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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Allegiance by Beth Bernobich

I've been a huge fan of this series right from the start, when I read Passion Play, the first of the trilogy, a few years back. It's a truly fascinating fantasy world that makes you want to know more about the characters and the kingdoms, despite already having lots of information about them. What makes this trilogy so interesting is the number of strong female characters that are not only admirable, but also authentic. It also has wonderful world building, and the fact that it tells the story through generations of reincarnations makes it that much more interesting.

Ilse has been the main character since the first book, and for such a young woman, she's been through quite a lot. She went from a weak merchant's daughter to a strong and intelligent fighter. Her role in the political and silent war brewing in the kingdom is a minor but important one. What I admire the most is her ability to survive hardship after hardship, and despite her magical knowledge, it's not something that she can fully depend on. In my mind, that makes is so much harder for her to achieve her goals and in a way, makes me admire her so much more.

Raul Kosenmark is without a doubt my favourite character of the trilogy. Not only because he makes such a wonderful hero, but because he's any unlikely one too. He uses intelligence, deceit and secrecy to achieve his goals instead of brute strength. Sometimes his decisions are a little bit confusing and dangerous, and sometimes they aren't necessarily the right ones, but his focus is always on bringing true peace to his country. His relationship with Ilse is an unlikely one but their love for each other seem realistic and genuine. They've been apart for most of the trilogy and you can't help but want to speed things up to bring them together once again. Their own personal missions to prevent war has physically sent them worlds apart but Raul's main reason of separating himself from his love is to protect her from danger.

One thing that is a little confusing about this novel is the amount of characters that keep being added, even as the end of the trilogy nears. Not only are they more or less important, but the story is actually being told from their point of view. The shift away from the main characters, Ilse and Raul, can be frustrating and confusing, but over all, the addition of all these characters does add depth to the story.

Allegiance takes you on an adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat. As one king dies, another wants to take advantage and gain more power and control, which can only mean war and death. I can't believe this is the end of the trilogy. It just feel like there could be more to the story, that more tales about the world could be told. I hope Beth Bernobich will be able to write more about her fantasy world and more about Ilse and Raul. I haven't read many high fantasy series but I can honestly say that the River of Souls trilogy is high on my list of favourite fantasy novels.

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Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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