Monday, April 1, 2013

Review - Araneae Nation - 5 Star PNR/Fantasy Mix


Title: Araneae Nation Series
Author: Hailey Edwards
Source: Author Furnished
Genre: PNR/Fantasy mix
Length: 2 Novels/1 Novella/1 To Be Released - approx 700-900 pgs
Reviewed by Douglas C. Meeks




Summary:


Araneae Nation, Book 1
When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.

The only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but they are unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.

Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north.

Araneae Nation, Book 2
Born with the ability to communicate with the dead, few things take Mana by surprise, but when an animal announces himself as Vaughn’s long-dead father, she’s shocked. To make matters worse, he has a dire warning.

Now Mana must face Vaughn, the male who inspired one too many girlish fantasies, and impart a spirit’s message—without acknowledging her source—so the soul can be laid to rest.

The last thing Vaughn needs is for an innocent to get caught in the crosshairs of combat, but the woman he remembers as an awkward girl refuses to leave his side until he’s heard her out. That’s not the only change in her that calls to him. Her kindness soothes his battle-scarred soul—and he craves her in ways a warrior shouldn’t.

When they are both captured, they learn of an even greater threat. The plague devastating the southlands has come to his clan home. And his best—and only—chance to keep his people alive is the female who walks among the dead.

An Araneae Nation Novella
Daraja has grown up watching her brothers journey down the river on their rite of passage. Each returned with riches from their travels, and lovers with whom to share their lives.

She is expected to sit patiently, weave her nets and wait for the river to bring a husband to her.
Patience, however, has never been her strong suit.

Brynmor haunts the forest surrounding the city of Cathis roaming his lands. Until the day he stumbles across a brazen trespasser in his woods.

Brynmor fears he has lost a piece of his ragged soul to the feisty, adventure-seeking female. At some point, he is forced to choose which life to sacrifice. Hers…or his own.


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Review:


When this series opens you are already in the middle of a life and death situation, a continuing theme as this series moves forward.

Each book has a new couple which adds to the enjoyment while the setting and the readers familiarity with the couples goes from people you feel like you know in Hint of Frost and Feast of Souls to a heroine that is brand new and a hero that is barely known to us in Cast of Shadows and the upcoming A Time of Dying (July 2013 release date).

The background story that threads through the romances that occur in each book is that of a strange plague that has been spreading over the Araneae nations and the reasons behind it that become more clear slowly in each novel (except the novella which is more romance and character driven).

The series starts in Hint of Frost with the romance of Rhys and Lourdes which is brought about by the need for Lourdes to save her clan which has been betrayed and her only salvation is Isolde, leader of a rival clan known for its fierce warriors and barbaric customs who demands that Lourdes wed her son Rhys as the price for her protection of Lourdes clan …. A price she will gladly pay for the survival of her clan.

There are unexpected benefits to being linked to Rhys that she discovers along the way to rescuing her sister who was kidnapped at the time of the betrayal of her clan.

When the story picks up in Feast of Souls we have a new couple of star crossed lovers Mana and Vaughn (another of Isolde’s sons) to enjoy while the mystery of the plague looks less and less natural but some bodies come up missing in most locations. This book had the best ending IMHO but overall I still liked the first book a small bit more but next is the novella.

Cast of Shadows is basically a story that ties up some threads that were left over from Feast of Souls that almost every reader I have talked to are not only glad she wrote this but would really like to revisit these characters again before the series ends, who knows but the story of Daraja and Brynmor gives new meaning to the term undying love. I won’t go into this story much because it would require me to be a bit more revealing with some facts from other books than I like to be. Let me say I enjoyed it but still want more of this story because it is so enthralling.

Since I will be writing a separate review for the new book to be released in July 2013 I won’t say too much about that one other than the reasons and source for the plague become MUCH clearer and looks to be setting up an epic battle in some future book. The best thing about A Time of Dying was that we get to see Isolde at her best, mean, conniving, and totally dedicated to protecting those she loves and her clan. She is one of those people my mentor used to describe as “the only tool in her toolkit is a hammer”.

This is an amazing series with romance, mystery, heroic alpha male characters and strong heroines. The overarching story is strong and moves along at a credible pace and kept my interest through all books. At this point all I can say is “when can I have the next one!” which is greedy since I already read a book that is almost 4 months from release, trust me readers when I say this is 5 Star reading enjoyment.

My only regret is that I had to be badgered into reading it by people I already knew shared my tastes in reading. Don't make my mistake, get these books today and enjoy them and be ready for the release of A Time of Dying in July 2013.



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