River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland

911vE7XgvtL._SL1500_Title:  River of Dreams

Series:  A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms Book #8

Author:  Lynn Kurland

Genre:  Fantasy/Romance, Sci-Fi

BlurbAisling of Bruadair is frantic to find both the truth about her future and a mercenary to save her country. When an offer of aid comes from an unexpected direction, she is relieved her quest is almost complete. But she soon realizes her task is far from over . . . and will include perils she never dreamed she would ever face.
Rùnach of Ceangail has offered to help Aisling with her quest, then he fully intends to take up his life as a simple swordsman far from magic and evil mages. Unfortunately, a chance finding of a book of indecipherable spells tells him that an ordinary life is never going to be his–especially when he realizes that the book he has in his hands belongs to a black mage who will stop at nothing to have it back.
With time running out, Rùnach and Aisling must solve what seem to be unrelated mysteries before others find those answers first and plunge the Nine Kingdoms into a darkness it will never recover from . . .

Thoughts:  To be honest, when I was given this book to read in exchange for an honest review I was a bit leery.  I had never read anything by the author before, never heard of the series, and when I read the blurb my first thought was, “This is not really what I usually read”.  While I like fantasy and sci-fi, I usually prefer a lot more romance in it than in this book.  I reminded myself of the old adage about not judging a book by its cover – and finally forced myself to read it!

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised!  The book deserved an ‘A’  just on the creativity and descriptions of the world alone.  Kurland manages to deliver a novel – a series, really – that rivals that of The Lord Of The Rings.  Between the Kingdoms and their kings, the quests and amazingly detailed journeys, the elves and other magical beings -this book is an amazing delve into the fantasy genre.

I was surprised by how well the book stood by itself outside of  the series.  I had no trouble keeping up with the story and I didn’t feel any nagging issues about having missed out on the previous titles.  The world drew me in right away, and both Runach and Aisling were captivating characters.  I couldn’t wait to see how their journey – and their romance – would play out.  With  Runach, an elfin prince who has lost his magic willing to take up his sword for the ethereal Aisling – who is more a mystery than anything else, able to ‘spin’ the very elements from the world around them, you can’t help but get caught up on their quest to save her country.  It is nothing short of enchanting – from beginning to end.  Followers of Kurland’s will be pleased to read more about the this fascinating world of the Nine Kingdoms and the development of the relationship between Runach and Aisling – and new reader’s might be pleasantly surprised  by how much they enjoy this fascinating adventure.  A must read for avid fantasy readers – or anyone looking to broaden the scope of their reading and might be up for something a little different!

Rate:  A


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