The Grass Kings Concubine
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Buy from our partners. And though Marcellan never meant to cause harm, his theories undermined the immortal Grass King's magic, the power that gave life and plenty to all the Domains of WorldBelow.
That disaster was compounded by a spell of stone and blood cast in WorldAbove by exiled shapeshifter twins, once favorites of the Grass King Generations later, Aude, born to wealth yet driven always by her childhood vision of a strange Shining Place, seeks to understand her family's past, where their wealth came from, and why they and all who live in the Silver City want for nothing, while the people who live in the industrial Brass City have nothing at all.
Jehan, a soldier serving in the Brass City, also questions the inequities between the wealthy and those who work for them.
The Grass King's Concubine
When the two find each other on the troubled streets, their destinies are linked. Together, they flee the cities in search of the origins of Aude's family. The heroine, Aude, rebelling against the arranged marriage prepared for her by her uncle, goes on a journey to seek her origins and a magical world WorldBelow that no-one in her own world quite believes in any more.
Aude is a convincing and likeable character, fierce and honest; her companion, the guard Jehan, is subtly drawn, a decent and courageous man obliged to defend the elite of a decadent and unjust state and forced to choose between obedience and his conscience. Though this is the main thread, a beguiling sub-plot concerns the longing of twins Yelena and Julana, ferrets who can assume human shape, to return to their own world.
They are convincingly ferrety and not at all anthropomorphic in character. It is her feeling for the natural and magical worlds that Sperring has created which give her work its distinct flavour; they are observed and evoked in vivid detail and in an original way, particularly when the point of view is not that of a human character.
At the end, I wished it had continued a little further. Perhaps there will be a sequel; I hope so!