Published by Grand Central Publishing on July 1st, 1999
Number of Pages: 327
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Purchase: At Amazon
When Lady Juilene rejects a marriage proposal from the evil thurge Lindos, the wizard casts a spell that forces the young noblewoman to flee her family, friends, even kind strangers. For the curse destroys anyone who helps her. Love will break the spell -- but Juilene's betrothed lies murdered by Lindos.
Left with just a harp and her talent as a Songsayer, Juilene is a forlorn exile in a land on the brink of apocalypse.
For Lindos has mastered the magic to turn 10,000 years of peace into a regime of horror. And the one person who can stop the thurge -- and end Juilene's curse -- is a myth from an impossible prophecy.
A knight who has never been born...
“You’ve come far, and learned much, daughter. The ending shall be worth the journey.”
Juilene is cursed by Lindos to not eat, have or wear anything she has not earned with her own hands. And yet when she flees home, she packs a bag of clothing and takes her harp. She also takes a bag of food and some coins from her nurse. Neri is punished by the curse as soon as Juliene touches the bag. The clothes she packed are stolen from her that same night, so that could be attributed to the curse I suppose. And she loses the harp after a few months. The coins and food are not taken from her, which seems odd because of the wording of the curse. Though I’m guessing the author didn’t want to put her in a totally ‘no way out’ situation.
Juilene is also raped during her time on the roads. It isn’t graphic, but it is also not something you can really skip over. And other than wanting to wash more often, it isn’t really dealt with at all in the book. She thinks about it sometimes, and there are moments where it almost happens to her again. But she seems to brush it off as though it wasn’t all that important. I can’t imagine how that is something you can just ignore.
In the beginning, before she is cursed, she meets a songsayer (which is like a traveling bard, only they’re always female). This is an old woman, a friend of her music teacher. You can tell by the description of the woman that a songsayer’s life is hard, and it’s mentioned often that this life is not what Juilene’s parents would ever want for their daughter. But when she is cursed and must live the life of a songsayer, other than a few small discomforts it seems as though it isn’t all that different than living as a thane’s daughter.
Other than the first night, she manages to always have food. And coins for bathing, somewhere warm to sleep, etc. First it’s because she is taken on by a traveling actors troupe, and then because Cariad pays for a month’s lodging at an inn for her.
There were things I liked about this story. I loved the idea of a non-born knight and that “a thane’s doom is always true.” There were a few interesting creatures that weren’t similar to any that I’ve read about before. And even with all the faults, the story sucked me in after Juilene is cursed. It was a little bit slow at the beginning, and the prologue doesn’t seem to have much to do with the story at first, but then it suddenly all fits together and you understand why it was there.
If you want a story you can read and not think about too deeply, and don’t mind inconsistencies like the not caring about being raped, this one has some really good ideas in it.