Knight and Nightrider (The King’s Daughter Book 4)

by J. Kathleen Cheney 

This is the fourth book of The King’s Daughter (ostensibly about the daughter of the King of a European-esque fantasy world where the King is a mad, but can see the future, and Ellis ends up training at a military academy and then getting involved in politics).

I will always buy King’s Daughter (and Dreaming/Horn) books because Cheney makes me care so deeply about these flawed, but basically good characters. Like all her books, there’s alot of discussion about work assignments, describing of supplies and food and family relationships, and more exposition about culture than actual showing of it.

In particular, this book focuses only a little on Ellis, and mostly on her fellow cadets Llelas Seivereya and Thomas Farrier. In a prior book, Ellis kind of made a romantic choice, leaving Llelas nursing a broken heart in his still-being-built province of Sandrine. But when his nephew (also a seer) shows up telling him he must attend a ball at his greatest enemies’ house because he will meet his wife there…he goes.

So we get the lovely romance of Llelas saving his future wife and dealing with his enemies whilst building up his province. We get a little look at Grandfather (a kind of magical ancestor of Llelas) and his wife, too which was fun.

We also get Thomas Farrier, who is being a good little soldier and following orders to attend to an influx of refugees from a country with which Ellis’ is likely to go to war.

Ellis also just kinds of hangs out, doesn’t talk to her husband since he’s stationed back at Amiestrin, and waits around being uncomfortable and dirty and cold. Near the last third of the book she gets an adventure when the enemy attacks and she must lead folks in a daring escape. Then its back to more waiting around because the book ends before her fate (military commanders were not thrilled with the destruction she left in her wake) is decided now that the war is on.

Really, Llelas and his wife are the stars of the show. Thomas’ part was okay, but seemed to be laying groundwork for stuff he’ll do later (and a tiny bit of cute romance with Llelas’ sister).

Still, reading Cheney’s characters discuss supplies and rug colors and naming various mountain tribes is still more interesting to me than many other more action/adventury fantasy books, so i’m okay with it. Not loving that the book ends just as war is declared and everyone’s fate is up in the air, but since the next book seems liable not to be too far off, I’ll forgive. 🙂