Review: Bright Familiar by Jeffe Kennedy
Sometimes, people have to do things the hard way. Lady Veronica aka Nic is now where she should have been all along. She is with Gabriel. She had to runaway first and see that it is pointless before she can come to terms with her plot in life. Unfortunately for her, because of her very foolish mistake, it may cost her everything. This book should be read only after reading the first book. It will make more sense.
Everything Nic ever wanted, she has as the wife and familiar of Gabriel. Except that she can't be a mage. She is a familiar instead. A second class citizen with the same magic yet incapability of using the magic she stores. How frustrating. I think there is something else going on with the familiar and mage dynamic. I am hooked into the series and desperately want to know more. Specifically because Gabriel doesn't agree with how familiars are treated and his unconventional ways bring forth magic that is supposed to not be possible.
There is so much going on in this story. I'm riveted from the first few pages. This is an action packed tale with Nic setting up house, trying to bring the accounts to order and negotiate for her dowry to be sent. Ms. Kennedy writes in several subplots that I'm at times feeling high from all the sensory input. I love thinking about the different scenarios that could be coming down the pipeline. There are hints every so often that not all is what it seems. Why did Gabriel's house fall? Why are people implying that he would do well not to buck tradition like his forefathers?
There are so many instances of misuse of power that I'm almost always on edge. I'm angry at how familiars are treated. I'm angry at how the Convocation tradition is set up. There are so many things wrong that are hidden from sight. And yet Nic defends the Convocation traditions because there was a reason it was set up the way it was... but I still think somewhere along the way, some very greedy asshole mages left information out intentionally to enslave an entire group of people.
I really enjoyed Nic and Gabriel's deepening of their relationship. Gabriel struggles with the servitude he must require of a familiar. He also fights the erotic sadism that comes with a mage and familiar interaction. I found this to be interesting because I would have thought Nic would fight it more. Instead, Gabriel stays true to his character and resists all attempts Nic makes to show him how it should be done.
My favourite part of this story is Nic setting up house. The logistics of creating alliances and making money just revs my engine. The details are not too much, but just enough to get my project management talents to take up notice and salivate at all the projects that need to be done. I love it! The end of the story is more hooking into the next story rather than a cliffhanger. The confrontation is not unexpected and went just as badly as I thought it would go. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I'm enthralled. This high fantasy is recommended to romance readers who enjoy magic and sticking it to the "establishment".