Synopsis from Goodreads: Five years have now passed since the Winter War between the Outlands and Hetar. But Gaius Prospero has not given up his scheme to become emperor, and unexpected tragedy causes Lara to once again heed the pull of her destiny. Finding herself across the sea in a secret new world known as Terah, she discovers that her magical abilities grow greater with each passing day. Using her newfound powers, Lara lifts an ancient curse from the men of Terah, earning its ruler's gratitude and his deep and passionate love.
Stats for my copy: Trade paperback, Harlequin Books, 2006.
How acquired: From a BookCrossing member.
First line: Vartan, Lord of the Fiacre and head of the Outlands High Council was dead.
My thoughts: I think I liked this a bit more than the first book in the series, LARA. In this entry, Lara's destiny calls to her again, telling her it's time to get a move on. Her husband has just been murdered by his brother, and Lara leaves her young children with his cousin and his wife, and begins her travels once more. She winds up in the Coastal Kingdoms, where she learns about another land across the sea, called Terah, whose goods the Coastal Kingdoms trade for and then sell in Hetar. Next thing you know she's been drugged and handed over as a slave to the Dominus, who rules Terah. Of course she's not about to be any man's slave, and soon has the Dominus wrapped around her little finger. That exquisite fairy beauty, you know.
I really enjoyed this part of the story, where she's arrived in Terah and gets to know the inhabitants there. She's told that women in Terah do not speak. Not because they don't want to or are down-trodden by their men, but because of an ancient curse placed on them. They are physically incapable of speech. Once she's alone with the women, however, she discovers that they can indeed speak – the curse was actually placed on the men, rendering them incapable of hearing their women. So now she sets out to remove the curse. That's not her destiny though. Her beloved Outlands people are in danger from Hetar, and she must also find a way to save them.
The conversations between the characters often felt stilted or wooden, slightly monotonous with short bursts of emotion thrown in here and there. Lara's son is six or seven, and her younger brother a year older, but both spoke and held conversations with her like adults. I was quite happy to not read as many references to “man roots” in this book as in the first one, though there were several mentions of “seed sacs” and way too many mentions of “love juices”. I don't think there was quite as much sex on the page this time around, but as with the first book, those scenes weren't particularly sexy.
I don't have the third or fourth books in the series, and while I won't knock myself out looking for them, should I come across them I probably will read them. Like Lara, I'm very curious as to who or what may reside in another distant land that she spots while riding her flying horse one day. The world building is what kept me interested in the first book, and that interest still continues.