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Paranormal Fantasy Review The Staff and The Blade by Elizabeth Hunter

The Staff and The Blade by Elizabeth Hunter (Irin Chronicles #4)

Ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Warriors. Lovers. Enemies. Legends.

Their union became pivotal in Irin history, but to understand Damien and Sari's ending, you must go back to their beginning. Four hundred years ago, a young singer and a hardened warrior met and loved each other, but their life was torn apart by violence.

Love. Desire. Grief. Betrayal.

No matter how much pain and anger stain their lives, bonds in the Irin race cannot be abandoned. Damien and Sari will never truly leave each other, because those who are destined cannot be ignored.

The Staff and the Blade is a four part stand-alone book of approximately 480 pages. It is the fourth book in the Irin Chronicles.

DREAMS: Damien of Bohemia was a legend content to live in obscurity. Weary from a century of human and Irin bloodshed, he took shelter among those who would not question his silence or the martial spells he wore over his body. Until an earth singer of raw power and no delicacy came to the village where he hid. Sari of Vestfold wasn't intrigued by the mysterious warrior or his moody silences. And she wasn't interested in listening for the whisper of his soul. Even when those whispers promised a connection that could tie them for eternity.

GHOSTS: A new posting in Paris during Napoleon’s reign leads Sari and Damien back to familiar faces and the Council politics Damien has tried so hard to avoid. But the Irin world has changed in the two hundred years since their mating. The singers have become more isolated. The scribes are more martial. And the Grigori flood growing cities and lay in wait. When Sari’s sister envisions the future, she sees emptiness, chaos, and a darkness that threatens to overtake their world.

MEMORIES: Hidden from Irin society, the Irina have learned to take their revenge on the Grigori. They answer to no one. They ask for no mercy. And forgiveness? That’s the last thing on anyone’s mind. Two hundred years after the Rending, Damien and Sari are thrown together to face a new threat, a girl who might be key to the healing of the Irin race. If they can survive the anger and grief that has separated them for two hundred years.

VISIONS: The Irin and Irina are together again. Society is being rebuilt. But what do you do when the foundation of your world has crumbled? Where do you go when all the boundaries have been redrawn? For Damien and Sari, charting a new path into the future means confronting the demons of the past. They’ve forgiven each other, but can they forgive themselves?

 Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK


* * *
 "Someday you will love a man, and the fire of it will be a violent, dangerous thing."
If memory serves me well, this is a forth book by Elizabeth Hunter I've rated so high, and it was exquisite, one of her finest.

Damien and Sari's story takes place over hundreds of years, so this book is rightfully split into four parts.
DREAMS describes young Sari meeting and falling for Damien, it's romantic and lighthearted, sweet and lovely. GHOSTS strains the depth of their feelings for each other and it's heartbreaking because it happens amidst The Rendering - famous Grigori attack which almost wiped Irina out from the face of the earth. MEMORIES follows the events of the second book in the series and finally, VISIONS happens two years after the battle in Vienna.

Each part is powerful in its own right, but GHOSTS is truly gutting. Elizabeth described events leading to The Rendering, the arrogance of scribes including Damien himself, the slow withdrawal of the singers from the human society, Grigori biding their time in a gripping atmosphere of foreboding. Of course, this part was essential to understand Sari's consequent separation from her mate. To be with him was too painful and she would have been smothered by his care while her rage and grief demanded vengeance.

Sari is the heroine of this book, she is the sun Damien orbits. Larger than life and full of emotions, driven and a talented warrior, she is a mesmerizing figure. At the same time she wasn't born special. All that she has is due to her iron will and centuries of hard graft. When she reunites with Damien it's heart-wrenching and romantic, but at the same time their healing is a very slow process and the couple goes through a lot of hurdles along the way.

VISIONS is the most exciting part of the book and it's rife with possibilities for the new future. In a way it reminded me of Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches. It had that same feel about it. Old clashing with new, modernization catching up to old and venerable warrior skills, a new look on a very old enemy... It's such a great direction for the whole series to take, there are beginnings of new couples and new plot twists scattered everywhere like Easter eggs. It's like you are turning around the corner and there is a whole new vista opening up. 

So, here we are. With a formidable couple, rich history and an exciting future. Nowhere else I'd rather be. Read it, it was near perfect.

* * *
Если мне не изменяет память, то это четвёртая книга Элизабет Хантер, которую я оцениваю так высоко. И не зря, ведь она - одна из лучших, тончайших работ автора.

История Дамьена и Сари охватывает 4 века, так что логически книга разделена на четыре части. МЕЧТЫ рассказывает о том, как Дамьен и Сари встретились и влюбились друг в друга, эта часть романтична, мила и душевна. ПРИЗРАКИ повествует о событиях предшествующих и во время Разрыва, который послужил поводом расставания пары. ВОСПОМИНАНИЯ рассказывает о событиях после первой книги серии и воссоединении любовников, и наконец, ВИДЕНИЯ повествует о происходящем два года спустя битвы в Вене.

Каждая часть сильна в своём праве, но ПРИЗРАКИ самая болезненная и трагичная часть книги. Элизабет ярко описала события, предшествующие Разрыву и уничтожению практически всех Ирина и их детей со стороны Григори; гордыню и самоуверенность Писцов, включая Дамьена; предвиденное Талой, медленный уход Певиц Ирина из человеческого общества; ярость и бессилие Сари что-то изменить... Под конец этой части читатель понимает, что Сари никак не могла остаться с Дамьеном, иначе она бы не смогла выжить после травмы и своих потерь.

Сари - героиня этой книги, солнце вокруг которого вращается по орбите Дамьен. Она не рождена с какими-то уникальными способностями. Всё, чего она достигла, случилось из-за её упорства и тяжёлой работы. Сари больше чем жизнь, наполненная эмоциями, целеустремлённая и талантливый воин. Её воссоединение с Дамьеном пронзительно романтично и от него щемит сердце, и в то же время читателю ясно, что им ещё долго придётся работать над шероховатостями в отношениях и старыми ранами.

ВИДЕНИЯ оказывается самой интригующей частью книги, наполненной новыми поворотами сюжета и огромным потенциалом для продолжения серии. Модернизация требует изменения вековых традиций Ирин, статус Григори изменяется из-за находки карешт. Само мировоззрение Ирин вынуждено наконец-то адаптироваться к новому времени.

В общем, сильная пара, богатая история, очень интересное будущее. Скучать не придётся, читать необходимо!
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