In this gorgeous fantasy novel that NPR Books called “a world to get lost in,” in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley, a prince and a princess must work together to save their kingdom from outside invaders…and dangers within.
Long ago the Kieba, last goddess in the world, raised up her mountain in the drylands of Carastind. Ever since then she has dwelled and protected the world from unending plagues and danger…
Gulien Madalin, heir to the throne of Carastind, finds himself more interested in ancient history than the tedious business of government and watching his father rule. But Gulien suspects that his father has offended the Kieba so seriously that she has withdrawn her protection from the kingdom. Worse, he fears that Carastind’s enemies suspect this as well.
Then he learns that he is right. And invasion is imminent.
Meanwhile Gulien’s sister Oressa has focused on what’s important: avoiding the attention of her royal father while keeping track of all the secrets at court. But when she overhears news about the threatened invasion, she’s shocked to discover what her father plans to give away in order to buy peace.
But Carastind’s enemies will not agree to peace at any price. They intend to not only conquer the kingdom, but also cast down the Kieba and steal her power. Now, Gulien and Oressa must decide where their most important loyalties lie, and what price they are willing to pay to protect the Kieba, their home, and the world.
Neumeier makes extensive use of hoary, predictable elements of epic quest fantasy: a kingdom (Carastind) threatened by ruthless invaders (Tamaristans), a spunky young princess (Oressa) rebelling against her father's plan to marry her to an enemy prince (Gajdosik), powerful remnants of bygone technology, and sacrificial coming-of-age rituals for both the princess and her older brother. Neumeier manages to leaven the familiar plot with a sincere attempt to produce distinctive speech patterns for her various characters, who carry the narrative forth with determination despite an occasionally jarring contemporary tone. The romantic subplot also convincingly illustrates a distinctly 21st-century feminist worldview. Neumeier fleshes out her world with fulsome details of geography and climate, but her lengthy philosophical passages seem vague and convoluted. Since she also gives Tamaristan prince Gajdosik three ambitious and expansionist brothers to overcome, this excursion into a mountain of crystallized memories will likely be the opening volume of a series.
So many difficult names, convoluted plot lines, lost me...
I can't get into this book. It got boring with all the difficult names and boring politics. I just don't care about the main character enough to slog through it.