ALLEGIANCE SWORN

Reviews

 

Copyright © 2009-2014 Kylie Griffin

RT Magazine (April 2013 - 4 stars HOT): The third outing in Griffin’s rousing Light Blade series provides readers with a breathtakingly strong and dedicated heroine willing to fight and sacrifice for her people. Griffin keeps the tension running high as the world she created heads ever closer to war. This is a series that is definitely improving with age!



From Night Owl Reviews (5 stars): Although this is the first book of this series that I have read I was instantly hooked. The characters were all so likable and I loved the chemistry between the main characters which changed and grew through the book.



Booktopia’s Romance Buzz Magazine: The third book in the Light Blade series starts right in the thick of the action. Arek Barrial is destined for the slave market when he's picked up by a Na'Reish clan whose leader has him questioning everything he believes-and hates-about demons.


Imhara is playing a dangerous political game. Unbeknownst to other Na'Riesh, Imhara follows the Old Ways, without any of the prejudice expected of her kind. But she's under pressure to marry, and doing so would mean losing control of her clan. She has no choice but to risk everything to preserve her people's way of life. 


As a Light Blade warrior, Arek would be Imhara's best weapon, but he's deeply suspicious of the Na'Reish. (If you've read the previous books, you'll know why!) It's up to her to convince Arek that she is worthy of his trust. For Arek, helping Imhara could provide him the best chance of killing Savyr, leader of all the demon clans.


We don't get nearly enough romances where the heroine is in a much more powerful position than the hero, and this book shows that it can definitely work. It's also really hot! Arek has to defer to Imhara-he's in her world now, and he quickly realises that his actions affect not just himself but others under Imhara's protection-but he is never subservient. There's something oh, so delicious about a hero forced to show restraint.


If you're new to the Light Blade series, there's enough backstory in Allegiance Sworn to get the gist of the series arc, but you'll have a better appreciation for the external plot if you've read the previous books.



Riverina Romantics (5/5 rating): To say I was blown away by this book is an understatement. This was everything I love about a romance novel and more. All the necessities were there--captivating story, amazing characters, hot sex—but what I wasn’t expecting was the depth and entrancement of the world this book took place in. I felt like I was in a completely different existence where I not only feared for the characters, but I feared for myself as a human being. It’s very rare for book to have such a phenomenal world where it engrosses me so completely that I am taken away by it. Hands-down, the world alone is amazing.


In just like the world, the characters captured me to. Arek was like crack to me. I couldn’t get enough of him. Everything about him called to me as a woman and damn it was amazing! He had a loyalty that I don’t think we’ll ever be matched by anyone. Was so dedicated to his mission, to his beliefs, to his hatred that he was such a strong character. He never backed down from a challenge. He used them to make him better. Everything that was thrown at him he tried his best to adapt and overcome. Throughout the course of the story, not only was he tested, but he overcame a prejudice so ingrained in him that it turned his entire universe upside down. He grew so much as a man during his time with Imhara and her people. He started seeing things in a new light. And his attraction to Imhara, which in the beginning disgusted and horrified him, turned into such a deep understanding that his love for her was untouchable.


Imhara was an amazingly strong heroine, she had to be. Being deceitful and hiding right under the noses of though she despised is a difficult thing to do, especially as the only female clan leader in a hierarchy that is all men. And she was not like the others of her kind, and had the most difficult time trying to convince Arek of that. But she never gave up. She completely understood were his hatred of her and her people came from. She took everything is a came to her. She showed him she was different, and she let her people show them they were different. She surrounded him in this world that he had only begun to experience for himself. But in order to protect him, she had to keep him close— so close that he ends up not only becoming a reliable friend, but a passion and all-consuming love for. They were connected in a way so intricately, so destined to be, but they were overwhelmed and locked together by the love in their hearts.


Words honestly cannot express how much I loved this book. Everything was so incredibly deep that I felt it to the depths of my soul and then some. I was consumed by the characters, by the world, but the purest of love between them. My heart broke when there’s did. I held my breath and they did. I felt like I was living the story with some, and I treasured every single moment of it.



My Book Chatter (5 stars): I thought I knew what was going to happen in this, the third installment of The Light Blade series. I thought I knew where this story was going, where the twists and turns would take me - oh how wrong was I!


Forget all you think you know when reading Allegiance Sworn, because Kylie Griffin has changed it up; her characters take a direction that I didn't see coming and it's an adventurous ride indeed! From start to finish, I experienced the gamut of emotions, my preconceived ideas of this book obliterated with every turn of the page.


I didn't take any notes while reading Allegiance Sworn but I did write a rather fangirly email to the author once I was finished! So to give you an idea of how I was feeling, here's a small snippet of that gleeful email...


