This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
for Given, The
Date of Review: 04/28/03
In a coming of womanhood ritual, Aria awaits nervously yet expectantly the call of her Givers name. This ritual only occurs once a season when the two moons, Grey Warrior and Silver Maiden rose side by side in the night sky. Like that of many ‘Trancers’ before her, she opens her mind to her friend Iliana to search for the Warrior priest who would belong to Aria for the night.
“Talon”, his name spoken, is her Giver. The ritual was not only to move her from maiden to womanhood, but also to allow her to move into her new position as an Apprentice to the Elders. A very complex and sensual union between Talon and Aria occurs during their first encounter. But being the Warrior he is, Talon will not and cannot allow Aria to embrace his mind. It was considered a weakness.
The next morning, still groggy from the evenings activities, Talon is assailed by Aria. Without thinking the union breaks a barrier between his and her minds, and their minds join as one. Talon can ill afford this occurrence. But the deed is done. He leaves her in shame and dishonor, and plans never to return.
Seasons go by, and along with them many rituals pass. Yet Talon hasn’t returned. Aria is disappointed with not having been able to see him. She yearns to be able to let him know that his baby is within her. As she begins labor, the Reapers are laying siege to their Tower. Reapers are notorious for taking no prisoners, and killing all in their wake. Unable to delay her labor, she delivers a boy. To weak to travel, Aria gives the babe to the Healer and Iliana to steal away in the hopes that they would be safe. As she hears the Tower being vanquished, she stumbles from her room only to fall in a hallway. The last sounds she hears is that of the Healer screaming and her babies cries stopped. From the room they were in a Reaper walks out, bloodstained sword in hand. He calmly steps over Aria.
Aria is alive but has lost a lot of blood from the birthing. Talon arrives to discover her. He summons a Healer to save her. The healer begins to clean and dress her wounds. Only, there are no wounds. It is discovered that the blood is not from wounds but from birthing. As time passes, Talon realizes that his son Tarik was born. But he also realizes that given the Reapers ways, Tarik would have been killed during the siege. Talon vows to make a quest to kill the Reaper leader Mako to avenge the death of his son.
I won’t give away any details here, but you'll find that there are some very surprising twists along the way.
This was a very well written story and kept me interested through each turn and twist. I don’t generally read romantic fantasy, but the story was very entertaining and engrossing. I very much enjoyed it, and would recommend it to others.