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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heart of the Volcano by Imogen Howson

Heart of the Volcano by Imogen Howson
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short (64 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Orange Blossom

Caught between love and duty, can she make an impossible choice?

Five years ago, Aera was called away from everything she had ever known: her home, family, and Coram, the boy she was growing to love. She was given no choice. As the only living lava-shifter—able to transform her body into molten rock—she is destined to serve the volcano god as his fire priestess. Now, before she takes her ordained role, she must face her final test. Execute a criminal sentenced to death for the most unforgivable of all sins. Blasphemy.

She’s shocked to discover it’s no anonymous law-breaker waiting chained at the center of the labyrinth. It’s Coram. For the crime of being a gargoyle, a winged stone-shifter. A gift akin to hers…except his gift is unsanctioned by the temple, his powers proclaimed unholy.

If she refuses the test she will betray her god and condemn her family to dishonor. To pass it she must kill the boy she used to love…the man she still does.

This is my second foray into reading Ms. Howson's work. She's a gifted author and I enjoyed this story as much as the last. She's exceptional at description and putting together well crafted sentences. The way she ‘draws’ a scene pulls you in and you need to know what will happen next.

Aera is a fire priestess. Her gift had been discovered when she was 15 and now five years later she is on to her final test. The story is very psychological—inside of Aera's mind and emotions as she takes on this final test. Will she pass or will she become the latest sacrifice?

The writing is outstanding. And though it is a short story taking place over a short period of time, it’s pure magic. It’s a satisfying little story and it looks like the opening to a series. I look forward to more to come.