I grew up reading fantasy and I have a weakness for the fantasy books of the 1980s and early 90s written by women. Books like The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. These were fantasy adventure quests with a spice of romance. Vengeance Born fits into this tradition but adds a touch more romance.
The world building is good (including a twist I didn’t anticipate — no spoilers!). The characters and their motivations are clear. The writing is smooth, never jerking me out of the world Kylie creates.
The book’s strongest theme is prejudice: suffering it, confronting it, destroying it. There is a happy ending (believe me, I’d warn you if there weren’t. I insist on happy ever after), but there’s no rainbows and kittens dreaming. The happiness is earned and will continue to be fought for. I think that realism is what makes the fantasy world work.
There’s also an interesting spin on the fantasy tale because of the significant role the Lady’s religion plays in events. This is difficult to discuss and keep to my self-imposed rule of no spoilers. It’s definitely intriguing in how religion is used to define groups and impact the action (and that’s as much as I can say).
This is a well put together quest story with a clear cast of characters. Enjoy.
[Kylie is a fellow member of Romance Writers of Australia.]