I love fantasy. It’s one of my most read genres. I am, however, also fond of historical pieces, especially when the details are there. So when the two are combined? I’m definitely pleased. Such it is with Jan Foster’s Destiny Awaiting, the prequel novel for her Naturae series (which, if you haven’t read, you should).
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book follows the first meeting of Aoiffe and Tarl, the main characters in the Naturae series. Aoiffe, a fae, has escaped to the human world and is desperate to explore it. She meets Tarl, a would-be thief trying to pay for atonement for his family. When an encounter with a hungry vampire priest goes awry, Tarl ends up conscripted into King Henry V’s army on their way to France, with Aoiffe in tow. After all, the only thing more difficult than fighting a war is trying to hide a fae while doing it.
I love the detail that went into this plot. It’s absolutely a love story, but it is written over the backdrop of so much richness and plot that it’s hard not to feel like you’re in the middle of the battlefield. The historical pieces and the bits of magic interspersed with fact really just make this book (and the whole series, frankly) so much more vibrant.
2. Thoughts on the characters
I’ve read the first book in the Naturae series, so I am familiar with Aoiffe and Tarl. But seeing them at their first meeting, reading the development that they endure, it’s just wonderful. Aoiffe is so naive to the way of humans, but it doesn’t feel like that naivete is contrived, only natural. Tarl, on the other hand, goes through such a transformation as he tries to reconcile his actions and beliefs with the clarity that Aoiffe’s questions bring upon things. They’re such lovely characters!
3. Favourite part
The little details that make up real life work so well in this book, because they add such depth to the characters and to the plot. A scene can turn on the sharpness of an arrowhead or the illness of a character. It’s wonderful.
My only real critique is that the love story almost (but not quite) takes a back seat to the historical events. And yes, I know that this is a historical fantasy, not a historical romantic fantasy, but still.
Overall, if you like history, magic, and great writing, this book is one for you. (As is, frankly, the whole series.) Definitely would recommend.