Telyn Gwndal has always been an outcast.
The illegitimate child of a forbidden union that crossed the lines of feud, she bears the scorn of both of her parents' houses. Telyn views her birth at the Fire Mountain, Raiador as a curse. She would gladly forsake the strange bond she holds with her birthplace for the respectable life of a warrior.
But when a traitor brings her face-to-face with her destiny, deep within Raiador's core, her closest ally is a man with secrets capable of shattering her carefully constructed life.
Outside the Camp House, Telyn wished she hadn’t been so hasty to leave. Against her will, her gaze was drawn to the mountain, and her insides twisted in a mixture of pain and longing.
"Quite a sight, isn't it?"
Her attention whipped to her left at that query, to find a man standing beside her. He had the long, plaited hair of a Borderlander, and his tarnished armor screamed mercenary loud enough the dead could have heard it. And yet, something told her he was neither.
He nodded toward Raiador. "The mountain. Never seen anything quite like it."
She peered closer in the diming light, trying to discover what it was about him that convinced her he wasn't exactly what his appearance claimed. He was tall, even to her with her Bathron blood. That could be a Borderlander trait -- the few she met were easily as tall as she was. His mud-brown hair hung midway down his back, woven into the traditional Borderlander plaits. But there were secrets in his smoky-green gaze that told her he wasn't who he appeared. A sense of kinship to this man blanketed her -- she was more than she appeared, as well, even if she wasn't sure what that was, yet. This man's charisma told her he was far from the mercenary his garb declared him to be.
A well-worn scabbard hung from an equally abused leather belt, but his sword hilt had the gleam of care, and the glint of metal at the top of his scuffed black boots hinted that he was well armed. He wasn't a man to take lightly, and she had to wonder if he was friend, or foe.
"And you are?" She frowned up at him, daring him to meet her gaze.
He did, but those eyes remained shuttered, not allowing her access to his thoughts. "No one of consequence, Sera."
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Posted by Sally Pink Reviews on 23rd Feb 2013
"Daughter of Ashes" is a fantastic start to Mitchell's fantasy series, Legends of Tirum. Telyn Gwndal is a member of the Gildgard, bonded to an anaqueri, a living sword. She's given a mission to go investigate the fire mountain, Raiador, but what she leans there will set her on a quest to find her destiny.
The novel opens with Telyn accepting her mission from Mistress Lanoki. She is to go to Raiador and help Master Brun-gild stop the Bathron raiding. Telyn abhors the thought, having been in service to Raiador's mines and Brun-gild before. Still, she goes, following her orders like a dutiful soldier.
At Raiador, Telyn meets a mercenary, Nacaris, who has been hired by the Gild to find out what Brun-gild is up to.
Brun-gild is magical. After snooping around with some help from Lysha and the mountain miners, Telyn learns she is the Daughter of Ashes and the only one who can weld the magical power of the Phoenix book – a book that Brun-gild desires to know the secrets of. Telyn and Nacaris both confront Brun-gild who then flees.
Telyn is befriended by Sala, a fire elemental whose people live in the mountain. She tells Telyn she is the true heir to the Phoenix book and Telyn must set off on a quest to obtain the book.
Telyn sets out with Nacaris to find Brun-gild. The couple's overpowering attraction leads to a consummation of their feelings. Telyn doesn't realize that Nacaris is an old friend from the time she spent as a young girl in the mines, and Nacaris is reluctant to tell her for fear she'll spurn him a second time.
Can Telyn find the Phoenix book before Brun-gild discovers how to harness it's powers? Will Telyn's quest drive a wedge between her and Nacaris? Only the legends will reveal the answers.
Mitchell's creativity shines in this action packed romantic adventure. Her world is real, yet full of fantasy, magic, and living swords which are grounded by Telyn's all too human emotions.
The story flows well and the plot is tight. The writing is sharp. Mitchell uses a good economy of words to explain Telyn's world without lingering.
Telyn and Nacaris are wonderfully complex and are supported by a strong secondary cast of characters. Mitchell does a wonderful job making each character unique and giving them their own distinct voices.
Nacaris is crafty, full of strong, silent support for Telyn. His only flaw is his fear of the truth when it comes to Telyn, yet who can fault him? Haven't we, at times, held something back form the one we love?
Telyn is brave, bold, and not afraid to confront the danger the quest for the Phoenix book presents. Her feelings for Nacaris confuse her though.
Mitchell's love scenes are drive by raw passion, yet tasteful. "Daughter of Ashes" will have the reader cheering for Telyn through the fires of Raiador to the rocks of Majin Lache