For some time now I've been reading Jean Johnson's Sons of Destiny series. Initially the first book, The Sword, was one that I picked up on a whim - and what a whim is has been! Immediately I was pulled in to the story, just as Kelly was pulled through the dimensions, and the entire world of Nightfall and the eight brothers (the "sons of destiny") came alive for me. For the past two years I've been following each successive brother through his courtship, meeting each of their mates and drawing the couple into my heart too, and watching the group as a whole as it struggles to make their incipent kingdom of Nightfall in to a thriving, fully recognized, curse free nation.
It's been a trip! So now, before the eighth and final book of the series - The Mage is released tomorrow, I want to take a small stroll down memory lane and touch on each of the stories that have brought us all to where we, and all the current inhabitants of Nightfall Isle, are today.
That first fateful, inspiring novel that drew us all in and held us captive to the lives and stories of the eight Corvis brothers. In this novel we watch as Saber - who is morbidly afraid of his curse in the 'Song of the Sons of Destiny' - meets his match in Kelly Doyle. Kelly, a woman who would come from what would be our very own dimension, arrives on Nightfall terrified of what might next befall her. She's spent the last couple months and years of her life struggling just to make ends meet, only to end up being accused of witchcraft and having the perpetrators of such awful accusations attempting to murder her by starting her house on fire in the middle of the night. Fortunately for her Morganen, the eighth and youngest Corvis brother, spies her troubles and uses his magic to rescue her and begin his task of Matchmaking his brothers with their destined mates.
Saber and Kelly suffer through a tumultuous courtship - arguing, avoiding and vaguely disliking eachother. Of course that dislike is a mask for the attraction they have to one another and when they are both poisoned by watersnakes (an inspired, if not a mite disgusting creature) they are forced to deal with each other in very close quarters. The fall out of that incident, obviously, is that they fall absolutely, positively in love with one another. Kelly fights it because she's not sure if she should be staying in Saber's world and Saber fights it because he still fears that it could be the end of his world. But despite their fears and doubts, they do fall and their marriage causes the 'Song of the Son's of Destiny' (which really is a prophecy about the eight brothers that implies dangerous and destructive things could happen if and when they each fall in love) to begin it's unraveling in their lives.
Together Saber and Kelly, and the seven brothers, work together to start the process of saving themselves and giving them all a new lease on life. It is during the foretold 'disaster' that Trevan is shot by a musket and Dominor is abducted from the island.
This second story starts for us during the final days of book one. With Morganen's help, Alys of Devries is able to escape from her uncles clutches and drags herself all the way across the Empire of Katan, through the sea and lands herself right in the path of the man who she's destined for. Wolfer find Alys after she washes up on the shores of Nightfall Isle and as she's always been a friend to the brothers and tells him that she has no where else to go, he takes her up to the palace to be introduced to Kelly and reunited with the other brothers.
Wolfer and Alys have a much easier time of things, and so it's only a matter of days before they are well in love with each other and every one knows it. They do encounter a few snags when Alys's uncles continue to attack the brothers on the isle, going so far as to visit the brother's in a twisted sense of familial duty (one of Alys's uncles is also the brother's uncles-by-marriage). Alys is forced to tell the brothers that she's known about, and been forced to help, her uncles attacks on the isle by taking care of the magical - and sometimes extremely dangerous - animals that have sent to harm them (including those nasty watersnakes that percipitated the eventual fall of Saber and Kelly).
Though Wolfer is hurt that Alys would do something like that, even under duress, they manage to work through the situation without any harm to their relationship. Unfortunately during the final attack on Nightfall by the uncles Evanor is seriously harmed and we see the first seeds for that eventual story.
At the end of The Sword we saw Dominor abducted by the Mandarites and this books starts there. Almost immediately the Mandarite ship is overtaken by the Natallians (the two countries are at war with each other) and all of the ships crew and passengers, including Dominor, are put up for sale as slaves at auction. It is a situation that Dominor, affectionately and not-so-affectionately known as the Master, is thoroughly embarassed and disgusted by. It is there that Serina finds and purchases him, in the hopes that he is capable of helping her complete her current project as the Guardian of Koral-tai.
Through very percise mathemagics Serina determines that Dominor can indeed help her, that he just might be the perfect man for the position, and with his oath to help her they set out to right the wrong that was inadvertantely causes over a century ago in Natallia - this 'botched magic' is actually the root of the problems between Natallia and Mandaria. So they return to Koral-tai (an interesting nunnery of types) and work at the project. Along the way they are able to contact Dominor's brothers and let them know that he's okay, of course the brother's are then also able to let Dominor know about everything that's happened since he was taken... Including his own twins injury.
Seeing his torment over his twins situation Serina insists that they do their magic and the earliest possible moment so that Dominor will be free to go back to Nightfall to be with Evanor. Of course she doesn't take into account the fact that she'd fallen in love with Dominor and that he had fallen in love with her. She also didn't inform him that she was going to have to end up pregnant. Fortunately for them they've got friends and family that love them and interfere in the situation so that Serina and Dominor can be together, in love, and most importantly - happy.
