General Winston's Daughter by Sharon Shinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm not quite sure how to categorize this book. It's YA because the eponymous character, Averie, General Winston's daughter, is 18 years old. It's fantasy in that Shinn set her story in a made-up world, although no one has magical abilities or rides dragons or has any other trait typical to the genre. Other than that...it has elements of romance, although that's not the focus. It's almost a commentary on war--the complexities of aggression, suppression, and rebellion--but not entirely.
What it is, is excellent, especially if you love character development. The story begins with Averie and her chaperone, Lady Selkirk, sailing to Chiarrin, a hot, dry country recently invaded by the Aebrian army, of which Averie's father is the commanding general. Averie is joining her father and fiance (also an officer in the army) with little understanding of the military and political maneuvering shaping her world. But as she befriends both a lieutenant from the long-since conquered country of Xan'tai and a young Chiarrizi woman, she begins to reevaluate her country's actions, both current and historical.
The climax of the book took me by surprise--it was far bigger in scope than I had anticipated. Which is pretty much all I can say about it without revealing too much.
For reader's advisors: character and story doorways. No sex or bad language, although there are some kisses by moonlight.
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