A review by Vanessa.
First of all I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to continue reviewing this fantastic series. Goldenfire is the second installment of the Darkhaven series, the first of which I reviewed last year in July.
Spoiler alert! If you have not read the first book I strongly suggest it!
Ayla Nightshade has ruled over Arkannen and all of Mirrorvale for the past three years since the death of her father and brother. Her rescuer and lover Tomas Caraway is Captain of the Helm, leader of the guard that protects her. As a Changer creature, Ayla has strength unlike any human being. But with the recent discovery of firearms and their deadly effects, threats to the Nightshade line have become palpable. Despite that, Ayla is determined to live her life and rule her land in a fair and just way, and undo the cruel reign of her father. Most of all she wants to enjoy her new found freedoms to do as she wants, and to love whom she wants. Even so, the tragic and terrifying events of three years past are still with her. Tomas plays surrogate father to Ayla’s young nephew Marlon, but to her he is a painful reminder of her older brother. Ayla, who refuses to be at the mercy of anyone ever again, has convinced Tomas to train her in fighting and combat so that she can defend herself even in human form. Every day Ayla wonders about her young half brother, if she will ever see him again, and what will become of the Nightshade line.
Tomas Caraway never wanted to be the hero of Darkhaven. But he believes his desire to serve the Nightshade line, and to protect the woman who holds his heart, makes him the best man to Captain the Helm. When he receives a message from an old mercenary friend that tells of a real threat of assassination for Ayla, he knows in his gut that it is real. He will doing anything necessary to protect Ayla, whether she wants it or not. In Arkannen, a ragtag band of miscreants have arrived at the fifth ring to try their hand at becoming Helmsman. As the Captain this means Tomas will be busy with training, and a few surprises from the group. As Ayla’s protector he also knows that group is the perfect place for an assassin to try to infiltrate Darkhaven. And if the assassin finds a way to bring a gun to that fight, Ayla might not stand a chance.
Once again Smith delivers a wonderfully varied cast of characters to fall in love with, root for, and distrust. It’s a delightful mix of new characters, and repeat characters, as well as the chance to get to know some previous characters more thoroughly. The addition of the new recruits gives some significantly more in depth understanding of the people of Mirrorvale. Each of the young trainees is there for their own reasons, and readers will be able to dive into and enjoy their experiences and perspectives as much as those of the main characters. The leading romantic couple, Ayla and Tomas, have grown so much and still maintain an interesting point of romantic entanglement without dragging down the movement of the story. Even the adventurous mercenary Naeve Sorrow carries some of the action in the story and her part is woven into the rest in seamless intrigue. New characters to love, new mysteries to solve, and even more to learn about the fascinating city of Arkennan. Well done!
My rating: 5/5 stars.
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