I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Daughter of Oreveille by Tricia Ballad
Series: Oreveille Cycle #1
Published by Faeland Press on August 23, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Romance
How much will Brianna be forced to sacrifice to protect the life - and the man - she has chosen? She has never been afraid to break the rules, but when she rejects yet another fine young man from a powerful House, she risks more than disapproval: since her father’s death in the jotnar wars, the House of Oreveille has been without a Defender. Her mother’s second husband has neglected his duties, and allowed the estate to fall into decay. Rumors are flying that Oreveille, which has stood on the border between Gaia and the Faeland for thousands of years, may soon fall. Brianna does not intend to repeat her mother’s mistakes, but to save Oreveille she must weigh the fate of her people, and the safety of the Faeland, against the desires of her heart.
My Initial Reaction…
Daughter of Oreveille surprised me with with how well I came to love the heroine in such a short span of time. One of those novellas that you get lost in and enjoy in one sitting.
Brianna, the Daughter of Oreveille, was an instantly lovable character. She is the daughter of an important house in Fey Lands and, therefore, bears the unfortunate burden of needing to marry well for the benefit of her house. She must marry a man who can be the defender of Oreveille and care for its upkeep, while she is busy with political concerns; this is a Matriarchal society (I think I loved the book at the moment I realized that) and her mother is ready to turn over the reigns, but cannot do so until Brianna is married. Brianna, though, does not like any of the Fey men that her mother has been sending her way. She is not traditional, clearly. She wants to fight alongside the men to protect her home she feels for the plight of their human slaves, and she loves the half-human son of the property overseer, Gabriel. She wants to fly in the face of tradition and follow her heart – because she loves him and because she knows he’s better for Oreveille than any of the Fey men she has met. Her rebellious nature and refusal to do as she’s told endeared Brianna to me; she’s more interested in following her heart, no matter the consequences.
We don’t really get to know the other characters all that well. Even though we spend some time seeing the story from Gabriel’s point of view, I still felt like his vantage point was just to see Brianna and the events in a different light – not to get to know him better.He seems very devoted to her and to Oreveille; he also clearly cares about the humans on the land. I wish there was more time spent developing him, as the hints to his character suggested someone very rich in complexity and mystery that I could have loved knowing.
The same kind of superficial qualities come together in the other characters – you get to know them, only in their most prominent characteristics and in how they relate to Brianna. I would have liked to get to know them better, especially as some moments within the plot probably would have mattered to me a lot more if I did. Regardless, they did their job in making me care about Brianna and her fate, so it was good enough for me to enjoy the story.
Oreveille is in trouble when we meet Brianna. Her step-father has never done much to care for Oreveille; in fact, he seems little more than a drunk. They are constantly facing minor attacks from gobeleins and jotnars – creatures living in Fae that don’t get very thoroughly described, but you get the idea that they are BAD and signs that worse is coming; the house is in disrepair, hidden only by the glamour. The human slaves have been trying to escape more and more frequently – a sign of the slipping authority of the inattentive Protector of Oreveille (Brianna’s step-father). Brianna’s marriage should be the key to fixing all these problems, if she can just marry the right man. Unfortunately her idea and her mother’s idea of the “right” man don’t exactly align. This conflict drives the story forward.
Daughter of Oreveille has the building blocks for a fascinating and complex world. The book starts in 1649 and moves forward about a decade over the course of the book. That’s the only reason I’ve marked it as an Historical novel – the fantasy elements overwhelm (not in a bad way) making the historical setting all but inconsequential. As a historian of this period, I had to accept the broad stereotypical descriptions of human society for the brief subplots they were and once I did, I was able to enjoy them. The Fey world exists alongside the Human world, with a barrier that the Fey are completely aware of and some even cross frequently separating them. The Fey look down on the simplistic humans, keeping some as there slaves. Meanwhile they have a very complex, society. We only get hints of it – from the Matriarchs, to the warfare, to the magic and the interaction of the human and fey – just enough to understand what’s going on at the surface and to want to understand the complexity. I can only hope that the next book will expose these elements more fully, as they hint at something great.
Daughter of Oreveille is one of those novellas that makes you forget it’s shorter than your average book. The ending came before I was ready and I look forward to the next one. Recommend for a quick, enjoyable weekend read.