TBR Review: Bones of the Fair by Andrea K. Host

bones-of-the-fairBones of the Fair

by Andrea K. Höst
Series: Darest, Book 2
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Andrea K. Höst, 2013
E-book, Purchased
324 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Darest stands on the verge of a Golden Age. The revival of the Rathen line and a blood price won from the Fair has drawn a flood of visitors eager to snatch their share of changing fortune – or at least one of the fabulous prizes offered at the Spring Festival.

Among those coaxed back to the once-failing kingdom is Gentian Calder, daughter of Shapers. Before she can decide whether to risk her life by staying, news arrives to put all other considerations aside. The Atlaran Ambassador and half the heirs of the western kingdoms have disappeared on Darest’s border.

Gentian agrees to join the Diamond Coeurveur and his apprentice in a rush to join the search. Will they find the missing? A plot against Darest? Or uncover older secrets, buried deep?

“Bones of the Fair” is set in the same world as “Champion of the Rose”. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but it’s recommended that you start with “Champion”.

It occurred to Gentian that some of the people here would have been sent in hopes of making sure they didn’t some back.

and

…it was all too much for Gentian, who choked into laughter.

“How very pragmatic you are, Lord Magister,” she managed. “You almost reconcile me to being trapped in Darest.” She paused, finding an unexpected core of truth in the words, and spoke unwarily when she added: “I didn’t think anyone could do that.”

Cheers

Map of Darest (link goes to Ms. Höst's blog)
Map of Darest (link goes to Ms. Höst’s blog)
  • I like this world. The world building is interesting and I hope there will be more books written in this series. Ms. Höst only scratches the surface of the stories which could be written.
  • This could be read as a stand alone as it states above, but you will have more understanding of the book if you read the first book–Champion of the Rose.
  • Told from two points of view–Aspen and Gentian.
  • Aspen and the Diamond Coeurveur are two characters from the first book who are main characters in this book.
  • Aspen plays the fool in both books. One who wants to live life to the fullest and get the most pleasure from life. He doesn’t take it seriously and hides behind that facade. He’s a hard character for me to like or respect during much of the book.
  • The sexuality in the book (mostly discovered through Aspen–his thoughts, words and actions–is interesting. There aren’t many taboos. I like that it isn’t the major focus of the book. It’s just the way this world is and doesn’t require much in the way of comment.
  • Most people overlook Gentian since she’s small, quiet and a “gardener,” but she’s also stubborn, refuses to give up and powerful in an unusual way. She also comes from a famous and quietly important family.
  • Many of the royals in this book are appropriately arrogant.
  • The Fair (Fae) don’t have much interest in humans. We find out a little more about them in this book.

Jeers

  • I had trouble keeping all the characters straight. So many princes and princesses!
  • I get to know Aspen better in this book, but the Diamond Coeurveur remains a mystery.

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  Ms. Höst’s always seems to write the kind of book I love to read. She really hits the mark with me–even this book which isn’t my favorite of her books.
  • The September challenge was to read a book recommended by someone else. This book wasn’t specifically recommended, but Li @ Me and My Books recommended Andrea K. Höst so I’m saying this book is part of that recommendation!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • Bones of the Fair is my TBR review for the month of August hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The review for this challenge posts on the third Wednesday each month.
  • Also qualifies as a TBR Pile Reading Challenge book.

Review: Champion of the Rose by Andrea K. Host

champion-of-the-roseChampion of the Rose
by Andrea K. Höst
Series: Darest, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Andrea K. Höst, 2010
E-book, Purchased
306 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Soren Armitage is an anachronism. Proclaimed Rathen Champion by the Rathen Rose, intended to support the rule of a Rathen King or Queen.

But there are no Rathens.

Resigned to symbolising only Darest’s faded glories, Soren is not prepared for the sudden appearance of a Rathen. Now she must find and support the heir despite the machinations of the kingdom’s regent, sylvan curses, and the strange behaviour of once-dormant protective enchantments. While the odds seem stacked against her, Soren is determined to do her best to live up to the name of Rathen Champion. But what is she to do when it seems that there is something very wrong with her Rathen? Can she trust the person she is meant to protect?

One thing to decide she had to live up to the title of Champion, to argue for the right to risk herself. Quite another matter to actually play hero.

What worked for me:

  • The world building and premise of the book are unique for me.
  • The book is told from Soren’s point of view which made the other characters more mysterious. I like that in this book. In some books that’s a detriment, but it works in this book.
  • I didn’t understand everything right away. It gradually unfolded. I like it when an author tells things gradually and I begin to understand.
  • Soren doesn’t mind being a nonentity and ignored in the beginning of the book. When she has to be more–an actual Champion to the King–that’s when she doesn’t feel capable.
  • The Rathen Rose is an interesting concept along with it’s entaglement with the Champion and Rathen King or Queen.
  • Lots of interesting characters–Strake, Aspen, Jansette, the Regent, Aristide, Halcean–all interesting people and part of the politics of court. I like the political intrigue which is so much of this story.
  • Soren isn’t always right about what she thinks of some of the characters. We find out more about several characters as she does.
  • I like the romance Ms. Höst puts in her stories. It’s just right for a fantasy so the focus of the book doesn’t become the romance.
  • Sexual situations do occur in the story and some people might have problems with them. I feel Ms.Höst deals with these situations in a realistic way for this story.

 What didn’t work:

  • Everything worked!

My thoughts:

Once again Ms. Höst creates a fantasy I loved reading. Each of the three series I’ve read by her are quite different. I like that. I have many authors and books I enjoy, but sometimes the books by certain authors are quite predictable. Sometimes I don’t mind that, but it’s also refreshing to find an author who manages to write a more unique plot in each of her stories…a story that keeps me guessing. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Darest series–Bones of the Fair–was published at the end of November 2013. 🙂

Do you read Andrea K. Höst’s books? What ones are your favorites? If you have read any books by her and you enjoy fantasy she is a good author to read!