I really liked this book, I read the first book in the series and it seemed to drag a little in places, but I thought this one was much better. The characters were much more compelling and the plot moved quickly. I suppose it is good as a stand-alone, but I do however recommend reading the first in the series (A Charmed Sphere) to learn some more about the history of the countries and better understand the magical aspects. There is also a short story in the anthology Charmed Destinies that inlvolves some of the characters in the series.
This is the sequel to "Charmed Sphere", a fantasy novel. This book takes place 18 years later. The heroine is Chime and Muller's daughter Melody. I was not sure if it could be as good as the first book - it was actually better! I'd read the first book first, just to get some background on the villains, but highly recommend this novel. The daughter is engaged to her cousin, the prince of Aronsdale, but the son of the deposed king threatens the kingdom and will only hold off the invasion if they agree to an alliance by marriage. Melody agrees and is quickly married to a marauding conqueror bent on invading several nearby kingdoms. She goes back to his country and meets his evil and twisted relatives. Not looking so bright for this girl of the light. Much darker than the previous novel in the series.
Romantic fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and reading Catherine Asaro's THE MISTED CLIFFS, I was reminded of the reason why. Deposed kings, sword and sorcery, magic and spells, kings and queens, dark-hearted rulers and self-sacrificing princesses, all combine to make this story one of the best.
For Princess Melody Dawnfield, being the daughter of the current king of Harsdown means more than looking pretty and watching men vie for her hand in marriage. Trained as a mage and excellent swordsmen, Mel is her parents' pride and joy. She also feels so deeply for her town, and the adjoining towns of Aronsdale and Misted Cliffs, that she agrees to marry a man feared far and wide to save her people from the threat of war.
Cobalt the Dark is a man at war within himself. His half-crazy mother and terror-inducing grandfather raised him, and hold much of the blame for his dark heart. When Cobalt learns that his father, Varquelle, isn't dead as he once thought, but imprisoned, he risks his own life to rescue the deposed king. Now that the former king is free, however, war looms on the horizon. Although tortured at heart and feeling that war is the only answer, Cobalt agrees to marry Princess Melody in the hopes that the war, although undoubtedly inevitable, can at least be put off.
While much of the kingdom feels that Cobalt is evil, Mel learns that he's only troubled by his own inner demons and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stand before him. Melody, as well, is not what her husband expected. Not only is she powerful in her own right, but her love and warm heart begin to thaw something within him that he thought was long dead and buried.
THE MISTED CLIFFS is Ms. Asaro at her writing best. A tried and true formula of a haunted hero and a warm-hearted heroine, combined with the magic of a kingdom you'll want to visit again and again, make this book a true winner. I highly recommend that you read THE CHARMED SPHERE, her previous LUNA release, as well as THE MISTED CLIFFS. They are both stand alone books, but THE CHARMED SPHERE will delve you into the kingdom of Aronsdale , which plays a supporting role in this current book. I don't yet know the title of the third book in the trilogy, but no doubt it will bring us even deeper into this world where love and magic are intertwined.