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Sometimes when reading fantasy fiction, the reader makes false assumptions about certain stock-type figures being good and others evil. The opening story of Twice Upon An Eventide, "A Varlet's Bond," a tale told by a traveling storyteller, depicts such a tale where a frustrated wizard attempts to ensnare the sons of a King wanting to retire and allow his eldest son to take the throne. King Caradoc has called his eldest son, Zavend, away from his passionate archeological search to come to the throne and take a wife from the thousands who yearn to be the exalted, chosen one. Vitus, a tavern owner on the borders of Glacia and Zavend's brother, is also invited to witness the coronation and future betrothal of Zavend. He's not quite interested in all this, is more comfortable with rakish-type characters such as himself and so he invites Captain Praxis, a Dredonian female who would be viewed as a freed slave by the Glacian people, to accompany him to the capital.
The seemingly straight plot spins totally out of control and predictability at this point. Wizards and council mages are plotting against each other, all in an effort to maintain their powerful hold on the kingdom of Glacia and eventually perhaps even take over from the ruling family. They're unable to prevent the reunion of Zavend and Praxis, who slowly realize they want only each other. Zavend couldn't care less if he never becomes a king; and Praxis is only at peace when with Zavend, although she realizes she must leave him alone so he may fulfill his destiny. What follows will both shock and thrill the reader as the most unexpected events yield a most different scenario that will change the lives of every character and thus the Glacian kingdom as well!
This first story is finely plotted and a must read for every true fantasy fiction fan! Very, very nicely done, Ms. Biondine!!!
"Summersong," the second tale in this novel, is penned by Sheri L. McGathy and focuses on the endearing romance between Connair and Myree in the world of Summersong, which is a realm between the worlds of humanity and fairy land. The kingdom is hard-pressed at the moment, however, as forces are vying to destroy both fairies under the Queen Roshawna just as it seems they have accomplished by the disappearance of the Farmura. In the midst of their passionate promises to each other, Myree is kidnapped and imprisoned in a place bound by an evil spell. Connair vows to find her but when he does, Myree is obviously only physically there! The tale moves on to Connair's relentless quest to break the evil bonds holding Myree and thereby freeing the land of Summersong from a devastatingly destructive future!
"Summer Song" is an equally fascinating story that is typically plotted but includes magical elements that are sure to fascinate every reader. Absolutely delightful and thrilling read, Ms. McGathy!!!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on August 10, 2008