The Mage's Daughter

Lynn Kurland
2008, Fantasy Romance
Berkley Sensation, $14.00, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 042521916X
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Kisses

Fantasy is fast becoming my favorite niches within the romance genre. The Mageís Daughter, the second in The Nine Kingdoms series by Lynn Kurland, is just one of the few books Iíve read recently that is slowly luring me into the world of fantasy.

Morgan of Melksham is recovering from a near fatal poising at the hands of an evil mage. She also feels betrayed by Miach, whom she learned to trust and care for deeply but who did not tell her of his real identity as a Prince of Neroche, a powerful mage. Eventually fleeing to the tower of her mentor for mercenary training, Morgan hopes to continue her recovery in safety and away from the thing she fears and hates most - magic - that she only now realizes she possesses.

For the safety of his brotherís kingdom, Miach was forced to leave Morgan in the care of others after her poisoning. He panics when he can no longer feel her presence with his magic and searches for her in order to explain and win her trust again. Unfortunately for Miach, Morganís refuge is a place where magic will not work and to enter he has to go through the brutal training of a mercenary - on his own and without his magic.

Morgan is stunned when she realizes Miach is at the tower determined to convince her to leave with him. However, the only way for him to leave alive, as legend has it, is to successfully complete the training. Though a while in coming, Morgan finally realizes what Miach is enduring for her and, as a result, he is able to gradually win her trust again. However, he must also force her to face who she is and who many of those around her really are.

As unknown dangers begin to eat at the magic Miach uses to keep the Nine Kingdoms safe, he knows itís time for him to leave, with or without Morgan. Morgan wants to be with him, regardless of her fear of magic and her lineage. Together they venture to the kingdom of her motherís family, where Morgan has long been thought dead. There they hope to discover more clues as to the source of the black magic seeping through their world and find a way to be together.

Kurlandís characters are typical of those I enjoy most. Miach is a strong hero with ability and confidence, yet he recognizes his limitations. He knows what he wants and sets out to convince Morgan of his love. Morgan is a strong, yet sensible heroine - and a better swordsmen than Miach - but not in an irritating way. While Miach wants to protect Morgan, they learn to work as partners.

The momentum of the story slowed once or twice, yet for the most part it was a page turner to the very end. Since this is the second installation of the trilogy, I felt a little lost having not read the first. I missed when Morgan and Miach met and fell in love and, while this book ends positively, itís not the end for them, and I do hate to wait. Despite people and place names with far too many consonants for me to correctly pronounce, I was able to enjoy their magical world.

The Mageís Daughter is a fantasy romance that is certainly worth a read. I look forward to the reading the conclusion of the series and plan to pick up the earlier book, Star of The Morning (despite its C+ grade here), just to see what Iíve missed.

-- Heather Brooks

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