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REVIEW: Lightborn by Alison Sinclair

REVIEW SUMMARY: This book, the second in a trilogy, focuses on intrigue within and between the Darkborn and Lightborn courts. It is a political thriller heavily laced with magic.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Tensions are rising between the Darkborn and the Lightborn. Do they have the strength for a historic alliance to save their world?

PROS: Fascinating magical system; political intrigue; all the action of a thriller.
CONS: The social stratification seems much like an English Regency court and is a little irritating at times. The action in the book follows so closely on the heels of Darkborn that it’s a mixed blessing. I want book three!
BOTTOM LINE: The action, political intrigue, and magical plotting draws the reader deeper into the world of the Darkborn and Lightborn.

Darkborn, the first book in the trilogy, began the action with a study of the players and their personal relationships. Lightborn extends the story out further, and takes the intrigue into the larger world of Minhorne and the Darkborn and Lightborn courts.

Lady Telmaine Hearne is a major player. Forced, in Darkborn, to acknowledge her magical ability in order to save her family – she is now called upon to assist a Darkborn government agent with his own agenda. The Darkborn do not appreciate mages out of their “place” in society, and Telmaine is torn between doing what she knows to be right and what she feels to be proper. Telmaine’s struggle to reconcile this recalls much of the English Regency court novels.

Floria White Hand, a Lightborn assassin, is on the run. In the service of the young Prince Fejelis, she is forced to flee to the Darkborn archduke for sanctuary after the manner in which the young prince came to power is cast into doubt. Before her flight, she is able to secure the young prince his most valuable ally: a ‘sport’ mage called Tammorn.

The city has been cast into chaos, and someone is intelligent enough to realize that the players are skillfully being maneuvered like chess pieces. The opening salvos in a war are fired before Tammorn, Fejelis, and Telmaine realize that this is exactly what someone meant to happen.

The action happens fast in Lightborn. Tammorn senses Telmaine’s magic, and mistakes her for an enemy. His attempt to neutralize her inadvertently sends all of them straight into enemy hands. The Darkborn spymaster, who is rife with his own issues, rescues Telmaine from certain death and takes her away with him as his personal guard as they work to secure the safety of the land.

At the close of Lightborn, everyone is moving. Prince Fejelis and Tammorn are on the move. Telmaine and her spymaster are on the move. Floria White Hand is back in the Lightborn palace, attempting to discover what happened, and to whom. The set-up indicates that Telmaine’s husband, Balthasar, and her first teacher, Ish, will resurface in Shadownborn, the trilogy’s final entry.

This review was difficult to write, as it essentially discusses the middle of a story. Know that this book will pick you up, draw you into the world of the Darkborn and Lightborn, and make you want to stay.

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