Rating: 4.5 stars
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Ceithin Morgan is from the Cariad clan, and he traveled to the city following rumors of his brother’s whereabouts only to be imprisoned and tortured by the Council. The aging men, losing their fire, want Ceithin’s scarlet healing Fire. Leaving him for dead, the Council never expects him to be saved.
Darach Gravenor has lost his blood brothers. Eoin was consumed by his Fire when it was born, and Kian has crossed through the veil to the human world in search of the demon that killed his uncle. Because Darach’s Fire hadn’t manifested yet, he couldn’t go with Kian, but Kian left instructions. When Darach hears that a Cariad is in the City, he goes to find Ceithin, helps to free him, and then heads to the Cariads’ home valley with Ceithin. Darach and Ceithian hate each other from the beginning. Darach is poisoned by the stories he heard of the Cariad growing up: they are ruthless, evil, wandering criminals. Ceithin, for his part, thinks that Darach is an untrained, naïve youngling. They argue and fight. But Ceithin believed that Darach can learn to harness his magick and his element, and be strong enough to cross through the veil.
As Darach’s training progresses, the two men grow closer. After some months, Darach is finally ready to pass through the veil in search of Kian, and Ceithin is determined to go with him, thinking his brother must be in the human world. But the more time they spend together, the more they come to realize that the prophecies given at their births may just mean that they are meant to be bonded. Their love for each other overshadows all the reasons that they shouldn’t bond and they complete it anyway. Happy and ready to face their next journey, their lives are turned sideways when the Guardian shows up in the valley. There can only be one reason that the Guardian is here, and that is to punish Ceithin. At least that’s what everyone thinks.
Book two in the Fire Trilogy picks up not too long after the first one ends. These books, though having different MCs, must be read in order. They are rely on prior knowledge and are a continuing tale. Darach’s Cariad ends in a bigger cliff hanger than Kian’s Hunter, but all the main plot lines are tied up and it’s only the overarching plot that carries through.
What continues here is awesome world building. Scott does a fantastic job of continuing to build on the world that she’s already created and giving it an ever more fleshed out feel. This worked perfectly within the plot, as the Cariad practice a more ancient magick than those in the City do. The clan has a better handle on Fire and elements, what they can do, and how to use them. I loved that we got to learn more about the way the magick works. The more we learn, the more things make sense. Which is exactly how a world like this should work.
Darach has a lot of preconceived notions and he’s got a lot of bluster. But he’s a wonderfully layered character, and we really got to see the vulnerabilities underneath. Darach really changed and grew as the story progressed, and I really liked seeing him letting go of what he thought he knew for what he can now see is the truth. I enjoyed the way he came to trust in his Fire more, letting it guide him. And I think he was the perfect partner for the proud and sometimes arrogant Ceithin. The two of them worked incredibly well together. And Scott did a great job of letting us see the attraction simmering under the surface as they moved from enemies to lovers.
While most of this book is told from the POV of one of our main characters, there were several chapters where we were back in the human world with Regan and Kian, as well as one chapter from the Guardian’s POV. I understood why Scott chose to do this, as it gave us some important information, but I have to admit that these chapters didn’t work quite as well for me. I felt like I was being taken out of the story just for the information, and then being thrust back in when we returned to Darach and Ceithin.
This is a fantastic series. It’s got everything—action, adventure, mystery, true love—and I’m really enjoying it. This book was no exception, and I was enthralled with the continuing story, as well as getting to see Darach finding his mate. I can only guess at what Scott has in store for the final book, and I can’t wait to find out.