BRIDGE OF DREAMS - Anne Bishop
The Landscapes of Ephemera, Book 3
Lee is a Bridge, capable of connecting two broken locations in Ephemera in an instant if he knows the locations, and he can always impose his own island over any location for a safe get-a-way when needed. For all his life he has protected and served his sister, the Landscaper Glorianna Belladonna, but now their cousin, the Incubus Sebastian, and the Magician Michael stand in his stead. Lee is disconcerted, for he loves his sister, but since she used her gifts to save the world, she split into two different people: the Glorianna he knew, and Belladonna, a dark guide capable of the worst evil imaginable. This side of his sister scares Lee. He feels he no longer belongs, even for as much as he has given up. He leaves her Sanctuary to find his own place in the world, but when attacked by wizards and a dark guide, he acts to save Glorianna from harm.
Sholeh Zeela a Zhahar is a Tryad from Tryadnea, a broken land adrift in Ephemera. Tryads are people with one body, but three different souls, three entirely different people tied to one inner core. Their land is dying, so several young Tryad are sent to the city of Vision , where their leader has established a weak bridge. They are hopeful their representatives can fit into the local population. Zhahar finds employment at the Asylum in the southern part of the huge city where the Shaman Danyal is in charge. One day a new patient arrives who draws her attention, a man named Lee. When she shows the Shaman Danyal how Lee's family-hired attendants allow Lee to lie in his own filth, and give him drugs that cause his crazed behavior, Danyal makes Zhahar Lee's attendant. Slowly the truth comes out; Lee is not insane, but has been tortured and blinded by the dark forces beginning to take over the city of Vision .
If you have not read the two previous Ephemera novels, SEBASTIAN, and BELLADONNA, you will have trouble entering this world with all its Guides, Bridges, and Landscapers, Wizards, Shamans, and Incubi. It also takes time to become acquainted with an already established cast of characters. Lee, however, leads the reader through the landscapes, and when he temporarily disappears, the reader understands the world. Then Sholeh Zeela a Zhahar takes over to introduce her amazing characters and the problem her people face. The trouble brewing in the city that threatens Glorianna, the plight of Tryadnea, the Dark's hold on Lee, and the situation of Glorianna Belladonna as she tries to recombine her broken self make a tense drama that will grab readers and keep them reading throughout the night. A must read for all those who have already read the previous volumes.
If, like me, you haven't read the two previous books, you do not want to miss this series. BRIDGE OF DREAMS is original, enticing, provocative, thoughtful, and entertaining.