CROWN OF VENGEANCE
Set in the same lands as the authors’ previous collaborations (the Obsidian and Enduring Flame trilogies), this series starter begins millennia before by following the full life of a future legend. The book strikes the right balance between the struggles of a young girl thought to be the “Child of the Prophecy” and the epic mythology that leads her to embrace a queen’s destiny with Joan-of-Arc fervor, though the middle chapters sag a bit with the litany of lands and houses she must conquer. Still, strong writing and the sympathetic lead keep the pages moving.
Upon learning that she is the last survivor of her once-proud house, Vielissiar Faricarnon dreams of vengeance. Promised to the Sanctuary, center of magic and learning, she must abandon her dream of becoming a War Prince to live out her days as a servant. But she soon reveals a natural gift of magic and quickly becomes powerful enough to gain enemies within. With nowhere else to turn, she embraces her house and her destiny, using a mix of swordcraft and magery to conquer all lands in hopes of building a defense against an even greater evil. (TOR, Nov., 608 pp., $27.99)