A Woman Scarred - G.T. Lines
Eleanor always wanted a simple life; to remain on her small farm, with her loving husband and her dog. But war changes people, changes lives, and at the heart of it, 'A Woman Scarred' talks of two women, Eleanor and the Duchess Aliya, and how their world shifts in the wake of destruction and greed.

G T Lines puts a new twist on the genre of Sword & Sorcery by placing a female protagonist as the lead role of the champion, without leaning on the crutches of the genre's stereotypical damsel or mage. Eleanor is a real woman, with strengths and faults, who is merely attempting to survive in a war where she must fight for the side that had always been the enemy, with few surrounding her who trust her. Her idealism is tested, her moral fortitude bent, and her ability to cope stretched to its absolute limits. I had great respect for Eleanor throughout the book, and she never lost it.

On the other side, we have Aliya, the Duchess, ruined in mind and ravaged by war. Disfigured and raped by the evil men of an empire that slaughtered her daughters and butchered her people, Aliya is driven by her need for vengeance. She was an amazing character.

Actually, all of the characters were amazing. It was hard for me to pick out my favorite character at the end--I felt I'd come to know them all through the book, and while the ending was great (leaving just enough to be desired, but offering the closure I needed), I found myself sad, knowing I would hear no further adventures of Eleanor, Pencastle, Taff or Callum.

'A Woman Scarred' comes fully loaded with intense character relationships, multiple (and often at-odds) motives, lizard people, floating ships, epic battles and disastrous losses. Not a moment spent in the book is wasted. G T Lines has created a masterpiece of fantasy, which, while not redefining the genre, does give it much needed heart.