What a yummy, yummy fantasy romance! I really enjoyed it! Enough so that I recommended it to a friend who enjoys romances in a fantasy setting. Fantasy as in magic and spells and creatures and gods. If you're looking for someone to stand alongside Anne Bishop in your fantasy romance bookcase, Grace Draven will fit the bill.
In Master of Crows we meet Martise (an AWFUL name that bugged me through the whole book I must admit) of Asher, the slave, or bondwoman if you prefer, of the Bishop of the magical Conclave. He is taking her to spy on the renegade Silhara of Neith, The Master of Crows. He has requested an apprentice from The Conclave who knows ancient languages and luckily, Martise is such a person. So, in order to gain her freedom, she agrees to spy for The Conclave. But... she falls in love and thereby hangs the tale.
The first thing I liked about this book was the fact that Martise was a full grown woman, no wet behind the ears NA heroine here, thank God. She's also not a shrinking virgin. It felt to me that she had more than one or two encounters with men in her past, but only one deep relationship that managed to break her heart. She's no beauty by any means, but she does have one of the sexiest voices imaginable. That works for me just fine. :) She's a simple woman, really, and I grew to like her a lot.
Silhara is an arrogant SOB from the get go, but I think he's entitled to a lot of his arrogance. And he's gorgeous, at least in my mind. Hawklike features, tall, lean, muscles where men should have muscles, and the most beautiful head of long inky hair that is TO DIE FOR. *g* He's real purty! I really enjoyed how he just really wanted to be an orange farmer despite the massive magic power that he possesses. I think I fell for him along with Martise. *LOL*
I guess one could say that Martise and Silhara's love story is predictable, but it's the interaction between the two that makes it stand out. Clever dialogue. I love clever dialogue and clever characters. And characters that aren't afraid to laugh at themselves and these two - as well as the wonderful Gurn, friend and servant - are not afraid to do just that. I liked watching Martise and Silhara fall in love while trying to find a way to concur the Big Baddy. It took it's time happening and that was fine with me - I found the slow build up to the explosive first sex scene to be actually very sexy. And the sexytimes themselves... oooh boy! *fanning* They weren't numerous, but damn they were good.
And you know what? The story, with a few lovely twists and turns, wraps up in this one volume! Yes, there is a novella that follows this novel, but I think it's like an extra added adventure.
So, to whoever recced me this book, Bree from Kit Rocha maybe? Or maybe it was from the Twitter convo she inspired about romantic fantasies? Good call!!