Well, thanks to having some time over the weekend, I'm working on playing catch up with my reading schedule. Which did mean getting to start on the other quintet I plan on alternating with the WebMage series.
So, let's begin shall we?
Convergence by Sharon R Green is the first book of The Blending. As this is a fantasy series, we start with a prophecy, detailing the first 5-fold blending defeating the Dreaded 4, as 4 was unbalanced and 5, with the inclusion of Spirit, was able to overthrow the 4. As such, competitions are held every 25 years to seat a new 5 fold Blending. Each ruling Blending will face a challenge during their rule to prove the legitimacy of their reign.
Tamrissa, a Fire talent, lives in the capital of the Empire, Gan Garee. She also narrates this book, even though roughly 4/5ths of it are in 3rd person. Like the other 4, Tamrissa is a potential High talent in her aspect, which means being tested for her abilities. Tamrissa also enters her house up as a residence for for others undergoing testing, mainly because it prevents her house from being taken during legal proceedings. This is important because Tamrissa's parents wish to marry her off again and sell the house as part of her dowry. Her groom is just as bad as her now deceased ex husband, who maliciously abused Tamrissa prior to the start of the book.
Lorand, who's magic is Earth, starts off in a small farming community. Unlike everyone else, his voyage to Gan Garee starts with a friend along for the ride. Hattiel, as defined by the Guild (folks with a blend of all 5 elements but no ability to use them), is likely a Middle talent, but since all Middles must go test for High... Lorand's father essentially disowns him for running off, regardless of what the law declares.
Jovvi, she of Spirit magic, starts off in a Residence, where's she's quite the popular courtesan. While her Madame is not happy to see her go, Jovvi expects to set up her own Residence in Gan Garee after testing ends.
Rion, the Air magician formerly known as Clarion, is the only member of the Nobility present in this grouping. His mother is pretty much Norma Bates, trying to keep her adult son as a child.
Then there's Vallant Ro, Water magic. Vallant is a sailor by trade, and is not happy to leave his business to go inland for testing. He also breaks up with his rather nutty girlfriend before boarding the coach to Gan Garee.
The long and the short of this book is that all 5 wind up passing the initial test and living in Tamrissa's house for the duration of the Competitions. Well, along with Eskin Drowd (Earth), Beldara Lant (Fire), and Pagin Holter (Water). The former two act mainly as petty antagonists to move things forward, Pagin has something of his own spot in the hierarchy.
By the end of Book 1, most of the relationship pairings are fairly well set up, each with their own challenges. Vallant and Tamrissa get off on the wrong foot, fight, reconcile, and fight some more. Jovvi and Lorand have two very different relationship goals. Rion, who loses his virginity about halfway through this book, can't seem to figure out whom he wants, other than the girl from the tavern.
We also know that no one seems to know what happens to applicants who don't get to be seated Highs in their aspects, and that the Nobility seems to have all processes rigged in their favor. The Advisors seem concerned about some hidden passage in the Prophecy about a new Blending.
As first books in a series go, this one does a lot of legwork in setting up what comes later, even if much of the thrust of the overall plot can be inferred from the get go. However, it remains readable and fun.