Duality by Renee Wildes
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: High Fantasy (Swords & Sorcerers)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Books
Review by Eglantine
Love will give them strength—or prove to be their fatal flaw.
Guardians of the Light, Book 1
Dara Khan Androcles is really in over her head this time. From childhood she’s been forced to hide her half-dragon mage fighting skills behind a public persona as a healer. Now, with a traitor and his demon threatening the throne of Safehold, Dara has no choice but to turn reluctant warrior—and seek help.
She strikes a bargain with runaway Elven prince Loren ta Cedric and his sentient, pain-in-the-butt war mare, Hani’ena. Loren’s not only too handsome for Dara’s own good, the powerful empath can see right through to the pain that drives her.
Loren can’t help but feel Dara’s every hurt, physical and emotional. Though his need for her drives him half mad, he must stay his course to see justice done for his people. Even if it means swearing a Life Debt to the distracting mortal.
That vow, made in the heat of their parallel quests, carries more power than either of them guessed. The power to bond the unlikely pair as Life Mates. The power to lay bare the fears and desires that could bind them to a single purpose—or tear them apart.
All the while a demon awaits, ready to destroy all that they hold dear.
Fire and water, earth and sky. How can such opposites ever become one? The more Loren, elf prince and noble warrior, and Dara, plain peasant with frightening abilities she herself doesn't fully understand, find their special bond is crucial to the survival of all they hold dear. But the very beings they emerge to be threatens that bond. How can they gain victory over darkness without accepting defeat in their love?
Duality is a big story. In style and scope it reminds the reader of Lord of the Rings, though you should not make the mistake of thinking the plots are in any way related. Ms Wildes creates a world so real you feel you can taste the mist on your tongue, smell the earth in the early morning sun. Dara's dual nature is believable, her inner struggles depicted in a way that wrenches sympathy from the reader's heart. Loren's conflicts with desire and duty is equally well sketched. Characters are three-dimensional, their grief and laughter real. The editing is faultless, the writing well executed. Initially the unusual use of English employed to demonstrate Loren's foreign-ness bothered, but Ms Wildes manages to pull it off.
This is definitely a keeper, a wonderful story that had me up into the small hours, eyes glued to the screen. Highly recommended.