Ketha's Daughter by Suzanne Francis
Publisher: Mushroom Ebooks
Rating: 4 books
Review by Orchid
Queen Katrione Arkafina ably rules the kingdom of Beaumarais, but she has had less success with her boisterous daughter, Gwenn, born under the sway of a brutal Goddess. Keth Dirane has given Gwenn awesome strength and almost complete invulnerability, but manipulates her cruelly in return. Now, to further her own ends, she convinces Gwenn she must seek revenge for an old betrayal.
On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Gwenn runs away. After she allies herself with some marauding coastal raiders, captained by Gunnar Strong Arm, she has the army she requires. Now, as the dreaded warrior Faircrow, Gwenn will steer the Fynära inexorably towards her former home -- the City of Isle St. Valery.
Gwen, daughter of the Queen of Beaumarais, has the goddess Keth Dirane entwined in her body. The goddess whispers evil into Gwen’s mind, warping the young woman’s thoughts with her malice. Gwen is only at peace when Keth Dirane (Ketha) goes hunting in her raven form. Ketha encourages Gwen to leave home and join a marauding gang from the north. Thus begins the scourge of Beaumarais, with the marauders killing and destroying everything in their path.
Many men pass through Gwen’s life, but the two main ones in her life are her stepfather’s brother Kadya and the captain of the marauders, Gunnar. Both men love Gwen. Kadya tries to help Gwen and ends up as a slave while Gunnar passes through phases of love, hate, fear and jealousy.
Gunnar and his crew help Gwen rape and plunder the countryside. As the story unfolds Gwen realizes she will gain no peace until she rids herself of Keth Dirane, but she knows this could result in her own death. Those around her fear the evil goddess and the strength she gives to Gwen. Kadya tries to help Gwen but in doing so becomes a slave of the marauders. As Gwen gets closer to her goal of destroying her mother and the country of Beaumarais she doesn’t realize she is part of a much bigger plan of the gods. Ketha is intent on changing the ways things should go.
I enjoyed the main story of this book, although I find it very difficult to describe. There is so much going on that several plots and sub-plots of various characters blend together to make an extremely intriguing and gripping story. The heroine is a vibrant young woman, fully capable of taking care of herself in any situation. At first it seemed she had no softer side, but it soon became obvious the hardness came mainly from the goddess inside her.
This book is second in a series and does not stand alone easily. Because I hadn't read the first, I felt I lacked enough information to understand the background of the story. The snippets of information in the prologue and at the beginning of each chapter were a total mystery to me until I got about half way through the book. This unfortunately interrupted the flow of my reading and I did wonder whether the snippets would have been better joined together as larger interludes throughout the book.
Ketha’s Daughter is an intriguing book, the main part is well written and grips the reader, making them want to read on, but I would recommend reading the first book in the series to avoid any confusion. If you enjoy warrior princess type stories mixed with the mystique of the gods, then this is a book you should read.