In good news, Saturday sees the reopening of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Main Branch, which means I'll actually be able to start looking for volumes I'm not plucking off my personal shelf again. (Well, except I'll likely be picking up the 3 volume continuance of The Blending from Amazon before too long. My last copies went out when I was still using paperbackswap.com. Which is a great service that people with an interest should totally check out.)
However, since that day of glory and renewal hasn't occurred yet, Let me tell you about Betrayals by Sharon Green, book four of The Blending.
At the outset, Tamrissa is being held by the current seated High in Fire, who wishes to hopefully breed powerful children from her womb. Rion is in the tender care of his mother. Vallant, who'd due to be shipped off with Jovvi and Lorand, is instead side tracked as a love slave to Lady Eltrina for a few days.
In the mean time, the new Seated Five (who haven't yet been seated due to the Advisors rightfully being convinced that they had something to do with a bunch of murders), again begin murdering those who get in the way of their rise to power. Mind you, Delin is supposedly under control, thanks to Kambil's spirit magic and some Puredan later on, but there's still quite a bit of murdering people in the process. Delin, who's figuring out ways around his enforced conditioning, blames Kambil for most of their problems. Kambil, unsurprisingly, blames Delin. What the murders do manage to accomplish is much of the day to day running of the empire falling apart, since the people who actually do things or knew who was doing them, are dead.
In the meantime, Naran, Rion's girl, manages to meet up with Tamrissa as she breaks free of her captivity. Tamrissa's captor lets slip a few plot points that clear up the end of the last book, namely that the Advisors slipped Hilsom Powder (which cuts off access to elemental magic) into the blending's undergarments to ensure the win on the part of the noble blending.
Tamrissa and Naran break out Rion and Vallant, who in turn meet up with Alsin. Alsin had been keeping an eye out for Lorand's friend Hat, who vanished off the face of the planet. Alsin runs an underground organization devoted to proving the Nobility is breaking the law and using that information to wrest the power from them. Alsin is able to get information to help find out where Jovvi and Lorand vanished off to.
Very long story short, by the end of this one, we have a much better idea of how corrupt the Nobility actually is and what it is they've been doing. We find out what's happened to the Highs shipped out of Gan Garee following the testing. And we know that one of the countries the Empire has been trying to annex is suddenly fighting back.
This particular volume is probably one of the strongest in the series, even if the fighting between Vallant and Tamrissa has become a central plot point for a LOOOONG time. There's also a heck of a lot of rape going on in here, both figurative and literal.
Looking forward to finishing the series here in the near future.