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    Exciting 2nd part of this trilogy!

    Oria’s Gambit is the second part of the three part Sorcerous Moons trilogy by Jeffe Kennedy. It’s not meant to be read as a standalone, as it continues directly from where the first part, Lonen's War, ended (not on a cliffhanger, but with the knowledge that the story is unresolved). The Destrye and the Bara have just fought a bitter war over water, that the Destrye won. But their victory is hollow when they find themselves being attacked by a third party, the Trom, summoned by someone in the defeated Baran society. As the new King of the Destrye, Lonen’s only hope is to form a marriage alliance with Princess Oria of the Bara. They had a workable relationship when the Bara surrendered to the Destrye, and Lonen hopes that a formal alliance will put an end to any future bloodshed. Oria is in agreement. Though a marriage to Lonen is not what she’d hoped for, her people come first. Oria is a unique and powerful sorceress. Yet she can’t bear the touch of someone who has no control of their emotions, the ability to control their ‘hwil’, and this seems to doom her to a marriage in name only with Lonen. The fate of both their peoples rests on their union. The story is richly detailed with the kind of worldbuilding I expect in an epic fantasy, building on the knowledge of the societies and magic structure that was revealed in Lonen’s War. The Bara are a spiritual and magical people, naming the male and female magical abilities after the two moons that rise and set over their world. The females draw power inward, called sgath, and use it to fuel the male power, grien, which is displayed outwardly in constructive or destructive ways. An ideal temple match sees a male and female of equal strength joined together to become stronger. Oria had always hoped for this, but instead, she has resolved herself to a union with King Lonen, a smart and physically strong man with no magic power whatsoever as a member of the Destrye. Oria can read Lonen’s mind and feel his emotions, but he must rely on his wits and intelligence to ‘read’ Oria, a feat which he does admirably well considering his lack of magic. That Oria can wield the male half of Baran power is a closely guarded secret that could get her killed, but one she shares with Lonen, her new mate. They are clearly attracted to each other, and must find ways to express this attraction without touching skin on skin. This results in some inventive lovemaking that is still pretty steamy and gives Lonen much masculine satisfaction to be able to satisfy his new bride. The Trom are still a problem though and only Oria with her dual powers seems to have the key to communicating with them, without fear of death. Oria’s familiar Chuffta, a small dragon ,adds some humour to the story with his telepathic dialogue with Oria. Chuffta thinks Lonen will be a good match for her and never hesitates to express his opinions. Things are left a bit tense at the end of this part and I can’t wait to see the resolution to this wholly entertaining fantasy romance!
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