Warlord / Elizabeth Vaughan. 2007

When I read the first book in this trilogy 2 years ago (Warprize) I remember being struck by two things in particular. The first one was how well Ms. Vaughan had built a new world that was both familiar and alien at the same time. The second thing was how well it worked to have this story told in the first person. As a reader, I like head hopping; I want to know what's going on in the minds of various characters. But here it really works to have one, and only one POV. For me anyway, what made this work was learning about Keir and the people of the plains at the same time Lara did; it was if we were on a voyage of discovery together. It even worked when I re-read Warprize just before Warsworn was released.

I've read a few other reviews of Warlord over the last couple of weeks. Lots of reviewers commented on the fact that Keir and Lara are separated for a good bit of the book. Well, yes, that's true, but I think it's mitigated by the fact that Keir is never far from Lara's thoughts. And when they have a brief, but intense reunion in the middle of their separation, it's pretty obvious that their feelings for one another are just as strong as ever. For a romance novel, it fits the bill. Since this series is as much about Lara's world as it is about Lara & Keir, it's not your stereotypical romance. So much the better. It's great to see them make adjustments to one another and watch their relationship grow. We don't always get much of that in more typical romances which seem to focus on conflict or misunderstandings.

Flat out, Beth Vaughan can write. Her prose is smooth; if there were any holes in her plotting I sure didn't see them. Her characters remained true to form, not just within each book, but across the trilogy. That has to be hard to do, unless one is careful while one writes. Beth paid a visit to Squawkradio last week and it was interesting to read her comments as she told us a little about how she writes. It sounds as if she hadn't originally planned on more entries in this series, but she has some ideas if she gets a contract. Here's hoping! And frankly, I'll be buying anything she writes; she's just that good at it.

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