Why this one: I love most of Ms. Grant’s books. Love. Them. They are futuristics, a genre I adore and can’t read enough of. But I had real issues with the last book of hers I tried to read; it was a departure from her usual style. So I was a bit leery when The Last Warrior came out as to what kind of book it would be, the style I’ve loved in the past or the style I couldn’t read. But since I’ve loved her in the past, I decided to dive into the Susan Grant book pool
Steam Level: Warm, not hot, but warm. But then it’s hot enough outside anyway these days. So warm is good!
Blurb: As a decorated soldier, the young General Tao knows only one kind of honor—to his people. But when his own king betrays him, he discovers that his sacrifices, his successes, may not have been for the good of the country at all.
Fate—and his enemies—throw him together with Elsabeth, a red-haired beauty who has served as the royal tutor. Her loyalties, though, remain with her father's people, the rebellious Kurel, who worship the old ways, even harboring the forbidden arks that brought the Kurel to this planet ages ago. When a threat greater than their peoples' war looms, intent on destroying the world they both know, the fierce warrior and the sensitive scholar must unite. Together, they must fight for their planet, for their world and for their love.
My Thoughts: Well!! I am SO glad I dove back into the pool as this is the kind of Susan Grant book I adore and adore this one I did!
It has everything going for it. Let me count the ways:
- A very intriguing world that is very well built - check
- A great cast of secondary characters that makes me want to read more about them – check
- An evil villain that you want to do away with yourself - check
- A heroine that I really like and admire – check
- A hero to die for – check
The setting for this Futuristic Sci/Fi romance is the planet (look it up). I gather the planet was colonized by the people from Earth hundreds of years ago and somehow all communication was cut off so they slowly drifted into various segments of society. There are the superstitious warrior class, known as the Tassagonians, who are exemplified by our hero General Tao. Then there are the scientific class known as the Kurel. There isn’t much mingling of these two classes as the Warrior class are very wary of the Kurel and consider all their advanced knowledge is evil magic.
The story starts out with the return of General Tao, a hero to his people for the glorious defeat of the Gorr, an animalistic group whose sole purpose is the elimination of the human inhabitants. Our heroine, Elsabeth is less than impressed though as she has a deep dislike of the Tassagoian people and in particular a hatred for their king ever since he was responsible for the senseless death of her parents. She is part of a rebellion against King Xim along with the chief of the palace guards and Tao’s best friend.
When Tao makes his triumphant return, King Xim is threatened by Tao’s popularity with the people and has him falsely arrested. Markham, his friend and chief of palace guards rescues him and hides him with Elsabeth and the ghetto town of the Kurels
That’s the basics of the story but that’s just bare bones. What I would like to say is what great characters both Elsabeth and Tao are. I wasn’t sure I would like either one at first but I LOVED them. Elsabeth has reason to be bitter but rather than wallow in it, she works to make things different and better. She could have let her hatred for the Tassagoian people take over, but she is very well able to separate her feeling for the king from the rest of the people. In fact she calls the king’s wife and sister to Tao a friend and is very fond of her. Elsbeth is smart, brave, does what she can to help but not in a stupid way and Wendy would really like her. Hint, hint. She has preconceived notions about what the Tassagoians are all about, but is willing to readjust her thinking when she sees that the role they play is valuable.
And Tao. Oh, yum, yum, yum!! What an incredible Ms. Grant has written in him. He is a hero to his people and despite this he remains remarkably humble about it all. He just wants to find a wife, using careful, well thought out methods and retire to his family vineyard. He has fought against the Gorr for many years despite still being a young man. When he is put into hiding in the district of the Korel, he is at first quite reluctant what with them practicing magic and all. But he slowly realizes what value they can be. And at first rather disgusted with their passive ways, he is impressed when they rise to the occasion when threatened. And the chemistry between Tao and Elsabeth is absolutely delicious. I just love how they slowly begin to love each other as they get to know each other and put aside their prejudices. Tao admires Elsbeth and treats her with a great deal of respect, even though he is totally hot for her.
This is a riveting story with very real and believable characters. There are a few places where I chuckled over Tao and his ‘duck out of water’ stay with the Korel. I’ve tried tightening up on my 5 out of 5 grades as at times going back I barely remember a book I gave a five too, but not so in this case. This is one I will remember and most certainly read again.
Grade: 5 out of 5