Published: May 1st 2014 by HarperVoyager
Format: Paperback, 480 pages
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Some things are broken beyond mending ...
Grievously wounded in battle, Isidro's life hangs in the balance - but the only person who can help him is the man he can never trust. Sierra is desperate to rebuild shattered bonds with her old friends, but with Isidro incontrovertibly changed and her own wounds still fresh, things can never be as they once were.
Burdened by all he's done at Kell's command, Rasten knows he cannot atone for the horrors of his past. But when their enemies in Akhara follow Cam's small clan back to Ricalan, carrying a thirst for vengeance, the skills Rasten swore he'd renounce may be their only hope for victory ...
I always get sad when I finish a series, and I’ve loved Jo Spurrier’s Children of the Black Sun ever since I read the first book, Winter Be My Shield, so reading this book has been an emotional experience.
Our beloved characters have come through a lot in the earlier books, but that’s not stopping Spurrier from really sticking it to them in North Star Guide Me Home. This is a heart-wrenching book. It’s full of passion and love, and copious amounts of heartbreak, some great sacrifices and a lot of pain and blood. I feel the darkness in the story is perfectly balanced with hope and love, and that it’s written incredibly well.
Sierra has changed a lot since we first met her. She’s been hardened by her experiences. She’s stronger, much more powerful, and finally understands the kinds of sacrifices that will be necessary for her to help Cam, Mira and Isidro take back Ricalan. The distance between her and Isidro seems insurmountable now: both are haunted by what they went through at the hands of Blood Mages Kell and Rasten.
I’ve found Isidro’s personal story very compelling in the earlier books, but it was Rasten that moved me in North Star Guide Me Home. His journey broke my heart. His redemption and the horrible things he had to endure for those around him really got to me, especially because of how genuinely he wanted to help.
North Star Guide Me Home shows us how a Ricalan marriage (usually two men and two women) works, with interesting results (for me anyway). It’s already been established that Cam and Mira love each other. Sierra and Isidro have a history. We get to see where Delphine would fit into the scenario in this book and explore the relationship Cam and Sierra would have in such a marriage. I found it interesting, although I still can’t fully wrap my head around the polygamy: I had a hard time understanding how everyone could be sexually attracted to everyone else, and found myself wondering if they draw up timetables for who shares a bed with whom and when. I don’t mean to trivialise the idea, I just personally had a bit of trouble understanding it all. But Spurrier does an amazing job of taking us through it and I think that she successfully shows readers how this kind of marriage would work.
One of the most exciting aspects of the book is that the world expands and we get to experience a few different cultures. We meet the sea-faring people of Tomoa who offer their help and mages to Mira and Cam. They’re nice, and what they’re offering seems too good to be true, so everyone’s on high alert for a betrayal. I love the politics of it all, especially that Mira gets to have such a pivotal role in what is usually a male domain (although Cam did take over a bit).
Jo Spurrier has introduced us to an amazing world and wonderful cast in this series, and I can’t recommend her books highly enough. If you’ve enjoyed Winter Be My Shield and Black Sun Light My Way, there’s no way you can miss North Star Guide Me Home. If you’re a bit sick of all your fantasy being the same basic story, then I urge you to pick up this series and give it a go. I don’t think it will disappoint. Spurrier is on my auto-buy list now, and I’m looking forward to whatever she writes next!