|Master of Crows|
What would you do to win your freedom?
This is the question that sets bondwoman, Martise of Asher, on a dangerous path. In exchange for her freedom, she bargains with her masters, the mage-priests of Conclave, to spy on the renegade sorcerer, Silhara of Neith. The priests want Martise to expose the sorcerer's treachery and turn him over to Conclave justice. A risky endeavor, but one she accepts without hesitation--until she falls in love with her intended target.
Silhara of Neith, Master of Crows, is a desperate man. The god called Corruption invades his mind, seducing him with promises of limitless power if he will help it gain dominion over the world. Silhara struggles against Corruption's influence and searches for ways to destroy the god. When Conclave sends Martise as an apprentice to help him, he knows she's a spy. Now he fights a war on two fronts--against the god who would possess him and the apprentice who would betray him.
Mage and spy search together for a ritual that will annihilate Corruption, but in doing so, they discover secrets about each other that may damn them both. Silhara must decide if his fate, and the fate of nations, is worth the soul of the woman he has come to love, and Martise must choose continued enslavement or freedom at the cost of a man's life. And love.
Author: Grace Draven
Wow. Where to begin? This is one of my favorite books I have read in a long time; it has it all as far as I'm concerned. Both the story and the world build slowly over time, letting you really get to understand the characters and their drives and motivations. It builds to a slow burn and then smolders right along with you. Too often I find romance books are about broken people getting rescued by their one true love. Not so with Master of Crows. Martise and Silhara have synergy that is fascinating to watch, especially when they are in conflict. What really startled me is that the secondary characters are complete: Silhara's servant, the nomad clansmen, even the dog. Each is unique and has his or her own personality and way of interacting with the others. The story is complex and gorgeous. There is vengeance and blood. There is death and the undead, spells and black magic. But there is also love. There is laughter. There is humor and strength and gentleness. And at Neith, there are always oranges.
There is sex in this book. Not just "cut to the next scene just after their lips meet and they sink softly into bed" sex, either. Wonderfully descriptive and steamy sex, but no so descriptive that it reads like an anatomy book. There are whores, and descriptions of degradation and humiliation of one houri in particular that may be disturbing to some. That being said, sex and intimacy are used for flavor and spice, not as the main goal of the story. It's a hot steamy romance, not erotica.
I bought this book all by myself and get nothing for this review.