This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gabrielle & Alec from The Alliance of Isian by Serena Clarke

In keeping with something completely different, this time I'd like to share a fantasy story with you!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming in on book 2 of this fantasy series, so I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to jump right into the world without being confused, and fully immerse myself in it.  I found myself hardly putting it down during the two days I took to read it.  I do have a bent for liking fantasy, but more than anything The Alliance of Isian is a romance, and a wonderful one at that.

The focus of the story is on the relationship of Gabrielle & Alec, royals from vastly different nations, opposites in every way, joined in marriage to secure an alliance between their countries.  Although they do find each other attractive, their differing cultures, traditions, values, and habits make turning their marriage into something real and lasting a difficult endeavor.

Gabrielle wore a veil before getting married.

One of their points of contention is Gabrielle’s use of magic, which is the most prominent fantasy element (aside from a brief visit with centaurs) in the story.  Gabrielle and her people have a history of meditating and calling on elements like wind & water, willing them to move, or cause a desired effect.  Her people see magic as a tool- something that exists which could be used for good or evil, but Alec & his people have seen too many instances of magic used for evil.  His people mistrust its use, and it’s a huge hurdle for Alec to overcome and trust a woman who uses it.

“An hour later, Gabrielle exited her dressing room to find Alec sitting in a chair drumming his finger anxiously.  When she entered the room, he looked up at her and his eyes widened.  She was covered in layers of fabric, her hair was pinned around her head in small curls, and she smelled of sweet bath oils.”
She was very upset when Alec took off her veil!
Naturally, there were a few heart-wrenching moments as Gabrielle & Alec worked at their marriage, but Serena did a beautiful job of leading the reader through those moments to a triumphant, meaningful conclusion.  It was touching that even though Gabrielle & Alec wouldn’t have picked each other on their own, they both committed to making their marriage work, and were happily rewarded.

I really hope Serena is working on more stories!  Sometime I know I will enjoy reading book 1 in the series, which is about Gabrielle’s sister who has a brief appearance in this book.

Thanks for reading!

*Special thanks to Serena's mother who provided a review copy to me :)


P.S. If you're looking for a good read over Valentine's weekend, this would be a great choice!