This book was great!
Elphame's Choice focuses on Elphame, the daughter of the goddess. Elphame's Choice happens over 100 years after the evil is defeated in the original trilogy so this like a future based world set entirely in Partholon. We don't see any of our world here like we do with the original trilogy.
This can be read as separate to the original Partholon trilogy as nothing is spoiled (at least in this book).
The prologue sets the story up with the birth of Elphame - a unique daughter of the goddess. From there the book goes on to explore Elphame's differences, that she has hooves so is part horse like her father as well as her wanting to renovate MacCallan Castle - a setting we see in the original Devine trilogy - after it was destroyed by femorians. She's a very driven character who doesn't like being told she can't do something. Her brother - Cuchullain (Cu) for example likes telling her to always be careful as he's an ordinary human and doesn't really understand that she can do more. This doesn't make her a horrible or selfish character, just more diplomatic than most I feel. Elphame and Cu have two younger siblings as well but these are only referred to. They're not in the story.
Cu falls for Brenna, the healer of Clan MacCallan. Their love story begins slowly, just with them as friends at first. Brenna has been hurt in the past, she has a burn down the side of her face to her stomach so therefore she's scared of people in general, however she makes friends with Elphame, Cu, and the other members of Clan MacCallon. She's a nervous character at first but Cu helps her to come out of herself. Also when Cu finds and helps a little wolf cub she becomes like a mother figure.
One night after having worked on restoring the castle Elphame is caught by a storm. She's tackled by an animal as well. This leaves her in a bad way. The hero of this story then comes, Lochlan. Lochlan is a formorian (the evil race in the Devine trilogy), however he isn't evil. Lochlan cares for Elphame after this storm. A romance develops between them. PC Cast can definitely write a convincing romance as in the Devine trilogy there were a few as well. This love story continues throughout this book. I really liked the main romance in Elphame's Choice. It was sweet and real in the sense that Elphame and Lochlan truly love each other. There was a level of trust that developed between them. However, Lochlan is hiding a secret from Elphame...that he has to kill the goddess to save his race as he is the Femorian leader.
Lochlan isn't accepted at first by Elphame's people but when more femorians come to see if Lochlan is completing his task. Nearly at the end of the book Brenna is killed by a formorian because Lochlan won't kill his beloved Elphame. This is heartbreaking for Cu. It is revealed that Elphame doesn't have to die at the end...she just has to accept Lochlan's blood within her. This makes her part formorian but she was never fully human to begin with so she accepts it.
The title of this book "Elphame's Choice" signifies the choice she believes she must make between her people and her lover to begin with as well as the choice of acceptance of another race in her clan. This last choice can be applied to human situations as well. Like having a foreign person work with others or a disabled person working with non disabled people etc.
The settings were described really well and in depth I felt also. I felt like I was where the characters were.
I really enjoyed reading this book. There were a couple more things that I would have liked to have happened but for what it was I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
Note: there are bits that I haven't really mentioned in my review that happen but these are more minor things.
The next and final book in this series is called Brighid's Quest. Brighid is a minor character in Elphame's Choice. She's a centaur warrior. I look forward to picking it up.