Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Dawnflight by Kim Iverson Headlee

Dawnflight 
by Kim Iverson Headlee
Series: The Dragon's Dove Chronicles #1
Pub. Date:  June 1, 2014
Publisher:  Lucky Bat Books
Pages:  415
Format:  eARC
Source:  Author


My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:


Gyanhumara “Gyan” nic Hymar is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien map Dumarec, a son of her clan’s deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon’s conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything...perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.

Arthur map Uther is the bastard son of two worlds, Roman by his father and Brytoni by his mother. Denied hereditary rulership by the elders of Chieftainess Ygraine’s clan, Arthur has followed Uther’s path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness...most of the time.  

When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul’s mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan’s ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman—but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur’s greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.

A retelling of the Arthurian legend, where the Guinevere character is a fantastic warrior chieftainess of Caledonia. I enjoyed this retelling, though it is by no means a light read. There is a made up language that is somewhat complicated. Note to reader: there is a pronunciation, dictionary and character guide at the rear of the book. Unfortunately I did not find this feature until after I read the book, so it didn't do me much good. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I would have known how to pronounce the words and knew what they referred to. Once I looked through the dictionary, I realized I didn't understand a lot of what I read (though some of it I was able to figure out from context).

In this story, Guinevere is Chieftainess Gyanhumara of Clan Argyll in Caledonia. She was a brilliant swordswoman and I had a perfect picture of this woad-painted warrior in my head. Although in this story she has copper red hair, I really kept seeing her as Keira Knightley's character in King Arthur. I really liked this version of Guinevere. I prefer to see her as the woaded warrior than the lusty wench going between Arthur and his men.

Photo by Chirinstock
Gyan is betrothed to one of Arthur's men, Urien, due to a treaty that came into effect when the Caledonians were defeated by Arthur's troops. Urien is not a nice guy, and Gyan slowly realizes that. Not to mention, the chemistry sparks from her very first meeting with Arthur.

Arthur is portrayed as red-golden haired giant in his Roman uniform with a jeweled sword. He is not yet a king in this story, and there is no round table. He has just defeated Caledonia, and is still battling Scotland. Arthur is handsome and honorable and a strong fighter. I liked his character very much.

Merlin does appear in this story as a bishop and Arthur's advisor. Religion plays a big role in this retelling... Gyan struggles with her pagan religion and there is a lot of talk and legend about the One God, heretics and the varying beliefs across the land. I found the details about custom and religion to be interesting, and overall I liked the story. However, I did not like the made up language. That is just not my thing. It slows down my reading if I am trying to figure out how to pronounce every few words or trying to figure out what they mean. If I had known about the back section before reading, that would have been super helpful.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Dragon Dove Chronicles