Book Review: Dreamer’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland

Posted May 15, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Dreamer’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dreamer's Daughter by Lynn Kurland
Genres: Fantasy
Published by Berkley Books on January 6, 2015
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Dreams of Lilacs, Ever My Love, A Tapestry of Spells, Star of the Morning, The Mage’s Daughter, Princess of the Sword, Dreamspinner, River of Dreams

Ninth in the Nine Kingdoms fantasy series (and the conclusion of this third sub-trilogy) revolving around Gair of Ceangail’s “dead” children. The focus is on Prince Rùnach and Aisling of Bruadair.

My Take

Whoa…lots of unexpected revelations in Dreamer’s Daughter! Okay, okay, some of them are expected. But the bad guys’ reasons for what they’re doing will have you shaking your head in awe…

It did take some time to get through this third adventure of Rùnach and Aisling’s and yet it’s a pleasant read of some warmhearted characters…riding from library to library, seeking solutions or answers. Not necessarily the same thing!

Kurland does have some fun making the gardens of these kingdoms different. Tòrr Dòrainn’s gardens love being of use to the king and queen while Durial’s are sparkling harmonies for those who seek beneath the earth, Cothromaiche offers a simple peace, and Bruadair provides quite the interactive magic…at least when it comes to Aisling.

It’s Kurland’s use of third person dual protagonist point-of-view that allows us to listen to Rùnach continue to lament his egotistical past. Aisling of course continues to bemoan her past. Oopsies, Soilléir gets his own ego punched when Aisling poaches one of his spells out of a dream, lol. He’s also been taking a, slightly, more active interest in events.

It was in River of Dreams, 8, that Rùnach and Aisling find a way to slip into Bruadair. Quite the useful little escape!

Riochdair is a surprising man in his observations. And part of me despises him while yet another part is withholding that judgment. I know. A conundrum.

Those are some excellent thoughts Muinear suggests that Rùnach consider about his family. No kidding!?!! And it certainly makes sense. Lord knows we have all some black sheep in our own families, and yet not all of the relatives are wicked.

For all it’s coziness, the secondary characters are focused on the future and none too worried about how our main characters survive, let alone thrive. Mean bunch!

Poor Aisling has gone from believing neither magic nor elves exist to having to learn to use her magic on the fly as she falls in love with an elven prince.

Oh ho! Kurland is one sneaky woman! At the very end there’s a bit that foreshadows events in the next upcoming sub-trilogy that begins with The White Spell.

The Story

Sent on a quest by a peddler for a mercenary to free her country, Aisling has been through a lot, discovering the lies that she’s been told all her life. The queen’s paintings that reveal how much magic Bruadair has lost over the years. It’s enough to cast a gel into despair.

Worse are the expectations so many others have of her.

Luckily, Rùnach will do all he can to keep her safe.

The Characters

Aisling of Bruadair has always thought she was a simple weaver, sold into servitude to the Weavers Guild by her parents. Seannair gifts her, her own shapechanging horse, Orail, from a breed of rare fillies from the steppes of the Blàraidh Mountains.

Bruadair is…

…quite the secretive country taken over by a usurper, Sglaimir, the grandson of Carach of Mùig, a very evil mage, decades ago. A land where its magic is connected, even as it’s being drained, where spinning is a capital offense. Beul is its grim, grimy capital.

The weaving mistress Muinear had died in Dreamspinner, 7; she’d been as old as Rùnach’s father. Iochdmhor is the bullying Guildmistress and some sort of wizardess. Bristeadh, a.k.a., George, impersonated the Guildmistress’ personal guardsman. And kept Aisling out of her sights as much as possible. Ochadius of Riamh is both peddler and a cousin of Weger’s. Peter is Ochadius’ son. Quinn and the now-imprisoned Euan had been friends of Aisling’s before she fled. Alexandra is the deposed King Frèam‘s niece and a crown princess. Queen Leaghra is Frèam’s wife.

Ciaradh is…
…the dreamspinners’ palace where there is a copy of every book in existence. There are seven dreamspinners normally who provide the weavers with something to weave for more substantial intrusions into the world’s events. The First Dreamspinner holds all the strands together and blends them as called for. Lord Freasdail is the First Dreamspinner’s steward. Uabhann, a.k.a., Dread, gives people nightmares. Literally.

Aisling’s parents are Riochdair (the mayor of Malcte) and his wife, the greedy, mean Dallag, with their five remaining children: David is the youngest.

