Being a huge fan of Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series I thought I might try some of her other works. And I must say folks, I was not disappointed. I cannot tell you how happy I was when I decided to try her other books that I got both of these. I've made it a rule now for myself that if I'm starting a series, I'll atleast get the first AND the second...and sometimes the third. I just hate the frustration at finding yourself completely into a book and your just DYING to get more of the story, but you find that you didn't buy or check out the next in the series. *ARG!*
My only complaint is that there aren't any more books to this story.
The duology follows a boy named Ward who plays the fool not only for his own safety but that of his younger brother and sister. Ward playing the fool had me reminiscing about Megan Whalen Turner's Eugenides from her Thief series, (which I HIGHLY recommend if you haven't read already)
When Wards' father dies, Ward finds that playing the fool will no longer protect him and his family. Instead he must find a way to prove himself sane and worthy of taking up the mantle of his home Hurog that he is in danger of loosing.
The story moves along at a fast pace with lots of action. The characters were likable and real to me. They were each distinct in their own right so you weren't left confused at who was who.
Excerpt from Dragon Bones
Ilander might have been new, but he understood that my aunt had trained me since I picked up the sword, so he shouldn't have assumed I'd be easy. Still, he'd watched me all week in drills after Stala had announced the participants in the weekly slaughter. But drills were drills, and all-outs were battle. During drills, I regularly "forgot" the patterns, especially if Stala changed them very often. I slowed down and refused to use all my strength against an opponent who was just interested in getting the swings right. Was it my fault Ilander thought that meant I was slow and clumsy? Ilander, who thought playing tricks on the stupid boy was really funny.
I smiled at him sweetly as I gave an awkward twitch of my sword in a feeble-looking attempt to parry his deadly slice. It made him look really bad when my parry worked. He growled and swung overarm in the mistaken impression I couldn't hit his body with a killing stoke and still catch his blade before he lopped something important off -- like my head.
Stala called it with a shrill, two-fingered whistle as soon as the tip of my sword whipped across his belly armor, but it was my blade that stopped his sword. In a serious fight, he would have been dead. If I hadn't caught his blade, I would have been dead, practice or not. He wanted to continue; I could see the rage in his eyes as I met his gaze mildly.
"Good fighting," I said earnestly, stepping back and letting his sword slide off mine. "It was good fighting, wasn't it, Stala?"
Stala snorted. "Ilander, you're not a boy. You should know better than to get angry with your opponent. When your facing someone who has already proven stronger than you, not to mention faster, it's the height of stupidity to pull a move like that overhand. You're lucky you didn't really get hurt."
...Stala turned her attention to me. "Ward, you haven't even worked up a sweat."
I frowned thoughtfully, decided sniffing my armpit would be overkill, then nodded my head.
"After everyone else is through, you and I will have a go of it, eh?"
I smiled and nodded. Even if no one had thought I was stupid before, the smile would have done it. No one beat Stala. Like Lucky, I wondered just how much she knew. Did she, for instance, know that I'd baited Ilander deliberately? Did she intend our upcoming bout to punish me for it?