Marlis slays one of the elves, and flees into the mortal world. There, she curses a child. The curse mandates that the child will fall into an endless sleep once they turn 16 years of age and touch an accursed spindle.
The gem elves provide help to the family that raises the child, but they are unable to track down Marlis, whom they cannot sense in the mortal world. Eventually, sixteen years later, the gem elves and the mortal families are again drawn into conflict with Marlis, who has been hiding in another kingdom, and seducing their king with her dark magic.
I don’t read a lot of fantasy, partly because so often it’s very slow-going. Refreshingly, this book, like Spicer’s other novels, moves at a brisk pace and doesn’t bog down. There are perhaps some elements that could have been more fleshed-out, and there is a rather large cast of characters. As Lydia Schoch noted in her review, it’s helpful to make notes of all the characters to keep track.
As with Spicer’s other books, I appreciate the sparse descriptions that allow the reader to imagine the world for themselves.
My favorite parts were the chapters about Marlis who, though undeniably evil, isn’t simply a cardboard villain, but shows flashes of real emotion that make her understandable, if not exactly sympathetic.
This is a fun read, filled with references to mythology and legend, as well as some good old-fashioned sword and sorcery in the climactic showdown. A good book for anyone who enjoys fantasy.