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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brighid’s Quest by P. C. Cast

Brighid’s Quest by P. C. Cast
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (530 pgs)
Age: 16+
Rating: Best book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

"I will go."

Rather than follow her family's restrictive rules, centaur Brighid chose to set out on her own to make friends and form relationships with humans as well as centaurs.

Now she's facing her toughest challenge yet. While helping guide home a grieving human—Cuchulainn, her friend Elphame's brother—Brighid finds herself beginning to care for him. An emotion forbidden by her clan.

To add to her troubles, the Great Goddess has awoken the power of the Shaman within Brighid—the first centaur so blessed in ages. And just as she's torn between taking up a power she never expected and a love she's afraid to admit to, Brighid receives a vision of a tragedy that might destroy everyone she's ever cared about…

If you enjoy fantasy adventure on a grand scope with a hero and heroine fighting against impossible odds and a love story of epic proportions, then pick up Brighid’s Quest because it delivers all that and more.

This book can stand alone easily but it is based on a series in a world so unique and special that I’d encourage readers to find the back books just for the sheer enjoyment they bring. I’ve read the others so for me it was wonderful to visit again with some of the original characters as they had charmed me and I remember them from so long ago. That being said, Ms. Cast brings enough of who they are and their back story that anyone jumping into the series with this book can easily relate. This book is Brighid and Cuchulainn’s story and the emotion captured in the pages of this book are as vibrant and touching as any reader could wish.

Brighid is part woman and part horse, a centaur. She’s a complex person, rich in personality and inner conflicts. She’s got a mother who was corrupted by power, a destiny she fights, prejudice to overcome, friends to heal and a friendship that has sneaked over into love. She’s strong, loyal, talented and destined for more than she expects. Over the duration of this story, Brighid grows in knowledge of her world and of herself. Despite all she’s fought against, all the trials she’s overcome, she never loses her compassion for others, even for those I truly believed shouldn’t get any. She’s an inspiration. She also has a delight wit which pops up at unexpected moments.

Cuchulainn is a fractured man. He lost his first love and it tore him apart. His spirit is adrift and his family fears for his life. This is about his journey to healing, not just for himself but eventually, the people of the goddess, Epona. He’s a warrior through and through and can be counted on. I liked Cu because he feels deeply, loves completely and is also loyal and courageous. His steadfast support of Brighid is as romantic as can be. Would that all men treated those they loved with that kind of honor and respect.

There are some parts that I would caution a reader of the younger generation. The conflict does turn violent and at one part Brighid is in danger of being violated – the scene could possibly be disturbing to some younger readers but with the news programs these days, perhaps not so much. To balance that darkness, the love and gentle touches between Brighid and Cuchulainn are tender, sensual and bring their romance to the next level. I had no problem with them, indeed it enriched my view of their relationship.

The children are beautiful. Liam is my favorite because he charms Brighid when she absolutely did not want to be charmed. He touches her heart and for the first time, she sees a different future for herself. It’s a wonderful moment.

Epona is the goddess and she’s just as important a character as the hero and heroine because everything they do is in her name. Most gods and goddess in stories are manipulative and love to play power games as though humans were chess pieces on a chessboard. That is far from the truth in this book. Epona is a positive, loving and beautiful creation of Ms. Cast’s mind and I’m in awe of its scope.

This review could go on and on because there is so much detail, emotion, events and characters I’ve yet to cover but this world Ms. Cast has created is an amazing place to visit. Time flew as I read because I could not put this book down. It touched my emotions on so many levels. I highly recommend this book to readers of fantasy and romantic fantasy because it is so well written. Ms. Cast has a reputation for bringing her characters to life and she succeeds much to my vast enjoyment. It’s a must read.

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