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Stephanie Perkins
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M.J. Hearle
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Cynthia Hand
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Besieged - Rowena Cory Daniells WHY DON’T I HAVE EXILE YET (while I wait for Sanctuary)????? *runs to Book Depository*-----Besieged was the first book of Rowena’s that I have read, and I feel guilty now for not having read any of the King Rolen’s Kin books (although I own the first) or The Last T’En – I really do; I enjoyed this first book in her new series The Outcast Chronicles so much that I hated myself for not having the sequel Exile yet. All I want to do now is finish this series then visit her decade-plus-old The Last T’En books since they are set in the same world.Although Daniells writes from a variety of different characters point of views, the real focus of this series, I believe, is not the journeys of the individual characters but instead the changes that occur within the kingdom and across the lands. It is Imoshen's and Sorne’s actions that contribute to the story’s plot, yes, but these books don’t only centre on their lives, but really on what happens within this world on a larger scale. The occasional jumps in time (e.g. thirteen years forward) supplements the story of the kingdom of Chalcedonia, and not the stories of the characters however much their individual developments are made known and experiences grow. Daniells moves the plot along, leaving out the unnecessary bits to provide you with events that are important in the eventual shaping of the kingdom.I was especially intrigued in this story because of the magical T’En and the evident differences between males and females. Female T’en have stronger magic and are feared and begrudged by the men, so both groups have different societies in which they live. There is much more to the T’En, but by reading can you only discover the grandeur of Daniells's world. Physically T’En have twelve fingers and toes as well as hair of a copper colour. Then you have the half-breeds or Malaunje, and as they only have half T’En in them, they do not have any magical abilities but are able to recognise and sense the magic instead. They are physically like the T’En and so are immediately branded as Malaunje if conceived by two human parents, a genetic defect if that is the case; the child is often given to T’En and the mother killed as they are ‘abominations'. The humans or true-men or Mieren despise women in general just as much as the male T’En and they have an aversion to magic. There is quite a lot in this world in regards to the interactions between and general nature of the races and genders to wrap your head around, but as you read you will come to understand it all. The gender politics was particularly interesting. I’m interested to learn more.As mentioned earlier, Besieged is told through the POVs of a variety of characters who are distinct and individually crafted in the way they act and their desires. However, the two significant characters are Sorne who is the king’s secret Malaunje son and taken away to be crafted into a spy and eventual weapon against the T’En, and Imoshen who was raised by the T’En brotherhood and never made known to the T’En sisterhood in which she was meant to be given to. Both characters are considerably likeable and you are invested in them both as they set the wheels of their individual journeys in motion. Sorne is out to destroy the stigmatisation of being Malaunje, while Imoshen escapes from the brotherhood to find a safe haven for her children. They each find their own meaning in life – their calling.This book – and I predict the other two books will too – has a strong relevance and connection to the goings on in our current world and society. And the title of the series is perfect for this. The rights of specific groups of people (e.g. LGBT among others) are suppressed and this can be seen between the groups of people in Daniells’s world. There is much to be discussed and I am eager to read Exile and Sanctuary to discover more about the characters, the T’En, and the world. Fantasy adorers will consume this book. Besieged was intriguing in all aspects; it has fantastic characters and a fascinating plot. Just have Exile with you to read immediately after – that’s where I failed.