All is not well in Xy. There is a faction of nobles who are plotting against the Queen and her barbarian warlord. As cultures clash and tempers flare, Heath and the fierce Plains warrior woman Atira of the Bear must come together to fight the conspiracy… and to search their hearts for something deeper than raw passion.
A barbarian woman and a castle guard find love amid political intrigue in this pleasant blend of romance and classic fantasy, the fourth installment of Vaughan’s Chronicles of the Warlands (after Warlord). The queen of Xy is now the beloved bride of a barbarian warlord. In their retinue, Heath of Xy, son of the royal seneschal, woos the lusty warrior woman Atira of the Bear, whose dislike for city life and settling down amusingly recall male barbarian romance hero stereotypes. As Queen Lara attempts to regain control of the fractious nobility, Heath and Atira team up to fight conspirators and thwart assassination attempts while helping to lower the cultural barriers between the subjects of Xy and the warriors of the plains. Hints of the interesting plains culture will engage fantasy fans, and the protagonists’ convincing chemistry will please romance readers.
Warcry is the 4th installment of the Warlands series, but the focus is on the romance that was hinted at in the previous books between Atira of the Bear, and Heath of Xy. It’s told in their POVs instead of Lara and Keir. The ex-Warlord and his pregnant Warprize have arrived to Xy, so Lara can safely deliver her heir and cement her position as Queen which due to the events in the first book has left a few enemies who aren’t as welcoming or happy with their return.
I adored the previous books and Warprize is one of my all time favourite books, and I have been eagerly waiting for the followups to see what happens next and how their return to Xy plays out. It was definitely well worth the wait! Unlike the original trilogy of books which was told in the 1st POV of Lara, Warcry is narrated mainly with Heath and Atira’s POV which expanded on the outside political intrigue and events. But it also help to explore more thoroughly Atira and Heath’s issues, like the ones Lara had with Keir, were filled with misunderstandings and fear that were obstacles in their relationship. In a lot of ways the tables were turned with Atira being the stranger in a strange land and Heath giving her the space and helping her to understand that committing to a relationship can be a good thing and it’s nothing to fear about.
Although some people may see the swift POV’s which sometimes can happen in mid scenes and in the midst of action. I actually felt it added to the fast pace of the book, and added to the political and tense tone that plays throughout the story. I think this is one of the highlights of the plot, because the political subterfuge which threatens Lara and her family was well thought out. It was tense and not as predictable. I also loved how the setting which was mainly based in and around the castle of Water’s Fall reflected the tense atmosphere of the plots surrounding Lara as well as mirroring Atira’s and the rest of the Firelanders who felt claustrophobic about this huge ‘stone tent’.
I really loved how the romance between Atira and Heath played out throughout the book, although in a lot of ways it wasn’t as prominent as previous books and was more of a secondary story to the main plot of the book. I didn’t think this detracted from the story or their romance because it was already established in the previous books, and that has carried onto this book really well without losing any of their past issues or attractions.
Atira’s and Heath’s growth also shows how much they changed from their initial encounters with each other and as well with their encounters with living with each other’s cultures and people. I loved the symmetry with Atira being the person who learns new things and learning there is more to the people of Xy. The focus on Heath and Atira also expanded their characters. During the original trilogy, Heath was more like Lara’s little brother and although I found his character cute, he never really stood out for me. However in Warcry, he was definitely more fleshed out and I loved how patient but also determined he was to win Atira. And his skills and political knowledge about the people who lived in Water’s Fall added to the story. Nonetheless, I think Atira’s growth was the most apparent, and I loved her journey from the gruff and fixed in her ways warrior in the previous books to the woman who realises that change is a good thing and adapting to it mirrors the broader themes of the series about two cultures clashing but adapting to survive.
It was also a joy to revisit Lara and Keir who we do get to see a lot throughout the book, and it does feel like their story and romance was the secondary relationship but seen through the eyes of others without detracting from the story. We also see how their new changes — as well as the repercussions to those changes — to Xy and the People of the Plains continued, which I loved and really makes their story a true saga with more hints to come.
Warcry is a wonderful installment and I was sucked into this book and the characters. It really felt like I was revisiting old friends. I also get the sense that with the hints in the book, there will be more to come, especially with Keir’s ambitions of wanting to become a War-king and the fact there are still a few threads left open about Lara’s enemies and the political subterfuge that Elizabeth Vaughan has tantalizing hinted. I really hope there is more to come from this world and characters because the ending was something that I didn’t expect. It was a huge fun twist which I enjoyed because it will add some interesting things in future books for this series. And I look forward to seeing how it all pans out.
Warcry is a well written story filled with tense political intrigue and balanced out with a fun and sexy romance with great touches of humour. It also carries on and continues teasing us with hints of more to come in future books. It’s a wonderful instalment in the Warplains saga and it will definitely leave readers hanging on for more!
I give Warcry a B+