Thursday, December 24, 2015

Suicide Reviews: Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms #1) by Lynn Kurland

 Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms, #1) 

Synopsis: Darkness covers the north, for the black mage has begun assault on the isolated kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held in trust by Neroche's king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades...

The Mercenary

Morgan is a practical woman with no use for magic. Yet she feels compelled to offer her sword to the sorcerer king of Neroche. Her fateful decision will lead her to a magical destiny...and a man whose love will change her life forever.

The King

Adhemar of Neroche's connection to the magic of the land is fading. Helpless to defend his country against the black mage's forces, his only hope is to travel in disguise, searching for the one who was foretold to bring victory.

The Mage

Miach, the archmage of Neroche, is Adhemar's youngest brother - and duty bound to aid his king. Though they find what they seek, Miach will lose his heart in a way he never could have foreseen. 

In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. For the king is less than he should be, the mage is far more than he appears, and the mercenary will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword - and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined...

Date Published: December 5, 2006
Published By: Berkley Trade
Number of Pages: 336
Rating: 2/5

Well, this was a total snoozefest.

I was really hopeful that Star of the Morning would be an epic romantic fantasy that I could really sink my teeth into but instead I got a Lord of the Rings rip-off with a tepid romantic plot. 

First, let's discuss the plot. There really isn't much of one. Basically, Morgan meets Adhemar and Miach and they travel with her to Neroche so she can deliver a magical blade to the king. That's it. They are attacked by some 'dark creatures' along the way but the battle scenes are usually just a paragraph long and are so boring that calling them 'action' scenes is being disingenuous.

And as for these 'dark creatures?' I have absolutely no idea what they look like. They are described as 'foul' and 'something out of a nightmare.' Well, okay, but that's not really helpful when it comes to imagining what they look like. Maybe if she called them 'orcs' I would've been able to picture them better.

There is nothing original in the world of the Nine Kingdoms. It has elves, dwarfs, dragons, magic spells, wizards, etc. There is nothing in here that distinguishes it from a cliched fantasy story. The one dwarf character in the story carries a battleaxe, for god's sake. There's no sense of depth to the world which makes it hard to believe in. And if I don't believe in your world, I'm not going to care about the story. 

All of this might have been forgiven if the romance was compelling. But it's not. I didn't sense any sort of chemistry between Miach and Morgan and there was no sexual tension whatsoever. The most they do is hold hands. They're both like 'OMG WE JUST TOUCHED HANDS!' and I'm just sitting here like 'are you kidding me?' 

I understand that Lynn Kurland deliberately writes PG romance because that is what she's comfortable with. And that's totally fine. I don't think every romance novel needs to have sex in it. (Although I prefer the ones that do.) What I can't forgive is a romance where there is no tension. There are plenty of YA novels where the two romantic leads don't do anything more than kiss but there is still a sense of chemistry and heat. This is not the case with Star of the Morning. 

I would close by saying that just because I didn't enjoy this book doesn't mean that you won't. My review is no substitute for reading the book yourself and forming your own opinion.

Have your read Star of the Morning? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! 


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