Star of the Morning
by Lynn Kurland
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Ages: 12 and up
Book One in the Nine Kingdoms Series.
The king of Neroche has lost his magic, and doesn't know where to find it. His youngest brother, Mochriadhemiach, Archmage of the realm, tells him that he needs to find a wielder for the legendary Sword of Angesand in the hope that this person might be able to protect the kingdom from the villainous Lothar of Wychweald. And so Adhemar, the king, sets off on a quest for a swordsman of unparalleled skill and magical power.
Morgan of Melksham is on her own reluctant quest. Nicholas of Lismor, the only man she cannot refuse, has asked her to bear a knife to the king of Neroche. A knife that is disturbingly magical. Not that Morgan knows anything about magic. Not that Morgan wants to know anything about magic. All she wants is a sword in her hand and an opponent to fight. Well, smash, actually.
Morgan's first encounter with Adhemar was not the best. In fact, she knocks him out and steals his socks. Because he is so annoyed with her, he decides to travel along with her and her mercenary companions, incognito. The real trouble begins when his handsome, clever brother Miach shows up. Yes, the extremely magical Miach, short for Mochriadhemiach. He soon begins to suspect that there is more to Morgan than there seems to be, and she may have far more power than she wants. Miach realizes that she could be the wielder, but he finds himself reluctant to put her in more danger. He knows that she will hate him when she learns the truth.
When I first borrowed this book from the library, I figured it would be a silly, cheesy, overly romantic fantasy novel that might be fun. After reading it, I had much the same idea, with some slight adjustments. Kind of silly, a little cheesy, perfectly romantic and a lot of fun. In short, I loved this book.
For just a little bit at the beginning, I was worried that Adhemar might be the main love-interest, and that would have been awful. Adhemar is a fun character in his own idiotic, ridiculous way, but I would not want him as the main guy. Therefore, when Miach arrived on the scene, I was instantly reassured that all would be well. Miach is a wonderful source of romance. He is doomed from his first glimpse of Morgan, and it doesn't take him long to realize it. He is also devious, extremely good-looking, and very, very powerful with a great sense of humor and irony.
Morgan is brilliant. She hates travel, romance, and, above all, magic. She is so strong and well able to take care of herself, as well as everyone around her, but she is also so vulnerable. She can defeat any physical threat with her sword, but the enemy is not always one she can fight with a blade, and that terrifies her. Fortunately for her, that is where Miach comes in. He keeps her sane (barely at times) and is always there to run or fight with her and catch her when she falls.
I really liked how clean the romance was in this book. There was always such a fun and sweet relationship between Morgan and Miach. (When Morgan wasn't threatening or actively trying to kill him, that is.)
The language in his book makes me smile. The frequent use of the word "wench" is so much fun! (Wench is a sadly neglected word in modern literature.) Most of the main characters were extraordinary powerful or talented in some way or another, which might bother some people, but I thought it was fun. I would recommend this book to lovers of light-hearted fantasy and romance.
Be warned, you should have the second book, The Mage's Daughter, on hand to read immediately. Star of the Morning has an annoying cliffhanger ending. Actually, you should have the whole series on hand to read them all one after another.
I give this a 2.10 in profanity for some mild swearing.
This book gets a 1.10 in sexuality for some mild hints and innuendos.
There are several battles and sword-fights in this book as well as attempted murder, so I rate it a 6.10.