"You have kept me up late into the night, (I'm currently inhaling coffee to stay awake lol!!) you have dashed my hopes of stealing Arek away from Imhara!! and you have left me wanting more!!! I can not believe I have to wait until who-knows-when to find out what comes next!! You, Miss Kylie are a gigantic tease LOL!!!"


Embarrassingly, you can see I was and still am, very emotionally invested in these characters and I have been blown away with the sheer honesty and believability that Kylie is able to bring to them, most especially in Allegiance Sworn. Kylie's writing is smooth, enveloping and addictive, leaving me in a state of book withdrawal that has yet to be slated.


A fantastic continuation of a story that has well and truly captured my heart.



The Window Seat on a Rainy Day: I think that there is a clear pattern in series books. Either Book One or Book Two get bogged down in world building. Fortunately, by Book Three everything is usually full steam ahead! Allegiance Sworn is the third book in the Light Blade series - full steam! :)


Arek Barrial has had a rough year. He found out he had a demon half sister, his grandfather tried to kill said half sister (who is together with his best friend), he was part of a botched rescue mission where many of his friends were hurt, and to top it all off, he was captured by the demons himself while still trying hard to process all of this. When the demon traders finally sell him, it is to a most unusual woman. One so unexpected, that poor Arek can't even begin to trust her or the world she says her people live in.


Imhara Kaal is the leader of her very isolated Clan. Though the isolation may have some bad side effects, it has allowed her and her people to create a utopia of sorts where human, demon, and half breeds live peacefully and equally in the Old Ways. When her Second, Rassan, realizes that one of the slaves offered up for sale is a Light Blade warrior, he chooses him to be one of the many slaves that Imhara will buy and free. Arek will become integral to Imhara's plan to overthrow Savyr - the demon leader - and to try to make peace between humans and demons so that all can live like her people. All that Rassan and Imhara have to do is a lifetime of learning, brainwashing, and preconceived notions and get Arek to trust in them and their vision. Never mind overthrowing the leader... that will be easy compared to convincing Arek...


I loved the story in this book. The way that Arek, Imhara, and even Rassan, went about their plans was just about perfect. The pacing was great and I loved all three main characters (Rassan next, please?) A few times along the way, I was getting impatient - come on Arek, trust her already and move things along... But even as I would say that in my head, I knew I was wrong. Arek was well written. He NEEDED to not cave in as fast as I wanted him to! :) If he had, it would have been a much bigger complaint of him moving totally out of character. Given the situation that Arek and Imhara found themselves in, the fact that lust came first was perfect and the length of time it took Arek to move from willing to try to full trust was appropriate.


I also loved Imhara. She was an incredibly strong female and she was a great character. Neither character overshadowed the other and they worked great as a team once the cards were all on the table, so to speak. But... come on, you heard it coming, right? Something was missing in their relationship. There wasn't much romance to the two of them. Even though there were some pretty hot sex scenes and in the end it all came together, the two were not really romantic. Having said my but, I will say that it seems right for their characters that they weren't necessarily tender towards one another...ever. So while it was written well and the characters were consistent, I will say that I missed some of the more tender sides of the romance that was such a part of the first two in the series.


The story was great and I devoured it. Though I was disappointed in the lack of Romance (with a capital R), I can't call it a flaw. In fact, it is almost a strength. Griffin has shown she can write a variety of couples and characters and she doesn't force them all to fit into a mold. That's good.... but I did still miss it! I am very much hoping that there will be a fourth book in the Light Blade series (again, Rassan.... please?) and if there is, it will definitely be on my anxiously awaited list!



Mrs Clare’s Books: I've got a very special review today of Kylie Griffin's Allegiance Sworn. This is book 3 in her spectacular Light Blade series. This is a special review, because the book doesn't come out until next Tuesday, April 2nd.


One of the perks of working in a library means you sometimes get book releases before they come out. You should have seen me on Friday when I opened a book box and found this! I was literally jumping up and down with excitement. And it turned out it was for very good reason!


***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read Alliance Forged, don't keep reading. There may be spoilers from the end of the book.


Poor Arek Barial (former second to the Lady's Chosen) has been taken hostage by a group of Na'Reish slave traders during a failed attempt on a blood raid. From what we know of him and his hostility towards the demon race, this is a fate worse than death. When Arek ends up in Imhara's fortress, it is impossible for him to believe that Na'esih, Na'Chi (half-demons, half human) and humans are all living together in peace and equality. Arek must decide whether to hold on to his hatred and resentment, or give it up and work with Imhara towards a common goal. And if they happen to not be able to keep their hands off each other in the mean time? I guess we'll just have to suffer through it. Or enjoy every second. Either way ;-)


Before I read Allegiance Sworn, I thought that it wasn't possible for anyone to be hotter than Varian. Oh boy, was I wrong. "Clean and clothed, he caught her eye. Now she couldn't look away. The morning sunlight angling in from the windows caught the dips and hollows of his body, outlining every smooth line and heavy curve of muscle along his bare shoulders and chest. Her gaze followed the fine dusting of blond hair as it arrowed down his ridged abdomen then disappeared beneath the waistband of his breeches" (Page 86). I think I re-read that part about 5 times and then had to cool myself off. Can you say hot, hot, HOT?! Arek may just be THE hottest novel character I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Maybe it's because on top of all his manliness, he is only human, so it is believable that there could be such a man out there. Either way, yum!


