Sorcerer's Duel (The Guardians, Book 2), by W.H. Cann (also see my author spotlight of W.H. Cann and my review of Path to Vengeance)
[I received a free copy of this book as a gift from the author.]
Sorcerer's Duel picks up after the climactic battle at the end of Path to Vengeance. Grogaan and his team head for the Ladorran Republic to rest and put the pieces back together. While there, Grogaan's developing relationship with Ellarna deepens, and they both begin training in magic to become Guardians. Then the destiny which Grogaan has seen in dreams and visions and has dreaded begins to unfold around him.
This book was a lot of fun. It's space fantasy that owns its magic instead of trying to pass it off as pseudoscience. There are wizards good and evil, exciting space battles and shiny spaceships, interplanetary intrigue, and a good dose of romance. The first part dragged a bit; large sections, especially the diplomatic maneuvering after the evil Empire's latest moves and Grogann and Ellarna's magical training, are told in narrative summary. Which actually works pretty well for the training; I find long chunks of people just learning stuff to not be very interesting. But a few more specific scenes to show what they're learning and how would have spiced up that section a bit.
Before long, though, Grogaan's destiny starts to catch up with him, and that's when the pace picks up and it's non-stop to the end as Grogaan faces battles both external and internal, and Ellarna fights to save the man she loves. I really cared about what happened to the characters.
A fun read, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Especially recommended for fans of Star Wars or fans of epic fantasy who want to read something in a non-traditional fantasy setting.
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