I recently read this anthology of books, and I have to say that I am waiting anxiously for the next book in the series to come out. There is a certain amount of violence in these books that lend to the reality of the lives of the characters. And the writing style is a little different than what I normally see. There is a lot of going back and forth between very long memories of the past. But it is written so that you aren't confused by it. Some may not necessarily like this style of writing. I, however, think it's different and creative. Not only is it creative, but there are no "bedroom scenes". In fact, there is little to none in the way of a relationship of this type. Once in a while it is nice to see a book or a series that is not based solely on a relationship between a guy and girl who have fallen in love. This book is more about a young girl trying to find her place. She is an imperfect heroine and that is easier for us to relate to.
People like Ilan were systematically exterminated because they were naturals in the area of magic. They were born with the ability. The Praetor had many of them wiped out, including this girl's parents. Ilan is named by a man in a band of thieves headed by Rideon the Red Hand. Rideon is a rather cold and calculating version of Robin Hood that takes everything having to do with his band of thieves very seriously. He doesn't take captives either. But when Ilan comes upon his band she is a young child and one of the men, Brig, takes her in. For many years she is protected from most of the violence that happens when the men go out to steal from the unlucky travelers that come their way. She stays around camp to help with chores. But when she does finally go with them, it is only to bring back an injured boy about her age. Ilan nurses him back to health and this would-be priest is now stuck in Rideon's group whether he likes it or not. They grow up for a few years together with him trying to be nice and docile while she is generally hostile, although she would do whatever she had to if he was in danger. This was Ilan's family until her mid teens. At that point some unfortunate events lead her into a suicide mission to go find Brig. Terrac, the boy she saved, tags along with her. This eventually leads to her and Terrac's separation and Ilan going into the city to find an acquaintance who might be able to help her. This man was also born with magical abilities, but has hidden them from most people, just like Ilan.
Her dealings with the Praetor, Rideon's band, and even more enemies in the books make for an interesting journey for Ilan. She encounters the hurt and betrayal of those who were supposed to be her friends as well as death to those around her. It seems that those close to her pay a heavy price to be her friend. I read these books all together and I think that is probably the best way to understand what is going on. Like how this particular brooch given to Ilan from her mother is an important clue to her past and partly who she is, but you don't find out until late in the journey about what it means. It's a good series to read if you are looking for some good books!