara’s strength and her doubt.
Gushing-ness #2: lost in translation-type misunderstandings. Because of her horrible and hateful step-brother, Lara is forced to become a physical peace-treaty and must live among a tribe of Firelander people. Between their warlord, Keir, and the rest of his motley crew, Lara tries to communicate and live with people who are foreign to her in every way.
The accidental confusions and hilarious missteps are charming and plot-essential. I loved reading those “aha” moments where Lara put the pieces together of why the Firelander people acted or spoke the way they did.
Romance Right up my Alley
Another interesting aspect to this book was the fantasy element. Although the time is set in the typical medieval, pre-industrial time, Lara (and everyone else really) possesses no magic. She heals people…but with herbs and medical know-how. It’s not something you’d expect in a fantasy book, but I liked that Vaughn didn’t take the expected route.
And, as I come to expect in all my fantasy picks, there was a wonderful romance. It was soft and bumbling, but wholly charming and sweet. The mix of cultures also added a lot of interest – especially when that Lara and Keir were confused about each other most of the time.
I loved Lara’s spunk – she’s got a temper and a potty mouth (for the time), plus she’s totally fearless.
This was a perfect fantasy book to kick me out of a temporary reading slump. Warprize is an ideal romantic fantasy – funny, sweet and exciting.