Thursday, January 27, 2011

Warrior - Zoe Archer

This is a review that is a long time coming. It's so long coming that I'm almost embarrassed to post it especially because sometime at the end of the summer I got a copy of this book in the mail, no note, no return address, so someone was expecting me to do a review.

Warrior is equal parts alternative history, paranormal romance, and adventure story. I enjoyed that it avoided many of the genre cliches. The time period is pseudo-Victorian, but most of the novel is set in Mongolia. That was a big pluse for me because I've wanted to see Mongolia ever since I heard one of my college professors talk about spending time there in a Yurt, (and not just because of the wonderful Mongolian dinosaur fossil sites). I also liked that both the hero and heroine aren't straight out of central casting. For one thing the hero, Capt. Gabriel Huntley, isn't a brooding dark alpha male. (I'm so sick of dark brooding alpha types) Gabriel isn't a pushover. Big, blond, and slightly battered by life. He's a veteran soldier, late of the Thirty-third regiment foot, who has resigned from the army and is heading home for a well deserved retirement when is stumbles into a mystery that will transform his life. He's one of those people who is competent at whatever he turn his hand to, and a natural leader, but he's not someone who seeks out positions of authority or uses his ability to dominate those around him.

Thalia Burgess knows she's not a typical Victorian lady, she has been raised in the wilds of Mongolia by her scholar father, and is more used to wearing a del and riding across the steppes than wearing a corset and serving tea. She has also trained as a Blade of the Rose a warrior sworn to protect Sources, objects that are repositories of magical power.

Thalia and Gabriel are thrown together in a quest to find a protect a powerful Mongolian source, and keep it from falling into the hands of a group of evil English magicians bent on world domination. The quest goes as these things do, with ups and downs, challenges met, and lost. Archer does a nice job of working Mongolian geography and customs in to the story, while at the same time developing Thalia and Gabriel's growing relationship.

These two are meant for each other and make a good team, but the only flaws I see in the book are with their relationship. Everyone, from the magical Source, to the slightly too helpful Mongolian bandits, seem to be conspiring to put these two together in sexual, or at least sensual, situations and when that happens Thalia becomes just a little too out of character naive. There is also one more magic enhances too perfect to be real sex scene for my taste. These scenes don't really fit with the texture and flavor of the rest of the book in my opinion. They don't ruin the book, but it don't add to it either.

Despite that one flaw I enjoyed the book and look froward to finding time to read the rest of the series.

I'd like to play forward the kindness of whoever sent me the book and send my copy one to someone else to enjoy. I'll send my copy to the first person to comment on this review with their contact info.

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