My head hurts because I stayed up way too late to read this book.
The Trateri are about to learn a vital lesson of the Broken Lands. Deep in the remote expanse where anything can happen, it pays to be on a pathfinder’s good side.
Nobody ventures beyond their village walls. Nobody sane that is. Monstrous creatures and deadly mysteries wait out there. Lucky for the people she serves, Shea’s not exactly sane. As a pathfinder, it’s her job to face what others fear and protect her charges from the dangers that await in the Broken Lands. It’s not an easy job, but she’s the best at what she does.
When the people she serves betray her, Shea must rely on her wits and skill to survive the Trateri, a barbarian horde sweeping in to conquer the Lowlands, and their warlord, a man as dangerous as he is compelling. Her actions and the decisions she makes might mean the difference between life or death. Danger looms on the horizon and a partnership with the Warlord may be the only thing preventing the destruction of everything she holds dear.
Centuries ago a cataclysm occurred. The planet is teeming with beasts: huge bugs, pack of hyper-intelligent predators, and giant birds. Things are better on the plains, but the higher you climb, the more dangerous it gets, especially in the Highlands, where isolated villages exist among the treacherous maze of mountain pathways shrouded in mists that will kill an outsider.
Even the people born and raised in the villages don’t dare to venture into the wilderness. Only pathfinders, trained by their guild, can lead traders and travelers through the mountains. If the village plays their cards right, they will be assigned a pathfinder. If they get that pathfinder killed, no other will come and the village will wither and die.
Shea is a pathfinder. Once she had a brilliant future with the guild, but a serious mistake gets her assigned to a remote Highlander village where half of the people mistrust her because she is a woman and the others don’t like her because she tells them no when they are trying to make some crazy schemes. One of these schemes involves an elder who sent his son and another man to a Lowland village to negotiate trade, even though Shea specifically told him not to do it. The men didn’t return and Shea takes two guys and goes to rescue them.
During the rescue, she ends up saving two strangers, both of whom are not from anywhere in the mountains and both of whom look like they kill people for a living. One of them, Fallon, is clearly interested in her. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the Warlord of a barbarian horde. He wants her, she wants to escape, and off we go.
This was fun. I just sunk into the narrative and came up for air around 3:00 am. Loved the world and loved the heroine. The wilderness was well done and that’s what makes Shea so believable. She came out of the crucible of Highlands, and she is resilient and tireless and always learning. She was treated badly by Highlanders and she is really out of place in her society. She fits much better with the Trateri.
Fallon is less defined, but he is what you would expect from a leader of a surprisingly well organized barbarian horde. He is beloved by his warriors and is a decent guy, for the most part. Also he is not used to being outsmarted, which led to some truly hilarious moments.
I felt the romance could have been better defined. There needed to be more banter and character development, but there are 2 more books, so we shall see where it goes. I’ll be checking out T.A. White’s backlist because I hate everything and I really like the way she writes.
If you enjoyed WARPRIZE, this is a book for you. A word of warning though: this is a barbarian fantasy, and barbaric things happen. People get kidnapped, villages are purged, and people behave in a way consistent with their upbringing and position in life. There is no rape and most of the violence is of the survive in the wilderness kind, but it does get bloody.
As always, I recommend downloading a sample before buying.
Excerpt: Pathfinder’s Way.