Xander began to circle Aowyn. She watched him, poised and ready. He swung his blade, and Aowyn met it midair. The steel clanged. She rounded and got Xander across his back with the flat of her sword. He stumbled forward. Some of his men cheered and laughed. Xander steadied himself and swung again. Steel sang against steel.
Aowyn sidestepped and blocked another blow. She swung quickly, but Xander deflected the attack. She remembered the times her brothers had allowed her to fight with them. She racked her brain in search of their tricks.
Xander tensed as their swordplay continued. Aowyn breathed and relaxed. She had been taught that tension slows the body. What she lacked in strength, she made up for in speed.
Aowyn moved quickly, felling two blows against Xander. He lost his balance, and she landed her foot in his thigh. Xander rolled into the mud and gave her a roguish grin.
After the princess Aowyn‘s mother, Queen Sulwen, passes the handmaiden Ciatlllait is seducing the two oldest sons and the King himself. One night the woman turns all of Aowyn’s brothers into swans and while trying to protect them and her father, she needs to find a way for her to break the curse put on her brothers. But while this is going on Lord Rab plans to take over The Summer Isle, where Aowyn lives, and sends his two sons Bannock and Xander with an army to crush the weakened King Aodhagáin.
This is the second book in the series by Ann Hunter and we get to learn about how Aowyn and Xander met and how their love came to grow. It’s a very nice follow to the first book, but makes the prologue in The Subtle Beauty so much sadder, as Aowyn dies as Xander tries to save both his son and his wife when Eoghan isn’t born. We also learn that Xander has a very heavy sense of responsibility, which is what causes him to seek out Sylas Mortas in the first book when he learns he is to have a son.
But being a story where love conquers all, it gets a bit… Okay, it gets VERY fairy tale-y. Considering it’s based on The Six Swans (although according to the subtitle The Swan Princess) it does make sense, but it could have been executed a little bit better.
The pacing is almost as bad as the previous book. Very slow. At least for about a quarter of the book. After that the pacing improves and it felt more natural in flow. Only to get really weird after about 60%. The characters aren’t as one-dimensional as in the first book of the series, so overall the author improved from one book to the other. Aowyn’s love grows as time passes, so if we compare Glory and Aowyn, it definitely felt more natural. Xander, on the other hand, fell for Aowyn the moment he laid eyes on her.
Overall I would say this book is a huge improvement compared to the previous book in the series and it’s actually almost decent. I had some really good laughs and it’s not so long it’s sickening sweet with love. So yeah… an almost decent read. Not really recommended, but if you’re interested you can get Moonlight here. If nothing else for the time Aowyn picks up a sword. Or just a weapon. She’s a pretty badass heroine, actually.
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