Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear

Edene, having been kidnapped and fought her way free, must now raise an army for her betrothed, Temur, and find her way back to him. Meanwhile, Temur is attempting to wrangle his way through political intrigue and plague to reunite with Edene, reclaim his birthright from his uncle and discover the truth behind the magics that are engulfing his lands. Former princess Samarkar is faithful and steadfast, throwing all her influence — and not insignificant skill — behind Temur.

Shattered Pillars is the remarkable continuation of the first in the series, Range of Ghosts. Bear’s prose continues to weave itself effortlessly throughout the novel, with a detailed substance that does not hinder the action of the novel. The characters are full blooded and rich, shaped by their environment, and also by the challenges and casualties of it. Not recommended as a stand-alone; start with Range of Ghosts but then definitely pick up Shattered Pillars! — Romantic Times, 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick!