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Shiovra has been named High Priestess of the village Tara, but she quickly finds herself hunted by the Milidh, a clan born of war and vengeance. With the safety of Tara at stake, it is decided that she is to seek aid from her betrothed, one she considers the enemy.

At her side is Odhrán, a Milidh warrior sworn to protect her and determined to gain her trust. But their journey is fraught with peril and Shiovra learns that darkness lurks in the hearts of her own kin.

Steeped in ancient Irish myth, this tale is spun of love, war, and DEFIANCE.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

4 out of 5 stars

How can you look at that cover and not want this book? (Yes, I succumb to cover lust, don’t judge me.) Reading this was an exciting, fresh take on Celtic mythology and little geeky me was psyched every time I recognized a name or a reference, but I still mean to brush up on my Irish lore.

The plot:

I downloaded this when it was listed free for a month awhile back and there is a note in the back saying it is being reedited. For the most part, I think that there were a lot of places where transitions or sequences could have been handled more gracefully, but over all I enjoyed it. I finished this in a fairly short time and got my emotions tangled up over how it would end, so it must be good. There was a total of four sex scenes in here and I skipped over them for the most part. They weren’t that explicit, but I’m me and that’s that.

The characters:

Shiovra was a consistent character that was sympathetic and inspired concern. For the most part, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that she was being used without knowing and it made me worry. She was strong without being overbearing, makes people take responsibility for their own actions, and has a dedication to duty that I haven’t been seeing much in characters lately. There is this one part a little after the 80% mark on my Kindle where Shiovra becomes lovers with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-For-Fear-Of-Spoilers that I didn’t really like. The fact that she had just finished tongue-lashing another person for doing the same thing and was betrothed to someone else aside, it felt to me like he pressured her into it. I also wish that the build up to that scene had been a little more…intense.

There is this one warrior leader, Meara, who I wish we had seen more of. She’s a woman in ancient Ireland leading men into battle with a spear—tell me that’s not worth exploring? I would have liked a touch of backstory on her and a little explanation as to why she fights alongside the men and why her men follow her when that is clearly not a cultural norm. I hope there will be more of that in Betrayal.

Odhrán was…complicated. I don’t know how to feel about his character. I loved his sarcastic comebacks to Daire and he was definitely intriguing, but I’m not sure whose side he’s on or what his ends are. I have this theory bouncing around in my head that would explain a whole lot, but I’m only 40% vested in its likelihood.

I did like most of the characters, including the villains. No, especially the villains. Every story needs a good one (or two or three or four) and here we get the “dark lord” baddie as well as the “evil queens”—the ultimate package.

This story has a lot of potential, but I would recommend waiting until the reedits are done. With a little polishing, it could be a spectacular piece.

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