Saturday, January 14, 2006

Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

For me Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning was a welcome return to form. I have read all of her books and love Kiss of the Highlander and then The Dark Highlander. When I read The Immortal Highlander a little while ago I wasn't quite so impressed and was thinking that maybe I had read enough Monings. However I borrowed Spell from the library and was really glad that I did so! It hasn't replaced Kiss as my favourite, but it was a darn site better than The Immortal Highlander in my opinion.

Cian MacKeltar was one of the most powerful Druids of his time..only problem is his time was in the 9th Century. As a result of his enormous ego in relation to his powers he ends up being tricked into a situation which results in him being trapped inside of one of the great Unseelie relics, The Dark Glass for the last 1100 years. The Dark Glass offers immortality to the holder, as long as the tithe of pure gold is paid every 100 years at Samhain.

Jessica St James is an archeology student who is struggling to make ends meet. One of the ways she does this is to assist her professor. One night her professor asks her to make sure that a crate is received safely. What she doesn't know is that the crate has The Dark Glass in it. It is something of a surprise when she sees Cian, preserved 9th century alpha male, looking back at her through the glass.

There are however quite a few people who want to get hold of the treasure, not least of all Lucan Trevayne, the man who captured, and kept Cian in his cell for hundreds of years. Lucan has managed to track the glass down, and now Jessi is in mortal danger. Cian needs to get them somewhere safe and soon. After Cian gives Jessi the words to enable her to release him, at least temporarily, from his cell they are forced to go into hiding, until Cian can work out a way to protect them both for the next 20 days, as that is when the next tithe is due to be paid. If Lucan is not able to pay the tithe, then Cian's imprisonment will be over. One of Cian's most useful powers is The Voice, which enables him to ensure that people will do exactly as he says which enables them to get hotel rooms, flights and provisions.

The only problem for Cian and Jessi is that whilst Cian can be released at least every day they do not know how long he will be free before he simply disappears back into the mirror. This leads to several comical scenes such as when he disappears as they are grocery shopping.

Cian is alpha male through and through, but still very likeable, and willing to do anything to protect Jessi. Jessi is probably one of the more likeable heroines that the author has written. Whilst she is a struggling student working two jobs to get by, she is not an orphan, and she does maintain family ties, something that was missing with a couple of the more recent heroines.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read, and there was enough room left over at the end of the book to show loyal readers that there will be more books in this series.

Rating 4 out of 5

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