Rating: 5 of 5, TMBOA Recommended
Author: Leslie Ann Moore
Being half-elf and half -human, Jelena Preseren lives life ridiculed and looked down upon by others. Though her mother, who died giving birth to her, was the sister of the Duke of Amsara, this does little for Jelena who is forced to live her days working in the castle scullery. Her only friend is her cousin Magnes who sees beyond her lineage. Though she accepts her lot in life as a servant, Jelena draws the line when her uncle the Duke decides to sell her as a concubine. She decides to flee and search for her Elven father.
Having learned of his own arranged marriage to someone other than his true love, Magnes joins Jelena. While on their quest, Jelena discovers a strange power locked deep inside her. Little does she know, that she is the vessel containing the magic from an ancient evil sorcerer banished centuries earlier but whose soul lives on searching for the key to his release.
Ashinji Sakehera, second son of an Elven Duke, is troubled by continued dreams of a girl he has yet to meet. Once he and Jelena’s worlds collide, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But how can a half-elf woman who is ostracized by both human and elf society ever have a romantic future with nobility?
Leslie Ann Moore’s Griffin’s Daughter is the first novel in a three part series. It sets up a number of story arcs only one of which is closed at the books conclusion. So be prepared to run out to purchase book two (which is also very good – see my review for Griffin’s Shadow). Moore’s prose is refined and sets the tone and mood for the novel. Apart from the good story telling, and wonderful fantasy elements, I really enjoyed the way Moore weaves in the personal impact of prejudice. Jelena is mistreated in both human and elven societies belonging to neither. What is so sad is Jelena believes herself inferior because of the way others see and treat her. No matter how much her cousin Magnes tells her otherwise or even her love Ashinji, Jelena truly believes she is not worthy of the love and friendship from those around her – all because of how she is treated by the majority. What a wonderful glimpse into how prejudice is felt by those who experience it.
Moore’s debut novel earned her the 2008 Ben Franklin Award for Best First Fiction and it’s easy to see why. This is a good book and the second installment is even better. Please note, this may not be a suitable read for some younger readers as there are some adult themes presented occasionally throughout the story. For those who enjoy a good, well written fantasy, pick up a copy of Griffin’s Daughter.