Title: Warrior (Blades of the Rose #1)
Author: Zoe Archer
Publisher: Zebra 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Summer Romance - Paranormal; Books Around the World (Mongolia)
How I Got It: I own it! (from the Borders closing sale)
The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond - where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. And frankly, Huntley couldn't be more pleased. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress - just what he needs. Raised thousands of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typical Victorian lady. A good thing, because a proper lady would have no hope of recovering the priceless magical artefact Thalia is after. Huntley's assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn't easy to deceive...
This is definitely a keeper. A blend of romance, Victorian era historical, and Indiana Jones-esque adventure created the perfect book. I loved the premise: magical items, Sources, containing the power of the world. The Blades protect the Sources. The Heirs seek to use the Sources to take over the world. Into this very strange world, a common (or not so common) soldier follows his inner code of honor. Along the way he meets a very confusing young woman, many colorful characters, and danger. I especially liked that Thalia was not a typical Victorian lady. She is a true child of the world, open to the cultures and lifestyles of other peoples. Gabriel is just enough Indiana Jones to keep me intrigued while embodying the traditional romance novel lead characteristics. I loved him. I could see how Thalia allowed herself to love him. Even the brief appearances of fellow Blades members entertained. (Could it be that they are the focus of subsequent novels? I have all four, so we shall see.)
Beyond the characters, I enjoyed the paranormal aspect. The concept of objects imbued with primal energy peaked my interest. There's a great twist when if comes to the Source Gabriel and Thalia seek. I didn't see it coming, but it was definitely a good one. None of these cheesy twists. This one made sense.
Finally, I loved Thalia explanations of Mongol life. At my heart I love reading about culture and history. This book had a bit of both thrown in. I've never done much research into Mongolia, but the cultural discussions intrigued me. I loved learning about the stories and traditions of the Mongol people.
Overall, a great action-adventure romance. A definite must! I'll be moving quickly onto the second in the series: Scoundrel.
Blades of the Rose