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Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Golding, who penned the Cat Royal series, proves in this first title in a new series that she is equally as adept with fantasy as she is with mystery. Trouble is brewing in the Known Worlds. King Lagan ac Burinholt, desperately hoping to gain allies, arranges a marriage between his son, Ramil, and Taoshira, Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands. The betrothed pair loathe each other on sight, but after they are both kidnapped, the story takes off. Descriptions of the Known Worlds are vivid and include intricate religions and fascinating political machinations. It is clear from the start that Rami and Tashi will fall in love, and their evolving relationship powers the story. The cast of characters is large and appealing, especially a circus strong man and a horse with immense personality. Golding ramps up the action with plenty of danger, battles, and narrow escapes, and she nicely resolves her various plot lines in a satisfying conclusion. Perfect for fans of political fantasies like Hilari Bell’s Farsala Trilogy.
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