Xylara is a Daughter of Xy, the daughter of a king. Not satisfied with merely being a pawn to be traded for an advantageous marriage, Lara, as she is known, apprentices herself and becomes a master healer herself. When the Kingdom of Xy is invaded by the fierce Firelanders, Lara determines to treat and heal the prisoners of war as well as their own soldiers. When it becomes apparent to the current King of Xy, Lara's brother Xymund that they cannot win the war against the Firelanders, he surrenders for peace to the enemy Warlord. As part of the price of peace, is Lara who will be given to the Warlord as a Warprize.
Lara knowing that the only way to prevent further bloodshed for her people consents to be given even as she is terrified. The ways of the Firelanders are very alien to the Xyians and she has no idea what to expect. But once in the encampment of the Firelanders and Lara realizes that a Warprize is no mere slave and the Warlord is a man that she'd met and noticed before.
The original cover of this book was incredibly cheesy which I think it attached to this edition. I am glad they changed it because the story inside was really quite good and I am always cognizant of what message a cover gives. It does everything a good fantasy romance should so. It first creates a different place and it gives a good love story. The kingdom of Xy is reminiscent of almost any medieval Western European country. And the Firelanders, or rather the People of the Plains, as they prefer to be called seem very reminiscent of some Native American tribes. The fantastical part is that the writer juxtaposes these two very different societies and spins them a bit. From a reader perspective, the Xyians seem more familiar. And I am sure the author is aware of that because she is very matter of fact about their culture and ways. And the story is told from Lara's POV. It is how she explores and reveals the culture of the Firelanders that makes it seems new. She unravels it in layers. First by their food, then by their philosophy of healing and honor, then by their then by their sexual and mating habits and so on. There really isn't anything new that she is creating or revealing, you can see bits and pieces of what she is doing probably in many other cultures, but like Lara, I felt like I was being introduced to something new and different.
I liked the writing and I really enjoyed Lara and Kier's relationship. I am looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.