Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bone Magic by Yasmine Galenorn

Camille D'Artigo is one of three sisters from the Otherworld. Camille is the oldest, and the one who has taken care of her sisters since they were all children. Now, she's looking forward to reuniting with her Svartan lover, Trillian, who has been on a secret mission for the Queen of Y'Elestrial in Otherworld.

In the meantime, Camille has met and married two other men, Smoky, a silver Dragon, and Morio, a Youko Demon Kitsune. Because the new general of Shadow Wing is rumored to have death magic, Camille and Morio have begun to study it, in hopes of taking on whatever the new general can throw at them. But first, they have to deal with old business- the frat house that had called up a demon may have been destroyed, but the lot where it is located has begun to attract harmful spirits as well- and a jogger was pulled onto the land and killed.

Though already tired from their studies, Camille and Morio go to investigate. and find the source of the infestation- a goshanti devil, formed from the spirits of abused and murdered women- while they are dangerous to men, whom they kill, they will suck the souls of women into them to grow stronger. Nut they are too tired to take care of it tonight, and the goshanti are less powerful during the day.

The next day, they go back to lay the spirit to rest and discover a chest hidden under one of the trees with souvenirs from the women that the frat boys killed- it's this, and their lack of ability with magic, that has allowed the goshanti not only to form, but to grow so strong so quickly. Camille and Morior ask an Ash tree on the property to hold the bones, and banish the goshanti, sending the spirit of the women whose trapped souls formed it into death. But when they get back home, there is an unwelcome surprise for them- Smoky's father, a white dragon, has shown up, along with Smoky's Golden Dragon fianceƩ, to demand that Smoky marry her.

Camille is blindsided by the thought that Smoky could have been promised to someone else, but Smoky reassures her that he loves her, and that he was promised in marriage before he was even born to have a say in the thing. His refusing to marry this female gold dragon was one of the reasons he left home, but his father intends to put the matter to the dragon council, then he steps closer to Camille with an implied threat that he could steal her away and enjoy her, if she loves power and dragons so much, and that no one could stop him if he wanted to do so. Camille feels dirty and horrified by his attempting to seduce her, thinking she is easy, but Smoky reassures her once more, then returns to his homeland with his father and erstwhile FianceƩ.

Soon after, Camille, Morio and Iris return to Otherworld to speak with the Queen and meet Trillian, her Svartan Alpha lover. But the Queen has a mission for her- to meet with the head of the Dahns Unicorns- not her friend Feddrah-Dahns, but his father. Camille is a bit frightened, but agrees. She reunites with her father, and learns that Iris was once a priestess of her people's goddess. And something in the past happened, and Iris was stripped of her title and banished. But what was it? Iris doesn't want to talk about it, and Camille respects her privacy, for now.

She reunites with her father, who seems upset that Camille is going to return to Trillian. But Camille is an adult now, and can do what she likes. She and Trillian reunite with some very hot sex, but afterwards, he accuses her of being a traitor by marrying Smoky and Morio. She's hurt by his accusation, but knows that her father is the one that told him, trying to break them apart. She tells him the truth, that she married them because she needed their power to try and find him- that she'd been out of her mind, and out of luck, trying to find him on her own.

He calms down a bit and reveals to her some of the details of his mission, and the fact that he'd been captured and raped while he was on the mission- gang raped, that is. The people of the otherworld may take multiple lovers and some even take lovers of the same sex, but Trillian has always been a man who only went for women. Camille asks what happened to the men who raped him, and Trillian says he killed them all, for which Camille is very glad. They make up, and she asks him to marry her completely to take part in the soul ritual with her like Smoky and Morio. He agrees, as long as he is her Alpha lover and she more than happily agrees.

They go to meet with Upala-Dahns, King of the Dahns Unicorns. He has been asked to send her to meet the Black Beast, the ancestor of the Dahns Unicorns. But he, Feddrah-Dahns, her father, Queen Asterial and Queen Lethesanar come to tell her their plans for the Spirit Seals. They are gathering a group, the Keraastar Knights, that will use the seals against Shadow Wing. Camille is horrified. Using the seals- that's the same thing that Shadow Wing wants, but none of them will be swayed from their decision, even though Feddrah-Dahns doesn't agree with his father. He thinks it's a stupid idea, but he isn't in charge of the Dahns Unicorns.

After this bombshell, Camille and the others go to meet with the Black Beast in the Thystlewyd Deep. There, he is pleased to see that she has brought the horn and cape of one of his former lives with her. The Black Beast is getting older and less powerful, less able to protect his people, so her job is to kill him so that his spirit can be reborn anew and grow strong once more.

Once again, she's stunned, and asks her Goddess if she should. Her goddess gives her an affirmative, and she agrees. As the moon moves towards midnight and the full moon, Camille gets caught up in the wild hunt of the Goddess, with the Black Beast as the Prey. She slays him with the horn of his former incarnation, and runs with the Wild Hunt all night in the Astral Realm. Afterwards, she and the others must leave the Otherworld quickly in case not all the Dahns unicorns feel that she has done the Black Beast a favor by killing him at his request.

Back on earth at last, Camille, her sisters and her husbands prepare to take on Dark Wing's new general, the lamia known as Stacia. But Stacia is much more powerful than Camille and Morio combined at Death Magic, and Grandmother Coyote actually seems *worried* for Camille, which is frightening. Can Camille and her extended family overcome Stacia and her forces, or has the battle been lost before it is even begun?

I loved this book. I've been reading this series ever since the first one, Witchling. I love Camille, and her men. Smoky and Morio are delicious, and so is Trillian, now back after a long absence. I love how Camille has changed and grown through the series- all her sisters have. They've gone from three sisters sent to Earth because they are screw-ups, alone but for each other, to sexy, confident and powerful women who are the only line of defense against Shadow Wing, with many allies and friends, and even mates, ready to help them out.

With each book they grow more powerful, and both conflicts and plots are seeded for further books. And then, the author throws a number of hooks into the mix, like the conflict between the three Earthside Queens, who seem desperate to get the D'Artigo sisters on their side, and the Otherside Queens and rulers have an idea that is, quite frankly stupid and wrong-headed. So which will the sisters end up backing- the Queen they are bound to, or the Queens they helped put on the throne? I don't know, but whatever happens it's going to be interesting.

Other threads pop up left and right, like Iris's background and past, and Delilah's wanting to make her human boyfriend, Chase, live 1000 years via a special Faerie wine, not to mention the other threads, like Smoky's people possibly backing up the sisters and the Otherworld against Dark Wing, make me think that this series might not wrap up in another two books after all. So much is going on, that it seems like there just isn't enough space left to do all these ideas justice. I wouldn't mind if the series continue, not if they continue getting so wonderful and complex.

With every book, this series gets richer, more complex and both worlds expand. I can't comment on how realistic the D'Artigo sisters Seattle is, because I have never been there, but Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld seems like a very real place, and somewhere I'd love to see. I recommend this series for many reasons, not the least of which is how good it is. Avoid it if you don't like reading truly adult things, sex included, but for those who have no problems reading adult material, this series is a delight. Highly recommended.

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