Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A Dance with Fate by Juliet Marillier
Series: Warrior Bards #2
Published by Ace on September 1, 2020
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The young warrior and bard Liobhan has lost her brother to the Otherworld. Even more determined to gain a place as an elite fighter, she returns to Swan Island to continue her training. But Liobhan is devastated when her comrade Dau is injured and loses his sight in their final display bout. Blamed by Dau's family for the accident, she agrees to go to Dau's home as a bond servant for the span of one year.
There, she soon learns that Oakhill is a place of dark secrets. The vicious Crow Folk still threaten both worlds. And Dau, battling the demon of despair, is not an easy man to help.
When Liobhan and Dau start to expose the rot at the center of Oakhill, they place themselves in deadly danger. For their enemy wields great power and will stop at nothing to get his way. It will take all the skills of a Swan Island warrior and a touch of the uncanny to give them a hope of survival. .
Juliet Marillier is an author I always enjoy. A Dance with Fate continues with the primary perspectives being Dau, Liobahn and Brocc. As with the first book, I struggled a bit to get going. It felt like the first 20% of the book took me 3 days to read and then I finished the rest in a day or so. It might have helped me to reread The Harp of Kings, since it was a year ago I started this Warrier Bards trilogy. I would not read these alone or out of order.
All three of our main characters faced rather dire circumstances in this tale. They were strong and compassionate and worked hard themselves but some others were not helpful or kind. The fae are always difficult. In The Harp of Kings, Brocc learned more of his heritage and found love and a new life. Now he has to adjust to that marriage and life. It’s not just his wife and community, but the outside threats to learn.
Dau undergoes a trauma and ends up having to go back to his family and the past horrors there. Liobahn will not let him face it alone, but it is a grave challenge. It was not a good place for Dau when he was young and it has not really improved. Dau manages to grow a lot personally, learning much more compassion and a different kind of control. Liobahn also adapts to working hard and being unobtrusive.
Music did not play as large a role. There were more politics, and class distinctions. By the end, everyone is headed home. The strange Crow creatures are still an issue in both worlds and that seems to be the next mystery. I hope for a better start to the final book with the world and characters well in mind. I’m intrigued to know more about the Crow folk and the relationships of our three. I still hope we may get a scene with Grim & Blackthorn. I’m so glad to be back in this world.
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