We watched in The Wolf as Evanor was injured - losing his voice and his magic - and in The Master we met Mariel - the healer who will use her Song to end his suffering. Dominor convinces Mariel to come to Nightfall with her son, Mikor, and attempt some very complicated healing magic that would actually have to regenerate his twins vocal cords. It doesn't take long once she arrives for Evanor to start wooing her - even with out his voice, or his magic, to aid him. And it doesn't take long before Mariel starts to fall.
With Mariel, Evanor instantly gains all that he's ever dreamed of - a wife and a child, a family, of his own. Once Mariel finally heals him and he's able to tell her just how much she means to him and that he wants to keep her with him forever. Together all the inhabitants of the island help create a new communication tool that everyone can operate and they distribute them amongst themselves - just in the nick of time. With his cryslet on hand, Mikor decides he's now capable of leaving the palace on his own and goes exploring, only to be caught by soldiers who've accompanied the Katani ruling council to the island. The brothers save young Mikor and then they must face the Katani - the end result of which being Kelly 'ringing the bell' and gaining the grace of the Gods to make Nightfall in to it's own true, free nation.
After being chased out of their own homes, their own country and continent, after being tracked across land and water Amara of the Shifterai and her sister arrive on the island. Like Alys, they wash up on the beach and after a chance to rest, forage and clean themselves, Amara is discovered by Trevan. Fearing for her sisters safety she allows him to find her alone and then goes with him to the palace to determine whether she and Rora will truly be safe on Nightfall. (Unbeknownst to her, initially, Rora is having her own adventure - see The Storm below...)
She decides after some convincing to take up residence in the palace and Trevan starts his courtship of her almost immediately. From two very different cultures the couple is constantly stumbling over obstacles and contradictary perceptions of how things should be. After a rocky start they are finally able to settle in to some semblance of peace - though Gods-know that it is entirely unlikely that Amara will ever be able to accept the leadership and rule of Kelly, incipent Queen of Nightfall.
Fortunately she does eventually come to understand that while she may never be the queen she was born to be, she can still be a leader among the people of Nightfall. In a confrontation that threatens not only her sister, but all Nightfallers, Amara proves her loyalty to Kelly and Nightfall and shows that she has more than enough power in her own right to protect those she deems worthy.
While Amara is being chased by the Cat, her twin sister Rora is chasing the Storm. Night loving Rydan finds being in the presence of others extremely difficult, in fact it's all but impossible for him to enjoy the company of his brothers and their wives. For some strange reason though, Rora's presence doesn't hurt him. And it is through her presence and her love (and that which she hold within her) that he's able to find the strength in himself to rejoin his brothers lives.
Rydan, self-appointed Guardian of the Nightfall Fountain, find solace with Rora. But in loving her, he must give up that which he's been using to define himself - the Nightfall fountain. Of course he only has to give it up temporarily and in exchange he takes on the responsibility of becoming the Guardian of the Living Fountain but it's still a sacrifice... One he does eventually make quite willingly even if it means opening up his underground halls to his brothers.
With Rora's power and his brother's help Rydan is able to defeat the dark powers trying to hunt her down and protect the island as well. It is also through this confrontation that we meet the people of Menomon and the woman who will come next to Nightfall.
Koranen has lived in fear of harming any lover he touches from a very young age - when his passions run hot, so does his touch. It's only with his prophesied, destined mate that he knows he'll be able to love freely, so when a group of Aquamancers arrive on the island from Menomon he sets out to find the Water to his Flame. Danau, the highest ranking aquamancer Menomon has to offer, has always suffered from the stigma - and very true reality - that she's too cold to love. Not knowing, and not wanting to care, about Koranen's situation Danau focuses her sights of the desalination system and leaves the field open to the other women that came to Nightfall with her.
Fortunately for both Koranen and Danau, circumstances put the two of them together at the right time and in the right place to discover just what happens when hot meets cold. The couple then works together on the desalination system, along with the other aquamancers, and then together they must discover who murdered one of the Menomonites and bring him or her to justice.
In the end, they find that together there's not much that they can't do and so decide to stick it out with one another. Love and all that stuff, you know....
And that brings us back to today. Or tomorrow, I suppose. What will happen as the Nightfallers continue their efforts to make their island an independent kingdom, fully recognized by man and Gods? Will Rydan and Rora be capable of doing what must be done to unleash the power within her? Will Morganen and Hope fall quickly, deeply, and madly in love with each other, or will theirs be a nice slide in to comfort, love and satisfaction? And what is all the Gods names did Hope mean at the end of The Flame when she said, "I'm home... I'm finally home."
I may not be able to garuntee when I'll post again but you can bet that once I get my hands on a copy of The Mage and have a bit of time to read and digest it, that you'll be hearing from me again...
Can you tell that I can't wait???
[If you want to see more information about the characters, the stories and the author of this series please visit the official website... For costs and purchasing information on any of the books please visit either of the following websites: Chapters, Amazon (USA), Barnes & Noble, or Borders or contact your local bookstore.]