3 out of 4 stars
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I rate Dagger’s Destiny by Linnea Tanner as 3 out of 4 stars. I was excited to read this book because I recently read the first book in the series and I am anxious to know what happens to the vibrant characters. From my prior experience in the series, I expected this book to be more mythology based and lighter on the history and so I was not disappointed.
We pick right up in the story of Catrin, King Amren, and Marcellus, but the previous story (<i>Apollo’s Raven</i>) isn’t necessary to know or to understand this one. The backstory is referenced enough to read this story and not feel at all lost, but it is not overstated to feel deluged with old details for those who had read the prior book. The book begins heavily with the character description, mythology, and magic, but almost no history (only enough to solidify the setting). Likewise, the love story is an important piece of the character development, but it is not your typical romance novel.
Poor Catrin is torn between being the princess of her people or their traitor, her father’s doting daughter, and the lover of a foreigner - a Roman, no less. Amren is torn being the ruler of his clan and treating all his citizens with equal expectations, his baby girl, keeping his people from war, and a curse that suggests his son will kill him with the aid of his dead wife. Marcellus is equally troubled: in love with a savage from a heathen tribe and therefore a traitor to his people/the army, Roman expectations, and his father’s greed and temper. The book begins with torment for all the characters and the reader anxiously turns the pages to see how this strife will sort out. The action builds through the current love story, a previous love story, and the entanglements of those who want to gain power and rule the northern borders, or perhaps all the kingdom, or rise up through Roman status. There are a few characters that want the best for their families, but these are not the center stories. Intertwined through all of this are the confusing powers of Ancient Druids and Sorceresses. Shape shifting adds intrigue and makes believable the numerous betrayals. The story is action packed, and the reader wants to scream at the main characters to help them, although the king becomes an increasingly less sympathetic character.
Some maturity is needed to read this tale as it repeatedly references a rape from years ago. It becomes more graphic as the rapist thinks about reliving the rape in his mind. Later in the story, we read about the passions of Catrin and Marcellus. The description is not overt, but the implication is clear. Also, there are brutal descriptions of beheadings, dreams of beheadings, and battle scenes.
This second book in the series has more intrigue than the first. There are people sneaking out of the Roman Camp, prisoner exchanges run afoul, disguises, and sneaking into King Amren’s village. Moreover, there are more politics, liaisons, and broken treaties. The Roman politics are more clear in this book, but they are only supporting details to the story, and not crucial to the plot. King Amren struggles to make the right choices for his people, but struggles how those choices might be contrary to her personal wants.
I recommend this book to a reader looking for a historical romance with a heavy influence of magic and sorcery. The action is quick, and many of the characters are vibrant. Due to the sexual content of the story I would recommend this for teenage readers or mature young adults. I enjoyed the story.
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