So, Hunter's Prayer doesn't come out for another eight days, but I did find Steelflower on the shelves, which almost makes up for it. I've been waiting to read this book for ages now; I had to wait until it came out in print, since I'm not a fan of e-books.
Kaia Steelflower has lived by her skills and her sword for the past eleven years, ever since her house threw her out for not having any magical ability. She doesn't care, though, really, she gets by just fine on her own. Well, she did, until she picked the wrong person's pocket and ended up with a flawed necklace, a gigantic barbarian, hordes of assassins, and a prince from her homeland; none of whom will leave her alone. It's going to take more than her sword to get her out of this one, and even that's if she's lucky.
Kaia is one of the blessed people--others call them elves, a term they hate--and at the age of five underwent the ritual testing for power. Every member of the blessed people have power, so when Kaia unexpectedly fails the test, she's shunned. At sixteen, she leaves with nothing but the sword on her back and sets off to make her own path with the outsiders. She's got herself convinced that she's not lonely, she doesn't need her people, the G'mai, or any power to survive. It's a long, lonely road that Kaia walks, but she isn't willing to leave it. Instead, she gets forced off it when the barbarian, whose pocket she picked, decides to tag along with her after she saves his life in two different fights. Unable to get rid of him, she's even more stunned when Darik shows up, chasing the necklace that she stole.
It seems that Darik has been using the necklace to find his twinmate, something that every G'mai must find if they want to survive. Kaia had always believed she was exempt from this, since she had no power anyway. But Darik, having found his twinmate, isn't willing to take no for an answer, and Kaia finds herself the leader of this ever-growing band.
It's a pretty engaging story, with an interesting group of characters. Everyone has issues they're trying to work through, none more than Kaia, and we get bits and pieces of everyone's pasts as the story goes along. This first book ends on a small cliffhanger, and although Saintcrow hasn't written the sequel, she's made noises on her blog about doing so. I really hope she does. I'd love to see more of Kaia and Darik and the rest of the group. (By the end, there are four more people tagging along. Kaia isn't exactly happy about that.)
And THAT ends the Olympic mini-challenge for me. Now, I'm off to Worcester, MA, for a bridal shower.