Thursday, July 27, 2017

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan


Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders. 

Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can't usurp her brother or negotiate a peace--but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.

But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara's conscience won't let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.

She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes...

The Warprize



It’s hard to write reviews for books that I like. I don’t know why that is but although I’m perfectly capable of describing my thoughts when I don’t like something, if I have to talk about why I did like a book I just… go blank. So just a heads up, this review will most likely be short.

When I decided I wanted to review books based on their tropes, I started with enemies to lovers because that’s one of my favorites. However, I knew from the beginning that sometimes it wouldn’t be much fun because this trope can easily be turned into “girl falls in love with abusive douchebag” and that’s it. This is basically what happened with my first read, The Queen of All that Dies so I was a bit reluctant to start a new book fearing it would be the same again.

Warprize (luckily for me) is pretty much everything I like about the “enemies to lovers” trope. Don’t get me wrong, the book is not perfect, but it does present a nice relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. It also has some interesting concepts about cultures merging which… admittedly could have been dealt with better but it wasn’t horrible.

So, long story short; Lara is the princess of a conquered Kingdom. Their enemy’s warlord requests as part of the peace agreement for Lara to be his warprize. Unbeknown to her, her half-brother and King (and little shit) has already agreed to this without her consent, so Lara faces the choice of running away thus breaking the King’s promise and angering the Warlord (who is known to attack those Kingdoms that break their agreement) or go with the Firelanders, leave her life as a healer behind and live as a slave. Lara choses to be his warprize, though obviously not very happily.

What I really liked about the relationship between Lara and Kier was how respectful it was, especially considering how different their customs and their peoples’ were. Lara is obviously terrified, but Keir never tries to force himself or his ideas on her. When he sees she doesn’t want to be touched he immediately stops, never asks why or tries to convince her otherwise. When he learns that she’s “untouched” aka a virgin, unlike women in his culture who have sex way before they decide to bond with someone (if they decide they even want to) he again doesn’t try to convince her that it’s wrong, or weird or anything, he simply nods and doesn’t ask questions. 

This was something I loved because it showed a lot about Keir and his people. They are not conquerers, killing and taking territories for their own gain. They are people who want to learn from others, they want to merge their culture, learn all they can without imposing on them and thus be stronger. Lara is surprised at first and she compares it with her own culture, she’s confused because she was told she was basically sold as a sex slave to a monster and yet the guy is completely respecting, understanding and demands nothing of her. I liked seeing the comparisons between both people, though I did have a few issues with Lara. Her culture is obviously more closeted and unlike the Firelanders in their desire to learn from others, and that showed on Lara. I liked that she tried her best not to judge, to be open minded but she was just so… righteous. As a healer she is convinced that she should try her hardest so that her patients survive, but even when they don’t want to. The Firelanders have a different outlook on this and Lara never overcame the idea that she was right and they were wrong on giving their friends honorable deaths.

Another thing that sometimes confused me about Lara was that her characterization could be a bit flimsy. One minute she’s a slave terrified of even going outside her tent out of fear because she wasn’t told she could, the next she’s yelling at people, bossing them around and saying she’ll kill them if they don’t help the injured which… I get she wants to give the men medical care but how do you go from being afraid to step out of line to telling people what to do? She would go back and forth between these two moods and it was confusing, to say the least.

At one point I was afraid that the book would go with the “dark-skinned-agressor” trope with the Firelanders, but fortunately that never happened!

To sum up, Warprize is a nice love story with a very respectful male lead and some interesting ideas on cultures-clashing.

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