Exile’s main character is quite different from Logston’s previous MCs: she’s quick to anger, a bit stuck up about her lineage, likes solitude (and therefore not people), is quite innocent about the way of the world, and she doesn’t lie. Despite it all Logston manages to make her an enjoyable character.

Neve is the daughter of the Guardian of the Crystal Keep. The Guardian is the “god” of his or her Keep and Neve has had almost the same level of power her whole life. Because she was conceived, born, and raised in the Keep, she is very much attuned to the magic of the Keep, the Nexus. She expects that she’s going to be the Guardian of the Keep after her father. But the Guardian can never leave the Keep unless he or she gives up the power and the Keep forever. So her parents have decided that she needs to see the world outside that she would be giving and so they send her to a journey in the world. Her Father gives her a piece of the Nexus because she has no training as a mage and can’t protect herself very well. Her Mother gives her a starting mage’s grimoire and talks about how she can become a monster if she isn’t careful.

Neve leaves quickly. She makes beginners’ mistakes because she has never had to camp or tend to a real horse but she adapts and learns quickly. She finds a caravan and finds out that she likes solitude more than being around other humans. She gets to a nearby town and pays for a ride on a boat to further down river. Unfortunately, her manners, gear, and jewels she uses as money attracts the wrong kind of attention. She’s rescued by a sailor Ash who has monkey-like feet and slit-pupiled eyes. Ash is a (former) thief but a decent fellow even though he’s not a saint. In exchange for some jewels he agrees to escort Neve to civilization after they have been stranded from the last boat.

This book has a lot of journeying but it’s to get them where Neve has to go and not for the usual fantasy clichés. The characters are likable but not perfect. Sometimes they are downright mercenary. Neve learns a lot about herself during the journey. She does have some inner magic when she uses the Nexus diamond, however she’s never learned to use it and it seems to get out of her control. She has to wonder if she is a monster after all.

The book explores also the growing feelings between Neve and Ash although, once again, it’s not an ordinary love story. It seems that Logston explores romance in all of her later books.

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