Midwest Book ReviewJ.C. Hall is an international figure, having been born in Hong Kong; educated in London; and currently divides her time between Vancouver, British Columbia and Hong Kong. Legends Of The Serai is her first published novel, although she is currently working on The House of Orveen, and prequel to Legends of the Serai and has completed Lady of the Lakes.
As all great fantasy novels, Legends Of The Serai begins with the rough sketch of the world of the Serai. Goddesses who play in the mountains create the perfect backdrop for a goddess/human coupling. The offspring form the chosen, whether it be from the moon goddess, the sun goddess, or the goddess of the dark. Cara'sen is the Moon-Chosen, a Lead Officer in the Guild of the Overseers. Estranged from her father, and heartsick over her brother who left under mysterious circumstances fifteen years before, Cara and her spar Jai find themselves taking on a special mission, one that will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the Western lands. But not before stones of the goddesses wreak havoc in their lives:
"Cara cursed his lack of attention to the classic legend of his childhood. Lorra had turned her attention back to the luminary pair of stones and was admiring them, patiently waiting for Karvel'len's death. Any moment now, she would tug at the strings and find that she could not open the pouches. And Tal was still imprisoned within the shield with Lorn standing impassively over her."
Legends Of The Serai is a finely wrought piece of work that grips the reader from the first page. Cara is a brave and talented heroine, torn for her love of the men around her, including the father who she felt disavowed her. Cara's world is full of danger, and she leads the reader through a virtual labyrinth of sorcery, adventure, and fantasy. J.C. Hall is careful not to give too much away, thus opening the way for a series, much to the delight of the reader.
Young Cara'sen is Moon-Chosen, Lead-Officer in the Overseer's Special Guild, descendant of a goddess, and the estranged daughter of a powerful admiral. It will take all she has to ensure that the maelstrom of the powers and rivalries that surround her does not boil into war, a war that would destroy the land she calls home.
Yet how can she control these forces when they are embodied in the two men who are torn apart by their desire for her? One is sunborn, the other tempered by fire; both threaten to destroy everything she loves the most.
It will call for much more than her sword skills to solve the puzzle of the legends of the Serai....