ARC Review: The Priestess
by The Diva: Reader, Writer, Mom, Occasional Reviewer/Blogger
I’ll go ahead and admit I was a mega-fan of Aerdrin’s story and I’ve been waiting for a follow up to The Star Prophecy with a mix of anticipation and dread. See, when I love a book, I always assume the sequel is going to suck and somehow taint the original book with its failure to measure up. Not so, in this case, I rejoice! I have Post Traumatic Sequel Syndrome ever since each successive Mortal Instruments installment made me angrier than the last (I may have been caught referring to the second to last book in that series as City of Horny Teens because I could no longer be bothered to learn the titles). Fortunately, the Daughters of Prophecy suffer no such indignity. I mean no insult to the original book, which I liked so well I forced my husband to read it, when I say that I loved the Priestess even better!
See, I’m a romance reader and historicals with strong heroines are my catnip, while the hubs is an epic fantasy/sci-fi man. The Star Prophecy had something for us both. He appreciated the world building and the mythology and action. I liked Kaid. There, I said it. The whole book was good but for me it was about Kaid, The Throne Prince of Hotness.
In the sequel, picking up after the Star saved Tahlendor (forgive me I cannot spell fantasy words for shit). One of her compatriots, a Sister of the Star and warrior magic girl, Gloriana needs to escape a scandal. She got caught with her pants down, or a slightly more genteel version thereof, with a man she had no wish to marry. Aerdrin, in a welcome cameo proving she’s as loyal a friend as she is a kickass powerwielder, provides a well-timed out of town assignment for Gloriana. She’s to take Awesome Sidekick of Brilliant Snarkitude Milleth and go figure out what the hell is going on at Forest Gate.
Weird things have occurred, evil is gathering and so forth. Allow me to skim over some plot points and say: Micah. He is the epic fantasy love interest version of the hot handyman or hot cowboy. If you enjoy manly men who work with their hands and have shoulders from paradise under all that flannel (wait, what? I’m not supposed to have lumberjack fantasies about Micah?), he’s your guy. A tad less honor-and-duty than Kaid and more gun-shy for Traumatic Past Relationship Reasons, Micah is a grown sexy man who isn’t looking for love and tries as hard as he can not to find it.
Gloriana as a character is a revelation. She is strong but not in the mother-goddess-virgin-mary-esque way that Aerdrin was. She’s earthier and more flawed and has a dignity and an ownership of her actions that make her the rarest of all rare heroines—a true woman. Not a flirtatious girl or a callow ingénue, but a complete individual secure in her own strength and determination. She can do everything from making herbal tinctures to killing dangerous magical beasts. She saves kids, hell, she saves entire villages! She’s a badass warrior and lover who makes me beg for sequels even after I got my HEA!
The stakes are real—Gloriana has to prove herself as more than a lightskirt with some magical abilities and Micah has to trust her enough to give her his heart when he has every reason not to believe his own judgement in the face of past hurts—and they have an entire forest and town to save from some pretty nasty evil that’s encroaching. It’s exciting, romantic and a great escapist adventure.
The Priestess reads as a standalone or as a spectacular follow up to the Star Prophecy. I liked it even more than the original. I may have read it twice already, but I’d never admit to it!