The sword’s magical, the wolf is delightful, and the woman bravely pursues her valiant quest. When she meets a quiet half-elf her generous nature compels her to offer him help, but perhaps he’ll end up helping her instead, in more ways than she expects. C. A. Szarek’s Sword’s Call is the first in a series of romantic fantasy novels, set in a pleasingly consistent fantasy world where elves and humans keep themselves to themselves and mixed marriages are frowned on. Social customs of rich and poor, master and servant, ally and foe are all nicely drawn. Backstory is given quickly and smoothly in just the right places, leaving just the right number of questions waiting to be resolved. Why did Jorrin’s father disappear? Who is the mysterious shade? Why didn’t the bad guy win? The author wisely doesn’t answer everything, leaving the reader to ponder and wait for more. But the answers she gives create nicely consistent characters and a believable romance, backed by the traumas of battle and war. For myself, I wish heroines weren’t always so quick to jump to conclusions, and heroes so bad at trying to express themselves. But that’s just me. The romance is fun, built on great dialog, frequent missteps, and occasionally detailed sensual scenes. The swordplay and magic are well-drawn. And different points of view are used to good effect to enhance the action and excitement. The story ends with a nice sense of completion and just enough mystery to make the reader want more, so I hope book two will arrive soon.
Disclosure: I won a free ecopy of this novel.
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