Marian Harasta is a grad student working towards her degree, but held back by her mother, a prominent socialite who witholds Marian's inheritance as a means to control her. Marian is also kept in line by her mother's attitude towards Marian's half-brother, who has epilepsy and is constantly in danger of falling sick and possibly dying.
However, when her mother threatens to withdraw Marian's money if she doesn't attend a benefit her mother is throwing that week, Marian feels she must agree, because her mother offers to give her the rest of her inheritance so she could finish her degree. She also wants to find out what the weather will be like, because Marian has always had the talent for knowing what the weather will be. But instead of going to the benefit, Marian stays home instead to perform a ritual at the behest of her teacher, and is instead drawn into Ladrana.
Marian has been called to Ladrana at the behest of the Mages of Ladrana, who are seeking an exotique of their own, just as the Marshalls had Alexa. There is also a task for Marian to fulfill while she is in Ladrana, but she is immediately attracted to a fellow mage, Jaquar, but also gets the strong sensation that he will be her doom. This causes her to back away from him immediately, but she still cannot help being drawn to him.
Nor can he help being drawn to her, even as he wants to use her to fight against the darkness. A creature of the darkness killed his parents, who were supposedly secure in their village, and Jaquar has a hard time thinking of anything but revenge.
As Marian learns magic, her mentor finds she has a strong affinity for weather-magery, and sends her to study under Jaquar, who also has a talent for this work. Their explosive chemistry leads to them becoming much more than student and mentor, but when Marian is sent into the Darkness by mages allied with Jaquar, Marian has a hard time seeing his actions as anything but a betrayal of her and their relationship.
Can she forgive Jaquar for the actions of his allies? And can she bring her brother back to Ladrana and find healing for him, or is she doomed to failure and death, not only for herself, but her brother as well?
Another really excellent book from Robin D. Owen. This one is a bit more cerebral than the first, and given the specialty of the heroine, that isn't very surprising. This also involves the faerie, the Feycoccu, from the first book, and Marian's pet hamster, Tuck, who gets powers of his own later on.
Marian, unlike Alexa, may be secure in her magical powers, but not so much in her feelings about her looks, and it was nice to see how, even if she doesn't necessarily fit the profile of what is extremely attractive to modern American society, Jaquar doesn't care so much about that and is attracted to her anyway. And her intellectual abilities do come in handy throughout the book, along with Tuck's new talents and abilities.
Reading this book made me feel good. The story was interesting and compelling, and I found myself reading faster, wanting to know what was going to happen next. The story seemed to lift me on a flood of words and ideas that just carried me along through the book. Reading it was almost an ecstatic experience for me, and definitely worth it. I cannot recommend the series highly enough.