Joint Review: Warrior’s Dawn (Fire and Tears #3) by Isabo Kelly

warriors dawn by isabo kellyPublisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher

For a chance at love, he may have to offer up his last drop of blood.

Branded a traitor, Althir of Glengowyn has resigned himself to life as outcast from his own people—until he’s offered a chance at redemption. A suicide mission to retrieve a vessel bearing the ultimate weapon: the Sorcerers’ true names.

His companion on the journey is a human woman unlike any he’s ever encountered. Beautiful. Brave. Fascinating. And before he knows it, keeping her safe is more important than his own salvation.

Mina Dawnswealth’s talent for spycraft has kept her alive even as her dreams—and her family—have fallen victim to the war, one by one. Much as she hates the idea of helping the traitor elf, at least she gets the pleasure of burying a knife in his back should he decide to betray her people again. A much easier task if she didn’t find him so compelling.

Only when they’re beyond the point of no return do they discover just how much blood their mission will cost. And how much love it will take to overcome their pasts—if they survive.

Warning: Contains an arrogant ass of an elf hero and a human heroine with a bitter past who would like nothing better than to kill him. Danger, fighting, hard language, magical mayhem, deadly Sorcerers and hot sex fueled by an addictive pheromone. Can we get a “Hell, yeah”?
This blurb came from the author’s website.

E: A few months ago Marlene and I decided to review the second installment in Kelly’s Fire and Tears series,  The Darkness of Glengowyn, and we both enjoyed it. So when we saw that the third one was coming out no thought was required to request a copy. I had been hoping to find out Althir’s motivation for his actions as well as the progress of the war and Kelly certainly delivered. In addition to answering my mental questions and providing a fun romance Kelly has continued to keep my interest in her series. This series builds on the actions of the previous installments so I recommend if you are interested that you pick up the first book, Brightarrow Burning.

Marlene: I think I might have persuaded E to read The Darkness of Glengowyn, because I reviewed Brightarrow Burning at Reading Reality and absolutely loved it, except that it was way too short. Adding two more books to the series has taken care of that problem, but I still want more.

E: I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention one of the things I LOVED about this story was Mina’s description. She was certainly a curvy woman, even after the deprivations of war and the massive amount of physical exertion as a result of her actions during the war. She wasn’t ashamed of her curves, what they symbolized in happier times, and Althir certainly found them attractive. It was very refreshing to see and hear this. I also liked how she wasn’t perfect. There were times when she was distracted from her mission and needed Althir’s help to survive but those moments of weakness made her seem more three dimensional to me.

Marlene: YES to curvy Mina. She was fit and strong and capable and she had definite curves that she was happy with. The only part of her curviness that she didn’t like was the way that it reminded her of better times with her dead family. When Althir asks how she manages to still be curvy in spite of the depredations of the war, she’s proud that she was fat before the war, because it meant that her family’s chocolate business was successful. A skinny daughter would have meant that their chocolate was terrible. (If chocolate can ever be truly terrible).

E: Without saying too much about Althir, because I think discovering him was one of the biggest treats in this story, I really enjoyed him. He was such a contradiction in someways and really had some unexpected entertaining depths. I loved the dance between Mina and Althir because neither trusted the other’s motivations but they were both driven enough to be supportive partners in their mission. Watching them move from reluctant partners through hatred on one side and mistrust on the other to partners who were determined to do whatever was required to fulfil their mission and protect each other was certainly a treat. Not only did their trust grow but so did their mutual sexual tension until I couldn’t wait for them to finally have a chance to give in. And when they did **fans self** whew!

Marlene: Althir was definitely a hero of the super-conflicted type. And not all of his reasons for behaving as badly as he did were exactly heroic. Some of his behavior was motivated by some very petty reasons, but it makes sense. It also makes him an irresistibly good bad boy, or the other way around.

E: Kelly did a great job of keeping me wondering through the very end about how she was going to manage to pull off an HEA. The circumstances were against Mina and Althir’s relationship on several different levels. Not only his status as a “traitor” but what was required to actually “complete” their mission even if they managed to return with the necessary object. There was also the concern about “elf-fire” and its probable negative effects on Mina if she was exposed for a long duration. It was really good to see both Mina and Althir scheming on how to improve the other’s life even if they could not remain involved. Warrior’s Dawn hit on so many different levels for me I continue to remain glad I decided to try a new-to me author earlier this year. I am really looking forward to what she comes up with next in her Fire and Tears world.

I give Warrior’s Dawn an A-/B+.

Marlene: This was a terrific version of the “romance with a time-limit” type. Both Mina and Althir believe that whatever they develop on their mission has no chance of a future. And not because of any stupid non-communication self-sacrifice, but because humans really can’t have relationships with elves beyond a certain point, except in very rare circumstances that are more legendary than real. Althir also isn’t sure he’ll survive the end of the mission, but it is reasonable for him to believe that he probably will, but that their time is up. And yet they are still trying to do the best they can for each other’s future.

I’ve enjoyed Kelly’s worldbuilding in the entire Fire and Tears series, and Warrior’s Dawn continues to add new facets to her fantasy world. The romance between Althir and Mina was hot and tense as well as sensually romantic. They were complicated characters who had to grow to reach each other.

I give Warrior’s Dawn an A-.

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