Orsina of Melidrie is a paladin of the Order of the Sun. Her mission is to end chaos and corruption wherever she finds it. She spends her days traveling around Vesolda looking for the great evil she is destined to encounter. At least, that is what she was told two years before.
Aelia is the Goddess of Caprice. She is a minor chaos goddess and the personification of poor decision making. Her worship is outlawed and when Aelia encounters Orsina she is trapped in her mortal body and badly wounded. She manages to escape the encounter though and manifests in a body that isn’t recognisable. So when Orsina finds her again she thinks that Aelia is a wounded woman in need of help.
Orsina takes Aelia under her wing and the unlikely duo end up traveling together. It’s a great excuse for Aelia to travel across Vesolda in search of a magic relic that will free her from her body.
Aelia can’t tell Orsina the truth no matter how much she begins to feel for the earnest woman and so she holds back from the desire they both begin to feel.
A complex set of emotions surface as Aelia learns that desires can’t always be ignored and soon the chaos goddess isn’t certain of what she really wants after all.
As the two women travel they discover a host of gods and other problems that need to be dealt with and sooner or later Aelia will have to choose between her fellow gods or the paladin who has won her heart.
Orsina is such an earnest and sweet person. She truly believes in the good she is doing and even though she longs for home she will do whatever she needs to in order to complete the quest. She is the perfect counterbalance to Aelia.
Aelia is like a ray of light that’s dancing in the water. She is gorgeous and lives for whim and passion. She takes nothing seriously and doesn’t understand why you can’t just do fun things all the time.
Calvin did a phenomenal job of creating a beautiful character arc for Aelia. Watching her grow was like watching a master artist at work.
The Writing Style
I absolutely loved this book. Every single word.
The writing was perfect for the story. The emotions were there and the setting was done so that I could absolutely see this fantasy world and yet I was never bogged down in world building.
This is exactly the kind of fantasy I love. I call this fantasy light because it’s not trying to be Tolkien or Martin. It’s just telling a great story in a fun new setting.
Effie Calvin’s character work in this was something special.
I don’t have Effie Calvin’s next book yet, so I am going to have to sit here and pout till I get it ;)
You don’t have to be a fantasy lover to enjoy this story. You need to want a story with a great set of characters in a fun new world. And, if you love a sweet romance as a side plot then this is your next read.
I highly recommend this one and if this is what Effie Calvin does with her second book then I absolutely cannot wait to see what she does with her third.
It is worthwhile to note even though this is the second book in the series it is entirely stand alone and can be read and enjoyed without reading book 1.
Excerpt from Daughter Of The Sun by Effie Calvin
Even from a distance, Orsina of Melidrie could tell something was wrong.
The little village of Soria appeared to be a typical Vesoldan farming community. A field of green barley stretched toward the south, almost ready for the springtime harvest, and the farmers raised their hands to Orsina in greeting as she rode past. Down in the olive groves, trees were beginning to put out tiny, cream-colored blossoms while Sorian youngsters rested beneath the branches and tended to flocks of fat sheep.
But when Orsina inspected the fields more closely, she saw the crops were choked with weeds and beginning to rot. It was as though they had been neglected for weeks, despite the presence of the farmers.
Orsina also didn’t fail to notice that all Soria’s sheep still wore their heavy winter coats, though all the surrounding communities had held their springtime shearing days nearly a month ago. Most passersby would probably not notice such small details, but Orsina had dealt with situations like this before. She knew the signs of a village in thrall.
According to storytellers, the correct attire for a paladin was heavy plate armor, and a matching set for her horse. Orsina supposed none of those storytellers ever visited southern Vesolda, for even in early spring it was too hot to even contemplate wearing anything heavier than her chain mail and tabard.
Still, when she rode into Soria, children dropped their toys in the dust and abandoned their games to follow her. She doubted any of them had seen a paladin before, and so she gave them warm smiles and tried her best not to look intimidating. She did not know how successful she was.
A temple of Eyvindr, God of the Harvest and Third of the Ten, stood at the center of town. But as Orsina rode past, she noted that the windows were dark and the orange trees in the garden were beginning to wither. Despite her curiosity, she did not linger there.
Orsina dismounted in front of the tavern and tied Star, the gray Vesoldan mare that had been her mount for the last four years. The children were upon her in a moment, asking thousands of questions simultaneously. Was she a paladin? Was she from the Order of the Sun? Had she ever spoken to Iolar? Or one of the other gods? Was she from Bergavenna? Had she ever killed a dragon? A demon? A chaos god?
Orsina answered the questions as best she could, but she wasn’t even sure if the children heard her replies. Finally, a man stepped out onto the front steps of the tavern, drawn by the noise.
“Here, leave the poor woman alone!” he yelled to the children. “Go on, back to your chores. Get!”
The children backed away reluctantly, and Orsina gave the man a grateful smile. He smiled back, but she could see the tension in his shoulders and the fear in his eyes. He did not want her here.
“Do you have a room?” asked Orsina. “I was hoping to stay the night.”
“Just the one. It’s not much, though,” he glanced at her armor. “Count Doriano’s manor is only a day’s ride from here. If you hurry, you might be there before dark, and not have to sleep on a straw mattress—and don’t tell anyone I said so, but his wine is better, too.”
“I have endured worse than straw mattresses,” said Orsina pleasantly, wondering if the man would outright refuse to serve her. But instead, he turned back and yelled into the tavern.
“Benigo!” he called. “See to the Dame Paladin’s horse, and bring her bags upstairs.”
A young child, probably the man’s son, rushed out to take Star’s lead. Orsina let him do his work and went inside.
The tavern was nearly empty, save for a few old grandfathers sharing stories. When they saw her, their conversations ended abruptly. Orsina looked around, taking in the ancient wooden furniture and dust collecting in the corners. Open windows let in the midday sunlight, and a massive empty stone fireplace took up the entire north wall.
“It is an honor, Dame Paladin,” said the tavern-keeper, speaking too loudly as he moved around the back of the bar and fumbled for a tankard. “What brings you to Soria?”
The question was innocently posed, the sort of question anyone might ask a strange traveler. But it was well known that paladins from the Order of the Sun were forbidden to tell lies. The tavern-keeper wanted to know how much she suspected, how much she knew.
The old men were all watching her as well, their filmy eyes locked on her.
“I am in search of a prophecy,” said Orsina. “Two years ago, my Baron, Casmiro of Melidrie, received a vision from Iolar. I was informed that Iolar meant for me to leave Melidrie immediately and defeat a great evil. I obeyed, of course, and have been in search of it ever since.”
The tavern-keeper looked uncomfortable. “And you believe that evil is here?” he asked uneasily, his eyes darting back to the old men.
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