Author: Katy Huth Jones
I loved the story of Mercy and Valerian. The amazing thing about this story, or I should say one of the amazing things, is that you can FEEL the love the author put into this story. It’s in the writing like a secret ingredient for a family recipe. You can taste it, but it isn’t something that can just be copied.
The world is a mix between medieval and fantasy. There’s a variety of dragons, monsters, and humans. There’s a Keep, garrisons, and all the touches you expect for a medieval story. An intriguing aspect is that in Mercy’s Prince swords are a thing of the past. I’m so used to seeing swords in medieval based books that took me by surprise, and made the battle scenes completely unique as I tried to picture them with spears and axes and bows. Now, Valerian does find a sword, and I loved how it was this foreign and unique object.
The humans are being attacked by the Horde(monsters) and during one battle, the crown prince Waryn is killed right in front of Valerian. Valerian’s been looking forward to a solitary life as a scholar. He’s not trained to rule, or fight, and there he is in the middle of a battle and completely shocked. He doesn’t save his brother and besides having to suffer through the knowledge that he could’ve if he hadn’t frozen up, he’s now the crown prince, a decisions no one’s happy with.
Valerian’s dreams are gone, his parents poured all their love and energy into Waryn and they’re not too happy, though the mom doesn’t come into the picture until the end. But mostly it’s Caelas, Waryn’s best friend, who’s unhappy. Caelas and Waryn were like two peas in a very mean pod. Not only has Caelas just lost most of his political clout, he’s lost his best friend, the person who he saw as brutal and ruthless enough to be a true ruler.
On the other side is Mercy, a Healer whose people have sworn an oath of peace. I can’t say much about Mercy without spoilers, but she definitely faces her share of trials and tribulations. She suffers a lot of loss, a lot of heartache, and ends up losing her voice from grief(which I figured would be temporary since pain can heal).
Valerian and Mercy’s paths cross, and they discover a surprising “talent”. Between Mercy’s new Healing gift and Valerian’s new seer talents, they’re able to communicate mind-to-mind. Between Caelas and the Horde, the little band (Mercy, Valerian, and his squire, Kieran) has a lot to accomplish, and there’s something strange going on with the Horde that either means the fight is over or something bad is coming.
There’s a lot of bittersweet moments to this book. And I cried quite a bit during chapter 15(just a warning). The characters are amazingly well-developed, even if they only have a short time on page. The different struggles the characters face can easily be translated into today’s world for people to identify with. Losing loved ones, facing new responsibilities, discovering new gifts, learning to use talents wisely, not overextending oneself, bravery, love, kindness, wisdom, etc.
The story wrapped up in a nice way where you could end here and be satisfied, but it leaves a lot of questions and a lot of characters who you’d love to see more from that I WANT to read the next book. I love the messages, the world, the characters, the story. This is a Christian fantasy, but it doesn’t get preachy and I think the messages within should be ones a lot of people value: keeping oaths, avoiding killing, etc.