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This satisfying sequel to 2007's Griffin's Daughter, the coming-of-mage saga of half-elf Cinderella-esque heroine Jelena Sakehera, avoids most mid-trilogy sagginess with nonstop action and sympathetic characterizations. Opening with a shocker-Jelena's father is Keizo Onjara, elf king of Alasiri, currently besieged by a ruthlessly expansionist human empire-Moore piles on threats to Jelena and her pregnancy; sends her adoring new husband, Ashinji, off into faraway slavery as a gladiator; brews two convincing Cain and Abel conflicts; tosses in a sinister sorceress who helps the requisite Nameless One to plot world domination; and spikes the mix with newlywed lovemaking and ritual rape. Though many of the tropes are familiar, Moore's narrative drive and suspenseful plot twists will leave readers eager for the conclusion to this intricate and appealing tale. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.