Bones of the Fair

Bones of the Fair
Andrea Höst, 2013

Premise: Sequel to Champion of the Rose, but you don't need to read that one first. Gentian has been 14 long years away from her home in Darest. She returns for an irresistible job and the possibility that the miraculous return of the ruling family will have repercussions for her particular problem. She will stay to investigate a mystery that impinges on the future of her home, and its complicated relationship with the ones who lived there before humans...

Don't expect a direct continuation of the story of Champion of the Rose. While several characters are in both, and this is the continuation of the larger story, Soren - the heroine of CotR - only appears briefly.

Instead, this is Gentian's story, and she is marvelous. Quiet and self-possessed, she is heir to a line of master mages but she specializes is the relatively unflashy business of garden design, informed by her sensitivity to places. Her opposite is the other viewpoint character, Aspen. Aspen is well-meaning and good-hearted, but spends most of the book attempting to sleep with one character or another. Or one character and another.

This might be a good time to mention, if you haven't been to Darest yet, that it is in a fantasy world in which bisexuality is the norm. Just so you know.

We see a lot more of the world beyond the borders of Darest in this volume,and all the countries and cultures are intriguing.

I don't want to say too much more, because the gradual character and plot reveals are so much of the pleasure of this read. As usual, Andrea Höst does a splendid job balancing action, intrigue and romance. Although much of this story was relatively quiet, it is a deep quiet full of plans and emotion, much like the central character. If I have a criticism, it is that there is a large cast of characters introduced quite quickly,and I never felt I had the more minor characters separated in my mind.

I was certainly happy to visit Darest once more, and I hope there is more to tell about the country caught between its fae past and its human future.

4 Star - A Very Good Book


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