Nia, by Mella Reese
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing (March 3, 2011)
Rating (1 to 8 *): ****
Book Review: Nia, by Mella Reese
Princess Nia didn't want to be Queen. In fact, no one wanted her to be Queen. She was in some danger of becoming just that, however, if her stepmother didn't produce an heir. Nia was content to practice the healing arts her mother taught her, even though they made her father and members of his council uncomfortable. Unfortunately, she has a lot of opportunities to use her skills, because her war-loving father seems to always be in a conflict with someone. It is after he wins one such conflict that Nia receives a gift she never expected or even wants: a guard who has pledged his life to protect her 24 hours a day and refuses to leave her side. Now, she not only has to take care of her own matters, but deal with a constant shadow as well.
Nia manages to form a friendship with her guard, Garreth, and the shadow who was once unwanted becomes an important part of her life. He is nearly as important to her as her betrothed, Andras, the love of her life. Both of them become instrumental in her quest to avoid the crown, but also to prepare Nia in the event the unthinkable happens and she must become Queen. However, as is always the case in politics, there is danger and intrigue around every corner.
Nia is part one of a three part series, so the princess's story is nowhere near over. At the end, while there is some resolution, it is really just the beginning of a new chapter, and it left me wanting to know what happens next in her life, politically and romantically. Author Mella Reese makes a few mistakes that are common in first novels--rushing the story by skipping through time a little too quickly, telling a little too much of the story in retrospect, and telling vs. showing. Some more development of the story would make for a more robust story that is longer and closer to the typical fantasy novel length. Yet, her characters are engaging with realistic interactions, which is always the most important part of a story for me. It will be interesting to see how she handles the rest of the series.
Learn more about Mella Reese and Nia by listening to the podcast of Mella's interview on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show!