Rùnach of Ceangail, a.k.a., Master Buck, is the second oldest son of a black mage and an elven princess whose magic has been restored and his scars lessened. Iteach is the shapechanging horse gifted to Rùnach by Grandfather Sgath. His sword was made by Ceardach of Léige.

Rùnach’s Family Background

Rùnach’s mother was Princess Sarait of Tòrr Dòrainn with grand plans to stop her odious husband, Gair. Rùnach’s six siblings include Mhorghain “Morgan” who married Miach a few months ago (Dreamspinner). Ruithneadh “Ruith” is his youngest brother who married Sarah of Doire who can spin and See (A Tapestry of Spells, 4; Spellweaver, 5; and, Gift of Magic, 6; she’s also Leaghra’s niece). Keir was their oldest brother (Princess of the Sword, 3). Gille is another brother.

Lake Cladach is…
…where the fisherman prince Sgath of Ainneamh and Eulasaid of Camanaë who are Rùnach’s maternal grandparents (Gair’s parents) prefer living. Eulasaid’s battles against Lothar of Wychweald are legendary!

Tòrr Dòrainn is…
…the elven kingdom of Sìle, his paternal grandfather who is quite proud and arrogant; Brèagha is his easygoing, artistic grandmother who gave Aisling copies of her paintings of Bruadair in its magical heyday. The beautiful and lovely Seanagarra is the name of Sìle’s palace. Còir is Làidir’s second son who gave them a rune of opening.

Ainneamh is…
…is yet another elven kingdom where Rùnach has a possible claim.

Cothromaiche is…
…on the border with Bruadair and is the kingdom from which Léir Soilléir, Aisling’s and Sarah’s cousin, hails. He is a master mage who holds the spells of essence changing — as well as the fop from Dreamspinner! Inntrig is the palace and seat of power. The snooty Princess Annastashia had been betrothed to Rùnach twenty years ago. Astar is Annastashia’s brother and his grandfather’s best spy. Their father is the second son of the current king, Seannair.

Durial is…
…the kingdom of the dwarves and is ruled by King Uachdaran from the rock-solid city of Léige who helped Aisling restore Rùnach’s magic.

Neroche is…
…a kingdom ruled by King Mochriadhemiach “Miach” of Neroche with his new queen, Morgan (Star of the Morning, 1; The Mage’s Daughter, 2; and, Princess of the Sword). Mansourah is one of Miach’s brothers. Ceana is the king’s spinner.

The University of Lismòr was…
…founded by Nicholas, the former wizard king of Diarmailt who had been married to one of Sìle’s daughters (and a sister to Sarait), which makes him Rùnach’s uncle. He gave Rùnach a spell of clarity.

Goghann is…
…where Scrymgeour Weger has his school of swordsmanship.

Captain Burke and his ship carried Aisling and Rùnach to Melksham Island.

Buidseachd, Beinn òrain, is…
…an intimidating and solid-looking mages school where Rùnach had been in hiding, as Soilléir’s servant.

Ruamharaiache’s well is…
…where it all ended for Gair of Ceangail, an evil, black mage and Rùnach’s father. Fionne, a.k.a., Mother Fàs or the witchwoman of Fàs had been Gair’s mistress. Acair is her youngest son.

Magic in the Nine Kingdoms includes Croxteth, the elvish Fadaire, Camanaë, Wexham, and Sìorraidh, which is of Bruadair.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a dream in pastels from the deepish cornflower blue sky in the left upper corner gradating diagonally to a pale yellow sky in the lower right. It’s Aisling in a sleeveless gown with a deep lilac top and a paler lilac scarf waving in the breeze behind her, for Aisling stands in profile, facing to the right although her head is turned towards us, her long blonde hair blowing in a stiff breeze. The skirt of her gown is a tri-colored affair with a grayish mint green to khaki to golden yellow panels. A sword hangs down her back while she clutches a bow in her right hand, hanging at her side. She stands atop rocks overlooking a riotous white river that crashes past the pennanted castle on the right, pale gray and white mountains in the background. At the very top is an info blurb in white shadowed in the blue with the author’s name below this in a deeper gold also shadowed in blue. Starting at Aisling’s knee is the title in a metallic fuchsia shadowed in white with the series info in white below that.

The title is what Aisling learns, that she’s the Dreamer’s Daughter.

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