Author: Lynn Kurland
Dreamer’s Daughter is the last novel in the third of three interconnected trilogies, and completes the epic quest of Aisling of Bruadair and Rùnach of Ceangail. But, of all the challenges they’ve faced so far, none may be so great as Aisling’s acceptance of the birthright she’s denied until now. What began as a search to find someone else to save her homeland and return the throne to its rightful rulers has become Aisling’s own voyage of self-discovery, leading to the realization that she is much more important in the grand scheme of things than she ever thought possible.
One of the aspects of this trilogy that I’ve begun to enjoy a great deal is Aisling’s reluctant, but increasing level of comfort with her changing world that has been sneaking up on her, particularly in the last two novels. At this point, neither Aisling nor Rùnach can deny the magic that she possesses, and her unwittingly easy use of it as they continue forward creates quite a few funny moments. In the Nine Kingdoms, spells equal power, and are prized as highly as the finest gems to either be inherited, won, or, at worst, stolen. So, watching the men whom Aisling has been aided by, who are supposed to be more knowledgeable and adept than she is, become dumbstruck by her innate abilities was extremely entertaining.
Not having read the first two parts of the series, I still had a hard time keeping track of the various places referenced, as well as some of the other characters, but that’s no fault of the author or the series as a whole. I do think that I missed a lot of world-building that would have helped with both concerns, and I wish that I’d had the opportunity to follow along in the Nine Kingdoms from the very beginning. Aside from that, I only had a couple of issues with how Dreamer’s Daughter ended, specifically, the final battle, which was dominated by a near-slapstick breakdown of allegiances between the masterminds of the entire ordeal. The ready turnabout of Rùnach’s primary nemesis was also somewhat difficult to reconcile, although his actions did ultimately merit a degree of forgiveness.
As someone with an appreciation for a little romance in the stories I read, I was very happy about the deepening relationship between Aisling and Rùnach. They joke and tease, hold and comfort each other, and indulge in kisses with such real affection that the love between them seems very believable. They share a similar sense of humor, which provides quite a few amusing moments, too. Theirs is a true partnership, with Rùnach more often deferring to Aisling’s opinions than not, and, in fact, only offering his own when a situation requires input from all parties affected, or when she asks him for it. This is ultimately Aisling’s story, and, while Rùnach never hides his worry or desire to protect her, he accepts that she has a duty to fulfill and readily expresses his faith that she is entirely able to do so.
On the whole, I wouldn’t normally choose a title in this genre for myself, but I’ve been happily surprised by the Nine Kingdoms series. Filled with magic and adventure, it has been everything I expected, but it is also packed with humor and just the right amount of romance to make me care deeply about what happened to both Aisling and Rùnach. As was the case with both of the other stories I had the pleasure of reading, Dreamer’s Daughter also has plenty of fascinating secondary characters, Muinear, Aisling’s great-great-grandmother, and Soilléir, chief among them. The ending is a roll call of most of the characters introduced throughout the narratives, all brought together for a well-earned tying up of loose ends. Overall, I was very glad to have been able to read at least part of such a compelling series, and would recommend it to anyone with a love of both fantasy and romance. That the role of savior falls on the capable shoulders of a woman hidden in the shadows for most of her life only adds to my conviction that this series one to keep.
Aisling of Bruadair’s quest to restore her country’s rightful rulers to their throne has been long and difficult. Now, after a lifetime of lies, she’s confronted with an unexpected truth: Bruadair’s salvation may lie within her. But the path to harnessing her newly discovered magical gifts threatens to her lead her back through a past that may well spell her death.
With his own magic restored, Rùnach of Ceangail has come to terms with the fact that the simple life he once coveted is no longer an option. Instead, he is determined to help Aisling fulfill her quest, even if his part of the bargain includes facing evil mages with power far greater than his own.
But once they reach Bruadair, Rùnach and Aisling discover that nothing is as it seems, and not only must they accept their past, they must also embrace their destiny—before the enemies drawing near succeed in extinguishing all the light in the world…
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Series: Nine Kingdoms #9
Format(s): paperback (336 pages), e-book
Book Source: NetGalley
Dreamer’s Daughter (Nine Kingdoms #9)