I have to say, Allegiance Sworn was different than I thought it would be. For the most part, I could see where the story was going, but what I didn't expect was the emotion in this story. For some reason, Arek and Imhara's story just grabbed me by the heart and yanked. I felt their pain and loss and I understood what motivated them. They came from the same place and never were two people more suited to each other. In having a discussion with another librarian, I couldn't describe just how emotional this book was for me. It was so much deeper than the first two, I just wasn't expecting it. And the ending had me feeling desolate and alone and heartbroken. Needless to say, it was amazing. Never have I felt such a range of emotions while reading a book. When they hurt, I hurt. When they were touched, I was touched. When they felt empty, I felt empty. It was just profound. I loved it. So, thank you, Kylie. No one has ever done that to me before.


From Book’d Out: I was delighted when I discovered Kylie Griffin to be an Australian author writing in the paranormal fantasy genre. Published by Berkley in the US (and distributed by Penguin in Australia), Allegiance Sworn is the third book in Griffin’s Light Blade series featuring the conflict between a brutal demonkind called the Na’Reish and the Light Blade warriors who protect the human race.

In Vengeance Born we were introduced to Annika, the half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish king desperate to escape her father’s cruel regime. When a Light Blade warrior, Kalan, is captured during a demon ambush, Annika offers to free him in exchange for sanctuary in the human territory. To escape the Na’Reish and overcome the Council objections, the pair must learn to trust each other with their lives, and their hearts.

In Alliance Forged Kalan and Annika are stunned when a party of Na’Chi, half-bloods just like Annika, appear at Sacred Lake seeking refuge, and offering an alliance in the coming war against the Na’Reish. While the Lady, the human’s deity, has told temple priestess Kymora that the coalition is vital in order to defeat the Na’Reish, not everyone is willing to put their prejudice aside. Hoping to promote acceptance of the Na’Chi, Kymora offers to work closely with them and their fierce leader, Varian but when rebel Light Blades attack the camp the fragile treaty is in danger of collapsing. In order to ensure it survives, Kymora must convince Varian to trust her, and himself.

In Allegiance Sworn, war is imminent and during a Na’Reish attack in human territory, Light Blade warrior, Arek is captured. Sold on as a blood slave, Arek would rather die than serve a Na’Reish but Clan-leader Imhara Kaal surprises him. She is an advocate for the Old Ways and wants to put an end to the Na’Reish King’s plans for war. Arek isn’t sure he can trust the she-demon but unless he learns to, he risks losing everything.

Set in an imaginative world where humans and demons are on the brink of war, Griffin combines romance, action, intrigue and magic in each book of her Light Blade series. I eagerly read one after another, enjoying an escape into the fantasy of warriors and heroines falling in love and fighting for peace.

The Na’Reish are a demon race with characteristics not unlike vampires in that they feed from from humans. They treat humans much like cattle and despise the Na’Chi, mixed bloods, who are usually killed at birth. They live in clans and fight amongst themselves for power and status but are led by a King, Savyr.

The humans live in a feudal type society, led by the Council of Light Blades who respects the teachings of the Lady, their deity. Some humans are blessed with abilities that vary including the power to heal, and in the case of some Light Blade warriors, the power to kill with a touch.

Griffin has done a wonderful job of developing the political and social structure of both societies over the three books and teasing out the intriguing connection between them. The world is detailed, vivid and interesting, with elements that are both familiar and unique.

I love that we don’t lose touch with characters even as the books moves on. In Allegiance Sworn, Annika, Kalan, Kymora and Varian all have roles to play though Arek and Imhara are the featured couple.

Trust is always a major obstacle to love between Griffin’s pairings, and in Allegiance Sworn, Arek, a Light Blade warrior whose mother was killed by the Na’Reish, struggles with believing Imhara is not the blood thirsty, violent creature he is familiar with. To survive, Imhara must make an ally of Arek but earning his trust is a difficult task, complicated by the attraction that grows between them.

While the books in the Light Blade series feature romance there is plenty of action, adventure and intrigue to entertain the reader. Corruption in the Council, secret enclaves of Na’Chi, skirmishes between enemies and the impending war creates scenes of tension and excitement.

This is a fantasy series that offers more than romance and I have really enjoyed the first three books of the Light Blade. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Kylie Griffin and she told me she has around four more books planned to finish out the series. I hope that we see them on the shelves soon.