Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Regenbogen. A piece of land fought over for centuries by Kria, Salhara, and Illusor. A war that has been fought so hard and for so many generations that the men and women fighting now have forgotten the original reason for the fight other than secure or procure a piece of land beneficial to all sides.
Taken unawares by a cowardly assassin while preparing to return home before the worst of winter hits, General Dieter von Adolwulf and his Scarlet army lost hundreds of men and seeks to find the man behind their deaths. When Dieter discovers that the assassin not only used Salharan magic—magic gained by drinking the poison arcen—to kill his men, but is part of the elusive brotherhood of the Seven Star in Salhara, he orders the man taken prisoner. When the man won’t give his name, Dieter forces a name upon him—Berhat, a Krian name, a mark of shame to a Salharn who believes that to give someone a name is to hold power over them. Even worse for the assassin who was nameless before that moment, only to be named by the Scarlet Wolf of Kria. Before Berhat can even begin to think about freedom, he must first convince Dieter to take back the stars-forsaken name.
But before either man can force the other to bow to their will, tragedy strikes when the Illusor strike in a terror only known as the Scream, killing the remainder of the Scarlet army. Only Dieter and Berhat survive, though neither know how. Now it’s up to both will and stubbornness to get both men to the Winter Castle in Kria, because the one thing they don’t have is trust.
The Illusor are a people who have lived with a magic so great and so powerful, most of the citizens have no idea of the sacrifice made to keep such a gift, but Prince Matthias and his best friends, Esta and Kallan, know of the sacrifice and loss of family and of love that comes with such great power. That’s why Matthias plans to destroy the crystal that holds Illusor’s power. To do so would be a huge adjustment for his country and his people, but worth it. But first they need to find the Breaker—someone of uncorrupt Illusor blood who does not have the magic the rest of Illusor possess.
Illusor Captain Iah Cekah was a member of the regiment that Screamed and killed the Scarlet army, doing so because they sensed the Breaker. Somehow Iah survived the Scream but was captured and tortured by the Salharan army, having his eyes torn out so he would be unable to use his magic. Alone and awaiting his death, Iah is surprised to be rescued by a man with a voice like summer, a man with many names.
Salharan General Sol deVry is revered for his ruthlessness in battle. He’s also a highly skilled spy who is well known as Krian nobility. But at his heart, Sol is true to Illusor the country of the family who saved him when his country left him for dead. Now riding with Iah at his side, Sol is determined to find the Breaker and take him to Illusor. But when Sol’s arch nemesis discerns his plan, Sol’s trouble has only begun.
If ever you didn’t know why I love Megan Derr’s writing, you should sit down and read this book. Prisoner is a story of mystery, intrigue, betrayal, magic, fantasy, love, and hope. It’s one plot twist after another in a world of excitement and adventure. We follow several characters through an epic journey to fulfill one goal. The way this story is crafted, the way each piece interweaves with the next is engrossing and rich.
There are so many parts to this book, so many intricacies, I don’t think I can hit upon all of them. But I’ll do my best to tick off the very best.
Obviously, the characters in this story are what drives it. There is so much here. Dieter is the Wolf of Kria and don’t be fooled by his rough exterior. He’s not a teddy bear on the inside. The guy in a full on ass. And he has every right to be, but I’m not going to go into that; you must read it for yourself. And although he’s such a jerk, I have to say he’s my favorite character. He never excuses himself or apologizes for who or what he is.
Then Berhat. Berhat is every part of this world. He is Prisoner. He has a hand in every country. Salharan by birth, he wanted nothing more than to be a Seven Star. The task that would put him on the path to that goal is ultimately the one that placed him in the hands of von Adolwulf. Obviously, his ties to Kria have to do with his captivity, but Berhat definitely leaves his mark on Kria before his dramatic departure. And finally, Illusor, a connection he never thought coming, but one that gives him a home and a future. Berhat’s story is maybe one of my favorites. He begins as a man with nothing, not even a name and ends with more than he had ever hoped for.
Sol and Iah, these guys steal my heart in this story. Talk about love story. Sol is a man of many different names and faces, who tells lies as easily as he breathes. Unless he’s talking to Iah. For some reason, and don’t ask Sol to explain, he can’t resist Iah. Iah is adjusting to not only his loss of sight but also his loss of magic, so in the beginning he has no choice but to rely on Sol, but learning to trust him becomes natural. Sol and Iah find themselves, heal themselves in each other. They are the sweet portion of this story.
Even the biggest villain in this book, Tawn, is vividly drawn. Ugly, fearful, and mean, Tawn is frightening and evil on every level. Derr gives him motivation in that he is Sol’s bother-in-law and not only seeks to destroy the group as a whole but to destroy Sol’s soul.
This world is beyond imaginative and beautiful. I’m in love with it. Amazing is not a great enough word. Kria, Illusor, and Salhara could not be any more different. Derr does a wonderful job creating three contrasting countries then giving them rich histories and complex conflicts. Kria is a country of warriors, a country without magic. Krians worship the gods of seasons—the Autumn Prince, the Summer Princess, the Winter Princess, and the Spring Prince. The winters in Kria are harsh, so harsh that the entirety of the kingdom travels to the Winter Castle to spend the season. Krians are brutal and rough—they watch their prisoners kill one another for sport. This is a country of rough and tumble men and women who believe in living and dying by the sword.
Illusor, in my mind’s eye, is beautiful. Less cold in the winter than Kria, but still cold and snowy. They worship the goddess. The magic of Illusor is held in the eyes of the people. The most interesting and tragically beautiful mystery of the Illusor is the secret to their magic, the spell that calls for a sacrifice. Illusor worship the goddess. Illusor is the most peaceful of the three countries.
And Salhara, the darkest of the three. When I close my eyes I picture a dark world, but that has more to do with its people than its surroundings, which I’m certain are beautiful. The magic of Salhara is manufactured, a poison created by the Arcen flower, which grows best on the land possessed by Kria. This poison slowly takes over the person who takes it. Salhara worships stars, believes that when one dies they return to the stars. The Seven Star is an elite brotherhood of Salharans, who pretty much rule the royalty of Solhara. Even the people, the description of Salharans on arcen, sallow, pale, thin, scary-looking. It all combines to build an amazing world.
The plots and subplots of this story… I can’t begin to tell you the love I have for each and every one. There was one part of this story—I refuse to divulge exactly which part—where I actually gasped and heaved a big, incredulous “no.” This story is drama and backstabbing and cheating (not the MCs) and betrayal and excitement and pure fantasy fun time. But it’s also a journey to finding one’s self, finding family where it wasn’t expected, and finding home. The conflict and war in this book is beautifully balanced with the quest and the many relationships built—be it romantic, familial, friendly.
Obviously, I love this book. Love it. Love, love, love it. I am ever impressed by Megan Derr and the worlds and fantasies that she creates. And this one, it’s amazing. I highly, highly recommend Prisoner by Megan Derr.