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Author: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Rating: of 5 Battle Axes
Rebecca Beauvelley is a ruined woman.
In a moment of girlish folly, she allowed a high-flying young man to take her up in his phaeton, not realizing that he was drunk. When he dropped the ribbons, she recovered them, but could not avoid disaster. The young man was killed. Rebecca survived, crippled, and with a reputation in tatters.
Against all expectation, her father has found someone who will marry her. Rebecca's life seems set, and she resigned to it. Then, Altimere of the Elder Fey enters her life—and everything changes.
The synopsis is straight from the book page and it describes how this book starts perfectly, hence why I used it.
This is a story of good people and bad people, of good fey and bad fey. Rebecca is one of the good people. Her soon to be husband is one of the bad people. Meripen is one of the good fey, caught and tortured by humans with his lover who sacrificed her life so that he could escape. Altimere is one of the bad fey, a high fey who will do whatever he wants to regain his High status.
Things start out pretty average with poor crippled girl being swept away by enchanting fey who promises to save her from a horrible future. Problem is, the future with the fey is even worse.
And that "even worse" is why I could only give 2 1/2 stars here. I loved the writing, the story, the "overall'ness" of this, but the domination of Rebecca by Altimere was not only magical, it was sexual as well. It was explicit enough that it went beyond the boundary of "part of the story". Also, Altimere uses Rebecca as a sexual lure for other Fey to steal their powers and she is raped, singly and by group and once again it was graphic enough that it turned my stomach. There are other ways to describe what happens without being sexually explicit.
I have enjoyed Miller and Lee's Liaden Universe books a lot and so was really looking forward to this. So to have the above dropped on me was unexpected, unwanted and disappointing. There were several times I wasn't sure if I actually wanted to finish the story.
Thankfully, it wasn't all rape all the time. It was still a good story. I really enjoyed Meripen's story, a fey ranger. We come across him as he is awoken from healing sleep and slowly learn of his past while he must deal with the present. The present involves Fey and Human working together, something Meripen can't really comprehend due to what happened so many years ago.
I will be reading the finale to this duology but it isn't on my "must read" mental list and I won't be moving it up the line to read right away. Overall, my feelings are so mixed between the bad and the good that I'm not even sure of this middle of the road rating.